This is not an article for those looking how to acid wash concrete. This is about getting the same look, for less than half the cost of acid staining!
First off you need to gather your supplies. You can find them at any local home improvement store such as Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, etc. You will need solid concrete stain; I recommend two colors that complement each other i.e. a tan and a dark brown. Concrete sealer which comes in different sheens so decide if you want a flat look to your floor or a slightly shiny look, and get enough to seal your floors 6-8 times. You will also need a cheap gallon sprayer, just make sure it has an adjustable nozzle. A long handled roller with a semi-smooth nap and paint tray. And of course you will need plastic and painters tape to protect your other surfaces. And a large piece of cardboard or test space that you won’t mind messing up.
Second, remove all furniture from the room and make sure you prep your surface and surrounding surfaces well. I recommend covering 4-6 feet up the wall so you avoid over-spray and having to touch up paint. Make sure you vacuum or sweep really well because whatever is on your floor will be on your floor forever once you start the process.
Now, you are ready to begin! Mix up concrete stain because just like paint, it separates and needs to be mixed. Carefully, off your surface, pour stain in your sprayer. Replace cap and if needed pump sprayer to prepare for spraying. Test your pattern on some cardboard or some other space you don’t mind messing up; I tried it on my garage floor. Make sure to keep the sprayer a few feet away from the floor, otherwise you will get puddles of stain when you are looking for splatters of stain. When you are comfortable with the look you are creating, go to work on your prepped floor. Keep in mind, you are not trying to completely cover the floor, you are trying for a natural stone look. When doing the edges I recommend aiming a couple feet up off the floor to get all the way to the edge and not puddle, but still get the splatter look you are going for. Make sure you work yourself out the door instead of into a corner…you don’t want to stand around waiting for it to dry for 4 or so hours! Pour any left over stain back into it’s original container, and clean out the sprayer so it’s ready for your next color! The whole process shouldn’t take very long, my 130 square foot room only took me about 45 minutes to put one coat on.
Then, wait the recommended time before you start the second coat. After the first coat is dry, repeat the process from the first coat, filling in the areas you had less splatter in and covering the areas you had too much of the other color on. Again wait for the second coat to dry. If you are happy with the way your pattern turned out, continue on to sealing your floor. If you are not completely happy with your stain pattern, keep layering the different colors until you are happy with the pattern. The sealer will not change the look, unless you got a semi-shiny sealer, it will simply seal it so it doesn’t scratch. I did three coats and for the third coat I used a hand sprayer so I could get a finer mist and a smaller area to worry about, because the bleach sprayer has a wider area it covers.
When you are ready, pour your sealer in a roller tray, get a good amount on your roller, just like you would paint, and start rolling the floor. Again, don’t forget to roll yourself out of the room instead of into a corner! Then, wait the recommended time for the sealant to dry, then proceed with the rest of the coats waiting in between for each coat to dry.
You’re done! Remove your plastic and coverings, move the furniture back into the room and enjoy your space!