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Make An Interior Concrete Surface Beautiful

Posted by Mark Gooch on

Make your interior concrete surface beautiful with Smith's Paint's Color Floor Concentrate

Furniture Store

Color: CF-290 Dark Chocolate
7 For All Mankind Clothing Store

Color: CF-700 Fawn 

There are three simple steps to achieve beautiful, long-lasting stained concrete surfaces:
1) Surface Preparation
2) Staining the New or Old Concrete Slab
3) Use Epoxy, Urethane, Water or Solvent-Based Sealer

1) Surface Preparation

Surface preparation is the most crucial step for staining concrete slabs. Plan to spend most of the time it takes to complete the project on the cleaning process.

Even with newly poured concrete, it will contain loose particles and powder that need to be removed prior to staining.

For cleaning interior concrete slabs, R1 Supply recommends Smith's Green Clean Concrete Surface Cleaner/Prep Gel.

Smith's Green Clean is a non-corrosive bio-degradable gel developed to prepare concrete substrate by producing a moderate surface texture. Smith's Green Clean is the next generation in surface preparation, and can be used on machine troweled surfaces or smooth exterior slabs. This product also increases the adhesion of Smith's Color Floor through proper substrate preparation. 

How to apply Smith's Green Clean:

  • Before applying the gel, remove any paint, adhesives and loose particulates from the application surface. It is best to test a small section to be treated before applying the gel over the entire surface.
  • After a successful test has been conducted, use a roller cage with a half inch nap cover, to agitate, then liberally apply the gel over a twenty foot by twenty foot section of the substrate.
  • When applied, Smith's Green Clean becomes hazy. If this reaction does not occur, then a film of residue may be present that must be removed in order to successfully prepare the substrate with Smith's Green Clean.
  • After applying Smith's Green Clean, wait a minimum of twenty minutes (dwell time), although increased dwell time may result in greater surface texture. For tightly troweled substrates, or applications in cool temperatures, Smith's Green Clean may require a longer dwell time.
  • For interior applications, agitate the Smith's Green Clean using a floor buffer, or an auto-scrubber with brush attachments while rinsing with clean water.
  • Extract material using a wet vac, or lower the uptake bar on an auto-scrubber. Continue to flush and agitate the substrate until the water is clean, and the gel residue is removed.


The texture of the surface prepared with Smith's Green Clean achieves a profile rating of CSP2 to CSP3 according to the standards established by the International Concrete Repair Institute. This equates to 100 to 120 grit sandpaper. If this texture is not achieved, or additional profile is desired, then reapply Smith's Green Clean and repeat the previous directions.

Surface Preparation Video using Smith's Green Clean Gel

Copyright © 2016 Smith Paint Products

Alternative Surface Preparation Method for Concrete In Bad Condition

An alternative to using Smith's Green Clean Gel is to grind the concrete surface for the floor preparation, leaving a porous surface that is optimal for staining.  This method may be preferred for a concrete surface that is in bad condition from contaminants such as tile or carpet glue.

Use a Concrete Floor Grinder to remove the surface of the concrete.  We recommend a first pass over the concrete surface with 40 grit metal bonded diamonds.  This will remove the majority of the contaminants.

Follow up with a second pass using 150 grit metal bonded diamonds, which will remove the circular marks from the 40 grit grinding, but will not burnish the concrete surface.

To remove the fine dust left from the 150 grit metal bonded diamonds, use a vacuum to pick up the bulk of the dust as well as other residue.  Follow up with a dry mop to remove the remaining dust.

2) Staining the New or Old Concrete Slab (Interior)

  • Prior to staining an interior surface, cover any surfaces (including walls) that need to be protected from stain.
  • Mix the Smith's Color Floor concentrate with 4 parts Distilled Water (or Deionized / Reverse Osmosis Water) and 1 part Smith's Color Floor concentrate.  Do not use regular tap water, in order to obtain optimal adhesion and durability.
  • Use a high-volume or low-pressure sprayer, pump-up sprayer, airless sprayer, sea sponge or traditional bristle brush to apply the mixture to the concrete.  For best results, apply a fine mist of the mixture onto the intended area.
  • After applying the base color, approximately 15 minutes after it is dry to the touch, you can begin applying the highlight colors (if required).
  • When staining concrete, do not mask previously stained areas or areas to be stained with tape.  On stained concrete, the adhesive on the tape may form a bond with the resin in the stain, pulling color off the floor.  On unstained concrete, the tape may leave residue, inhibiting natural absorption.  An alternative is to use cardboard or paper to mask areas where the stain is not wanted.
Staining instructional video from Smith's Paints

Copyright © 2016 Smith Paint Products

3) Use Epoxy, Urethane, Water or Solvent-Based Sealer

Sealer can be applied after the concrete has cured.  This can take up to about 30 days, depending on surface thickness, air temperature, humidity and air flow.

Allow 24 hours for the stains to absorb and dry into the concrete surface before applying the sealer.

Smith's Color Floor Stains are compatible with single and two-component epoxy, urethane, water & solvent-based sealers.  Apply the sealer using an airless, high-volume / low-pressure pump up sprayer or a roller.  Use a bristle brush to cut in corners and seal joint lines.  Be sure to use a thin coat of sealer, as excess sealer will not add more protection, and can cause blister effects.

Allow 24 hours for the sealer to cure before applying a high gloss acrylic floor polish.  The high gloss acrylic floor polish will enhance the gloss of the surface in addition to increasing the durability.  For commercial floors, a weekly or monthly maintenance plan should include application of an acrylic floor polish.  This will increase longevity while keeping the floor looking like new.  For residential applications, the polish can be done every 6 months to a year.

Donna Rosa Restaurant Floor

Colors: CF-220 Pottery and CF-280 Bark Brown
7 For All Mankind Clothing Store

Colors: Various Mixtures of CF-100 WhiteCF-160 Patina
CF-170 Moss GreenCF-180 Olive GreenCF-900 Purple,
and CF-910 Ocean Blue.
Concrete Stains

Concrete Stains

Sprayers & Accessories

Sprayers & Accessories