Some time ago, I found myself looking for information on how to shine a stained concrete floor and I didn’t have a very good time gathering information. I made a lot of mistakes, and I had to start testing one by one until I found the right product.
I was supposed to use a simple product to shine a stained floor, but there are so many different products and so little information from real people who have experienced it, that I got very confused.
I ended up buying a lot of products and trying a lot of different techniques to make an acid-stained concrete floor shine, so if you are looking for information I think I can help you with experience and information gathering.
I made a lot of mistakes, both in application and product choice, here are 4 things that I used to make a stained concrete floor shine.
Tips, things to avoid, mistakes I made, and how to choose the best product to suit your needs.
The first product I used to shine an acid-stained concrete floor was a floor sealer, I did this on the recommendation of a person who had worked with this product before.
The floor sealer I used, is easy to use, a water-based product so its performance is very good, it is very easy to apply, and as far as I could see it can be used on both floors and horizontal surfaces such as brick and stone walls.
It should be noted that the floor sealer comes in different presentations in relation to the finish you want to give; with gloss, matte and I think semi-gloss, you should look at choosing the sealer with gloss if you want to get a maximum shine on your concrete floor.
Another thing that surprised me, and of which I was a little scared by ignorance, is that the floor sealer I bought had a white color, like a milky appearance.
That had me a little worried because in my mind I thought that what was used to give shine to the acid-stained concrete floor was a totally transparent substance because what I wanted was to highlight the color of the stain.
It turns out that the floor sealer has that whitish color, but when it dries it makes it totally transparent, adding shine (in case you choose the sealer with shine) and highlighting the color of the floor.
This product is called a “sealer” because it supposedly contains many silicon microparticles that penetrate the surface of the concrete, sealing and protecting it from stains and other types of surface defects.
The good thing about the floor sealer: it is very easy to use because of its watery consistency, it is easy to find in any store, it adheres easily to the floor, it gives shine and highlights the color of the stained floor.
The downside of floor sealer: The first few days the shine was spectacular, after a couple of days the shine is practically lost and only the color is highlighted, I was not at all satisfied with the maintenance of the shine in this product.
2- Floor wax
After the “bad experience” with the loss of shine due to the sealer, I decided to look for another product that I can use together with the sealer and that will revive the shine of the floor.
I must say, that after using some sealer or product on the floor, it is a bad idea to use another product on top of it because usually, these products need to adhere to the concrete in some way.
But since the sealer I used was water-based and penetrated the pores of the stained concrete floor pretty well, I figured I should just revive the shine somehow.
So I went back to the hardware store and bought a floor wax, the best quality I could find and high gloss.
It should be noted that there are several types of floor waxes, there are special waxes for wood floors, other emulsified waxes are ideal for rubber and tile floors, while there is one that is ideal for high traffic floors.
In my case, I used two coats of waxes on the floor, waiting for the first coat to dry, the application was not so easy, maybe because I made it more complicated than it should be using a polishing machine…yes, I definitely made it more complicated.
The good thing about floor wax: It is an inexpensive and easily accessible product that can be found in any hardware store.
The downside of the floor wax: the shine was not as spectacular as the sealer, and it also wears off after a few days, it is a product that requires maintenance from time to time.
3- Clear epoxy sealant (High Gloss)
After having tried two products that lost their shine after a few days, I decided to get a much stronger product that is high gloss and won’t fade over the days.
Actually, the obsession with the shine of the floor was not on my part, but with the owner of the work, he wanted to have a very shiny floor and to be noticed.
Researching in some local stores I find the clear epoxy sealer, and when I say clear, is because I came across many floor epoxies at the hardware store but they contained color, I didn’t want epoxy with color, I just wanted something clear and very glossy.
This product comes with two separate components, the normal epoxy, and in another smaller container a catalyst that must be mixed just before the job is done.
The application of the epoxy already requires a person with a little more technical knowledge than the sealer or wax, so I had to call my trusted painter who has experience.
It is very important to know that applying the epoxy requires a posterior preparation of the floor, this product is very delicate and for the work to be well done the floor must not have any stain, dust, dirt, or concrete remains.
But most importantly, if the floor does not have an “anchoring surface” the epoxy will not work well and after a few days, white spots will appear on the floor.
With anchoring surface I mean that the floor should not be very smooth or very polished, it should have certain porosity so that the epoxy can “grab” well, the epoxy is as if it were a plastic layer that does not have so much power of penetration to the floor.
And while the product is quite strong and provides the acid-stained concrete floor with a long-lasting shine, things can go very wrong if the floor is not properly prepared prior to the application of the epoxy.
To give the concrete floor an anchoring surface, it should be washed with a mixture of water and hydrochloric acid and left for a couple of hours.
This will help the floor create small, unnoticeable voids so that the epoxy application can hold well to the surface of the concrete floor.
The good thing about using clear epoxy sealer: the epoxy gave me the expected results in terms of a long-lasting, permanent shine, it’s a very durable finish.
The downside of using clear epoxy sealer: the possible appearance of white spots due to moisture and lack of anchorage on the floor could damage an entire job, epoxy requires skilled labor.
4-Concrete floor varnish
In the end, I found this product in a hardware store called concrete floor varnish, it is very similar to the clear epoxy, with the difference that the concrete floor varnish does not have a catalyst.
You must be very careful not to use varnish for wood floors, you must make sure that the varnish is specifically for concrete floors.
This product was the best I could use, it gives a great shine, it is very easy to apply, much easier than the epoxy, the varnish inconsistency is a little less dense than the epoxy, so it does not create a plastic film on top of the floor.
It adheres very well to the surface of the floor, and in the work I did, there were no white spots, the gloss remained the same from the first day of installation until several months later.
The good thing about the concrete floor varnish: the best product I could use to shine an acid-stained concrete floor.
The downside of concrete floor varnish: Nothing.