Is your concrete patio or deck inspiring you less this summer season? Fortunately, you could update the unappealing unfinished concrete look using wood stain. 

So, can you use wood stain on concrete? If it’s plausible, how do you go about it? Use any wood stain type to transform your concrete patio. 

In this post, we’ll focus on the following;

  • Can you stain concrete to look like wood?
  • How to use wood stain on concrete
  • Removing previous stains on concrete
  • Types of wood stains

Can You Use Wood Stain on Concrete?

You can use any wood stain to coat concrete. However, you’ll want to prepare adequately and condition the concrete surface. Additionally, you may need to apply a water-proofing agent depending on the location of the concrete. However, shy away from staining over sealed concrete.

The wood stain will likely flake off, wasting time and effort. Instead, consider removing the sealer on the floor. Alternatively, you could apply a layer of acrylic polymer-modified concrete and spare 24 hours before applying stain.

How to Use Wood Stain on Concrete?

Besides being highly versatile, concrete is a strong and durable material. As a result, it offers the best option for flooring, decks, patios, porches, and concrete countertops. However, as a homeowner, I find ordinary concrete drab and distasteful.

Lucky for you, in recent years, with enhanced staining technology, concrete has found new life. As a result, you can transform the dull, gray cement into something beautiful by applying a stain coating. Here’s how to update your concrete look with any wood stain;

Tools you’ll need

  • Concrete cleaner or degreaser
  • Wood stain
  • A sealer/protective coat
  • Tape
  • Caulking gun
  • Paint roller
  • Paint brush
  •  Gloves and mask

Step 1: Clean And Prepare The Concrete Surface

Ensure the area you’re working on is free from dirt and debris. Next, scrape off mud or any sticky residue remains on the concrete. The residue includes caulk which creates bumps on the concrete.

Moreover, use a water-based degreaser to eliminate grease or oil stains on the surface. Finally, use a high-pressure washer concrete and spare some time for the surface to dry.

Step 2: Prepare Your Stain

Since wood stains have a darker hue, you’ll want to dilute it. The rule of thumb is to use 5 gallons of water for every 1 cup of wood stain. With a less-pigmented wood stain, you have greater control over the final color of your project.

Moreover, a light wood stain, allows you to add more layers to increase the color of the surface. Moreover, this is easier than if you had to lighten the stain on concrete that went too dark.

Step 3: Fill Cracks And Holes Using A Concrete Patch

Before anything, ensure you’ve covered the surrounding areas using plastic tarps and painter’s Tape. This way, you won’t ruin your surfaces in the case of spills. Afterward, cut the tip from the concrete patch tube and insert the tube into the caulking gun.

Using the gun, apply and fill any cracks or dents in the concrete using the patch. You could smooth the patch using a putty knife before allowing it to dry for 24 hours.

Step 4: Apply A Coat Of Wood Stain On The Concrete

While you could use a paintbrush to apply the wood stain over the concrete, I prefer working with a paint sprayer. If you decide to work with paintbrushes, steer clear of using latex brushes since the fence stain will ruin their bristles. 

Instead, opt for oil-based paint brushes no larger than 4 inches. This way, you are guaranteed an even and consistent coat.

With the sprayer, use long even movements and work your way starting from the exit. Take caution not to paint yourself into a corner. Afterward, use a soft-bristled brush to make even strokes across the surface to mimic the natural wood grain. 

Apply thin coats of wood stain when working on a horizontal concrete surface. Otherwise, with thicker coats, the wood stain will begin to pool. Spare about five hours for the wood stain to dry before recoating, depending on the hue you’re targeting.

Step 5: Seal The Surface

Once you’ve reviewed the final stain coating and approved its depth and texture, seal the concrete using a concrete sealer. Work evenly, spraying the sealer across the surface. Allow the surface to dry for several hours.

Tip

For more intense colors, apply the wood stain on freshly poured concrete. Moreover, staining concrete using wood stain makes the surface look like a continuous wood piece. 

For example, if you want to achieve the look of hardwood floor panels, use a stamp to create the seams of floor panels.

Does Wood Stain Work On Concrete?

Over the decade, the popularity of wood stains has increased, with many homeowners opting for them. Besides offering an appealing look, stained concrete is durable and long-lasting. But have you ever wondered if you can stain concrete to look like wood? 

While you can use wood stain on concrete, the results won’t be as good as you might’ve anticipated. 

Since wood stain only provides a layer similar to paint, it can chip off over time, resulting in an unappealing surface look. As such, the best stain for concrete should be acid based.

Can You Apply Wood Stain Over A Sealed Concrete?

While you can stain over sealed concrete floors, don’t apply the wood stain on top of the existing concrete sealer. Doing so will result in the stain flaking off. 

So, remove the sealer or apply a thin layer of acrylic polymer-modified concrete on the surface. Afterward, wait for 24 hours before applying the new wood stain.

Moreover, unlike acid stain, which soaks into the concrete, wood stain sits on top like a coat of paint. So if you don’t treat your sealed concrete floors, the wood stain will sit on the surface, vulnerable to foot and furniture traffic.

Removing The Previous Stain On The Concrete

Sometimes, you may want to update your concrete floor by adding a fresh coat of wood stain. However, this may require you to remove the previous wood stain off the concrete. Fortunately, removing stains from concrete is a seamless endeavor you can achieve with the steps below. 

You Will Need

  • Wood bleach (Oxalic/ Muriatic acid)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Protective eyewear
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Long-handled scrub brush
  • Mineral spirits
  • Baking soda

Steps for Removing the Wood Stain

While this method utilizes bleach, don’t use your typical household bleach. Household bleach won’t work. Instead, use oxalic acid, a wood bleaching agent, to remove the wood stain.

  1. Adhere to all precautions to protect yourself from harmful acids. Wear old clothing, protective eyewear, and rubber hand gloves. Moreover, ensure that your workspace is well-ventilated to avoid inhaling toxic fumes.
  1. Dilute the bleach with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  1. Apply the mixture to the stained concrete using a scrub brush and set it for about 15 minutes.
  1. Rinse the acid away using pressured water.

Types of Wood Stains

With myriad wood stains saturating the market, finding the best one for your concrete surface is no walk in the park. Fortunately, you needn’t have to worry about this any longer. After researching extensively, I’ve found some of the best wood stains for your project. Here they are;

Oil-Based Stain

Oil-based stains contain a natural oil, such as linseed, combined with a varnish. Besides offering a smooth application, oil-based stains cover evenly. 

Moreover, since wood stain soaks into the surface instead of sitting on the surface, it offers a durable and long-lasting option.

However, since it includes linseed oil and binders, among other ingredients, oil-based wood stain tends to attract mold over time. 

They also take longer to dry, with a waiting time of up to 3 hours. Once the curing process concludes, you can apply any finish besides water-based ones to achieve your desired look.

PROS

  • It covers smoothly and evenly
  • Durable and long-lasting 
  • Works well with a finisher 

CONS

  • Slow dry time 
  • Attracts mold growth

Water-Based Stain

Rather than using oil, water-based stains include water as a thinning agent. Moreover, they contain water-based dyes and pigments that give wood its color. While they are more environmentally friendly, they’re watery and less viscous. As a result, you’ll want to be diligent when working with water-based finishes to achieve a smooth and even finish. Similarly, since water doesn’t penetrate deep into the surface, the wood stain is likely to fade. Subsequently, it requires more frequent reapplication compared to its oil-based counterpart.

PROS

  • It is fast drying
  • More eco-friendly

CONS

  • Can form drips 
  • It’s less durable

Gel Stains

Gel-based stains, a rather recent innovation in wood stains, utilize a gel substance as the binding agent. The gel is viscous; hence it doesn’t run or drip upon application to your surface. However, it takes longer to dry, which may work to your advantage or disadvantage.

Similarly, its high viscosity limits the ability of gel-based stains to penetrate surfaces. As a result, you’ll have to reapply the wood stain sooner to enhance its durability. Moreover, you can’t spray a gel-based solution. So, you’ll have to apply it manually.

PROS

  • It doesn’t drip or run 
  • It doesn’t require extensive surface preparation
  • Hides flaws and blemishes

CONS

  • Dries slow 
  • Too thick to spray 
  • It offers limited permeability 

Lacquer Stain

Since they’re thinner, lacquer stains dry quickly, often within 15 minutes. With this property, lacquer stains offer the best option for fast applications since they allow you to recoat within no time.

However, lacquer stains are prone to dripping, running, and bubbling. Consequently, I don’t recommend them to novice stainers. Instead, this option is more popular among professionals and seasoned woodworkers.

PROS

  • Quick drying time 
  • Penetrates well

CONS

  • It drips, runs, and bubbles 
  • Short working time

Varnish Stains

While they contain oil as the main thinning agent, varnishes utilize varnish as a binder. This stain dries solid hard, covering flaws and blemishes on the surface. Moreover, you can apply the stain using a brush or roller. 

Unfortunately, due to their nature, you’ll want to recoat multiple times when working with varnishes to get a uniform finish. 

While varnish stains change color over time, they offer a more natural look and protect the surface.

PROS

CONS

  • Results in bubbling during application 
  • It fades over time

FAQs 

What kind of stain can you use on concrete?

There are two concrete stain types you can work with. These types include water-based and acid-based concrete stain.  Acid stain offers a more durable and longer-lasting option that resists fading. They react chemically with the concrete, resulting in a permanent bond. Moreover, acid based stain doesn’t peel, chip, or flake and deliver a natural-like finish. 

How much does it cost to stain concrete floors yourself?

Concrete stain costs for DIYers can range between $0.30 to $0.40 per square foot. A typical staining project will take about 48 hours to complete. This includes prep work and sealing requirements.

Can you put wood stain on concrete?

You can stain concrete surfaces with any wood stain. However, you’ll want to prepare adequately and follow the steps correctly. Also, ensure that you seal the concrete after applying wood stain.

How long does concrete stain last?

Concrete stain offers a permanent option; unlike paint, it doesn’t flake. However, since it only penetrates the top layer of concrete surfaces, the concrete stain will eventually wear away. How long your concrete stain lasts depend on the exposure to weather elements and surface traffic.

Can I stain my concrete floor myself?

A stained concrete floor is durable and aesthetically appealing. Luckily, staining concrete floor is a seamless undertaking, even for inexperienced DIYers. However, you’ll be working with harsh chemicals. Subsequently, you’ll want to work diligently and take all cautionary measures.

Conclusion

Besides being a seamless procedure, the staining concrete is quite inexpensive. So, back to your question; Can you use wood stain on concrete? Well, you can achieve a new look on your concrete floor using minwax wood stain. 

So, try it and leave a comment informing us how your project went and what you’d do differently next time.

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