How to Formulate a Concrete Stain

Written by louise harding
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How to Formulate a Concrete Stain
Use iron sulphate to stain concrete. (textur - kieselwand image by Mirko Raatz from

Creating a concrete finish for your floor isn't as difficult as the concept might seem. Painting aside, staining concrete is one of the simplest ways to decorate concrete flooring. According to Tom Wesley, on the website How To Stain Concrete Floors, staining concrete actually involves a chemical reaction that alters the natural colour of the concrete. There are many ways to make a concrete stain that involve dangerous acid mixtures, but one option that doesn't involve acid features iron sulphate. Use iron sulphate to successfully stain your concrete.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Protective face mask
  • Safety goggles
  • 2 plastic buckets
  • Plastic mixing spoon
  • ¼ cup iron sulphate
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • Paintbrush
  • Water
  • Sponge
  • Concrete sealant
  • Acrylic floor wax

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  1. 1

    Put on a protective face mask and safety goggles. Face masks and goggles are available at home improvement and paint stores. According to the Homemade Concrete Stain website, the concrete stain component involving the least toxicity and least expense is iron sulphate. No acid is required for staining concrete with iron sulphate, but when using chemicals of any sort, always protect your eyes and breathing passages with a mask and protective eyewear.

  2. 2

    Pour ¼ cup of iron sulphate into a plastic bucket. The primary function of iron sulphate is greening up yellowing plants. Iron sulphate is available at plant nurseries, garden centres, hardware and home improvement stores.

  3. 3

    Pour 2/3 cup of warm water into the bucket containing the iron sulphate. Mix the iron sulphate into the water with a plastic stirring spoon until the yellow powdered sulphate becomes tan. This recipe will cover approximately 10 square feet of concrete flooring. Adjust the ingredient quantities according to the square footage of the concrete surface you intend to stain. Use the solution immediately to prevent particles of rust from forming on the surface of the iron sulphate and water mixture.

  4. 4

    Paint the iron sulphate solution onto the concrete with a clean paintbrush, and allow the solution to dry for about three hours. Exposure to the air will cause the iron sulphate solution to dry and will stain the concrete a rusty-orange hue.

  5. 5

    Fill a clean, plastic bucket with water. Use a wet sponge to clean up the residual dried powder on the concrete's surface. Rinse the sponge in the bucket as you continue to clean the floor. Allow the concrete to dry for about three hours.

  6. 6

    Seal the surface with a concrete sealant, available at hardware and home improvement stores, according to the manufacturer's instructions. Polish the stained concrete floor to a shine with an acrylic-based floor wax.

Tips and warnings

  • It's a good idea to test the concrete stain in an inconspicuous area of the concrete, such as on a closet floor, before you stain the entire surface. This way if you aren't happy with the results, you haven't stained the entire floor.

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