Basement floor – staining

All the floor cleaning and scrubbing assured that we got a good night’s sleep, only to roll out of bed the next morning and start with the floor staining.

The actual staining process was preceded by research into suitable products. To stay true to our sustainable rehab goals, we were interested in products with the least environmental impact. Most recently, time has become a significant factor as we have little time left until we must move in. That translates into something like: the simpler the staining process, the better.

The Product

From what I could tell, acid based concrete stains are very common. They penetrate and chemically react with the concrete, last a long time, and are popular, particularly for larger or commercial size jobs. The application process is, let’s say, involved and a certain level of experience would be necessary. Also, the ‘acid based’ part is a little unnerving.

An alternative are water based products that are absorbed into the concrete surface.

While I was picking up our zero-VOC paint at the Green Depot, I noticed the Ecoprocote line of concrete stain products.

Eco-Etch Pro, which I mentioned in the previous post is a biodegradable concrete etching solution. It adds porosity to the concrete surface for better concrete stain penetration and absorption.

The Concrete Stain (SoyCrete) is, if you believe the marketing material, a gift from the Gods. Leaving the hype aside, the product meets our objectives. It is water-based with a very low VOC content and quick and easy to apply. This was an easy decision.

The Application

The SoyCrete itself is colorless. The actual stain color comes in little two ounce containers and gets mixed in with the SoyCrete.

Following the installation instructions, we organized a large paint tray, and small lambswool stain applicator for the edges and corners and a 12 inch lambswool stain applicator for the rest.

The stain application is somewhat unusual. You are supposed to rub the stain into the concrete floor until it’s dry. The instructions stress over and over again that no topical residue should be left on the surface. This was very different from painting.

With enough porosity in the concrete and enough stain, we applied two rounds of the SoyCrete.

Because we started relatively early in the morning, we were done with the staining before lunch time. The SoyCrete needed four to six hours to dry before we could seal the floor.

That gave us time to return to the apartment and rest a little before we returned in the evening to apply the concrete floor sealer.

About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

2 thoughts on “Basement floor – staining

  1. Has the stain and sealer held up so far to traffic and wear? Did you say somewhere you applied a wax over the sealer? did you stain walls too?
    Congratulations on your contribution to the health of our environment!
    Best regards,

  2. Terri, the stain and sealer are holding up fine. I can identify some wear on the floor wax, where I have my office chair. But that is sort of expected, and the floor wax is meant to be the sacrificial layer. I may need to reapply the floor wax in high wear and tear areas (such as at my office desk) every year or second year…

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