Looking to stain my garage floor

Anybody ever stain a concrete floor? Mine is 20 years old but never been sealed. I’ve seen some great photos but I don’t know how.

I think there is a lot of pre-prep work required to stain a concrete floor that has been around for as long as your’s has been. We did do a DIY epoxy coating in our garage that I’m very happy with. I’ll be curious to see what the experts have to say though…

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I’m in agreement with epoxy, I’ve used the 2 part kit that Sherman Williams sells on a couple garages. Recently went to one of them I did 3 years ago and it’s held up very well.

Thanks all. I"l still look into stain, but I appreciate the help!

My issue with staining is that it doesn’t really hold up to other work use. IE it’s one thing for a living room floor but it’s another for a garage.

Hot tires will probalby leave discolor spots on a stained concrete floor. LIkewise Oils and other chemials will probalby hurt it too. And yes that’s assuming you put some overcoat on tool

Where as the epoxy coatings are made to stand up to that sort of thing now. SO it will look better longer and be easier to clean up. and that’s another bit much easier to clean up it’s surprising at first. Even a gritted, epoxy floor will let you mop up, vac up oil and oil dry smoother and faster than just bare cement.

as said before of the coatings out there if I was to coat my gargage and I haven’t and don’t plan to. but if I was I would be getting the sherwin williams kit and cleaning the floor with a 10% solution of muratic acid to start with. FYI. Why do I condone it but not consider it for my garage - I just don’t want to put the expense in. I already have oil stains in my garage floor (there when I bought the house) and I’ve added to it since - it doesn’t actually bother me to have bare concrete. I don’t take video in my garage so I don’t really care. But if I was to do it I do have a plan.

Thanks to all who replied. Very helpful.

Re epoxy: is there ever a problem with moisture wicking through the concrete and causing the epoxy to bubble?

I believe some older garages are just slab on grade, i.e., with concrete poured on top of the dirt or a layer of crushed rock. And as we all know, concrete is moisture-permeable. (I know a vapor barrier is typical now, but I don’t know when that became standard practice.)

And if I ever build a garage, I’m going to check out putting down a layer of foam insulation, in case I ever want to convert it into a workshop.

Good question regarding moisture. We have not had any issues with our coating (~17 years old) and we have moisture issues throughout our property. That being said, we coated our garage floor when it was new.

depends on the condition of the floor when it was put down and if the person covered over the expansion joints. I don’t know anyone that’s had an issue with it personally but I’ve seen pictures of where the epoxy has come up off the floor in places.

Those places happen to also be where the expansion joints are. So I figure it has much more to do with that.

I think that’s the biggest issue with the expansion joint filled the concrete has nowhere to move. its not the moisture but the temp swings that’s the issue. Moisture won’t affect the epoxy and if done correctly the epoxy is into the first layer of pores in the floor.

Put another way. large aircraft hangars I work in, all have coated floors today. Our preferred vendor is Sherwin Williams FYI. But those floors have gates for inbeded cables, drainage basins, etc and many expansion joints. Maybe in extreme winters there might be an issue but I’ve not heard of one.


How much prepwork is needed depends a lot on the condition of your garage floor. If there are significant oil stains or other stains, I would recommend using a strong, high quality degreaser first. The strongest ones are more often sold at Auto repair parts stores instead of Lowe’s or Home Depot.

Other staining or discoloring may need a much stronger concentration of muriatic acid, much higher than 10% in the S-W kits mentioned by others. I even had to use higher concentrations than listed on the muriatic acid bottles for really tough, old embedded stains. But to use stronger mixes, you MUST wear a respirator with at least a 95 or 100 rated filters. Sometimes you can rent a high PSI pressure washer of 3000 PSIs or more. I used the pressure washer to do a rinse of the degreaser first and then applied muriatic acid. The floor should almost bone dry for the acid to work well.

Epoxy kits are popular but must be applied Exactly as directed by the manufacturer. But there are also very strong Acrylic paints now that are about equal to epoxy in their durability and ease of cleaning. One exception for epoxy floors is they are very slippery when wet and you must apply a grit to it when still wet to create a slip-proof floor. Some kits have this already added & others do not. But I highly recommend first using a high powered pressure washer to thoroghly clean the floor after applying degreaser, if needed. And then the muriatic acid which actually etches the concrete and cleans it to almost new looking condition. This what I did on a patio that had years of filth and paint spills all over. If you have paint spills, muriatic acid will not remove it well. You may need to apply a paint stripper on such spots. Sometimes pressure washers will remove paint if it’s latex and not oil paint. One last tip: DO NOT buy the Jasco green label muriatic acid. All it is really is simply weaker diluted acid with a higher “green” label price. A lot of these Green label products are don’t weaker versions of the same acids or degreasers, etc

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Makes good sense. You nailed it. Not so sure about the acid wash if doing stain. I’m reading things about it now. Acid wash can harm the ability of the concrete to be stained. NOt sure why yet

if you don’t rinse the acid off fully and let the concrete dry between it more than likely will prevent the stain from setting or worse discolor it. Many stains are of the Alkyd (basic) side of the chart so acid and base neutralize each other.

I’ve never been a fan of staining concete other than in a decorative setting like say a patio. I wouldn’t use that on a garage floor if it was to be used as a garage. iF being used as a game room, different story.

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Sherwin Williams Macropoxy and grab some of the crushed walnut shells they sell with the DuckBack Elastomeric coating. The shells stay suspended in the epoxy, unlike silica sand or other grit. I live in Wyoming and the vehicles drop ice and moisture on the garage floor. The old lady would slip on the Macro when it was wet, so I grabbed a bag of the crushed shells, taped off a border around the vehicles and rolled a couple coats with the grit. No more slip and falls and I’m not getting a woman’s scorn anymore. Forget the stain. But if you have to stain it, H&C is the way to go.