1. Prepare the Surface

Whether you are staining new or old concrete, thorough surface preparation is essential. Unlike paints and coatings, which are opaque and can mask many evils, water-based stains are translucent. Any residue remaining on the surface of the concrete is likely to be visible through the newly applied stain.

When done properly, this initial step dramatically impacts the finished appearance of the project. Surface preparation can be done in two ways, either by mechanical grinding or with the use of a specially formulated cleaner.

2. Apply the Decorative Stain

Applying stains to concrete requires multiple steps, which are as follows:

  • Mask off area to protect door frames, walls, etc.
  • Spray or brush on first coat. A brush or sponge may be used for cases that require precise control of the stain application.
  • Let the newly applied stain dry. Dry times will vary based on temperature, humidity and air flow. In optimum conditions, the concrete will be dry to the touch in 15-20 minutes; however, the total cure time is 24 hours.
  • Repeat if more color intensity is desired.

3. Remove Residue

Once the stain has been applied, cleanup is required. Here is a standard cleanup process :

  • Rinse the concrete with clean water until the water runs clear.
  • Use a soft bristled brush or broom to loosen any stubborn residue before the final rinsing.

4. Add a Protection Coat

After allowing the stained concrete to dry overnight or longer, apply your sealer of choice. We recommend applying two coats of sealer for optimum durability. The type of sealer you use will depend on whether the concrete is indoors or outdoors and what level of gloss is desired.

In addition to the sealer, a floor finish or wax can be applied for extra protection against scuffs and scratches.

Source : Concretenetwork.com