The concept that a concrete floor has to be a bland and colorless surface goes right out the window when you consider the range of things you can do with a good stain if you know how to apply it correctly. And the process of applying a colorful stain to a concrete surface is not difficult as long as you know the basics of how the stain works and prepare the surface before you apply the color.
Most stains that people use are acid based stains because they become absorbed into the concrete through pores in the cement which then allows the stain to undergo a chemical reaction with the lime that is part of a concrete mix. When that happens, a deep color change occurs that is not only great looking but long lasting because it is actually part of the composition of the concrete, not just a surface dye.
Preparing the surface of the concrete and evaluating it for blemishes and how well it will receive the stain is the first major step of creating a perfect stain in your flooring. It is always appropriate to clean the surface completely and be very picky about how clean you get it. For one thing, a virtually antiseptically clean surface is the perfect environment for the application of the stain. But another benefit of such a fussy cleaning is that you an spot imperfections and blemishes in the concrete when you remove all debris and dirt and you can accommodate those blemishes as you apply the stain.
But there is another important part of your preparation that happens during the cleaning phase of the concrete. That is to determine if the surface of the floor is able to absorb the stain because it has enough pours in it. Pours are nothing more than tiny air bubbles that allow the stain to soak in and reach the lime layer and create the staining effect.
You may not be able to even see if the surface is porous or not so by letting water stand on the surface of the concrete, If the water beads up and does not move at all, there is a step you should take to create the pours in the concrete you need. Apply a gellic acid solution to the surface and let it sit for about fifteen minutes and it will condition the concrete surface in preparation for staining.
You will take your time applying the stain in layers. You will use a sprayer to cover the entire surface with the first coat of stain. Generally each coat you apply gives you a darker shade of the color you want. But each application can take a half a day or longer because you must spray the color on and then use a brushing with a medium bristled type of broom to comb out pools which will not dry at the same time and will hurt the uniform color. Allow each coat to dry for 4-5 hours.
As you learn to use the stain, you will discover other methods to create the look you want including overlays and sealers. Learn your craft well and before long you will be an expert at staining concrete which is a skill that is in steady demand in any economy.