A stained concrete floor inside your house is less expensive than tile or hardwood. But the job is labor intensive and requires time and patience.
Before you treat your concrete like a canvas and start splashing colored stains on it, be aware that concrete staining products do not cover imperfections on the floor. Even if you are able to scrape away carpet glue, the lines it leaves behind on the concrete will show through the stains.
Likewise, staining will not cover the grid impression that tile leaves when you remove it, and it won’t hide the small pits that carpet tacks can leave behind.
So you’ll need to repair the concrete prior to staining. You can resurface with a product called Relay, a polymer mixture for thin-bond resurfacing, which you can easily apply to the whole surface.
You can get it with a smooth or sandy texture. If you want a glassy-smooth floor, squeegee Relay into place (be careful not to leave streak marks). Or you can apply it with a trowel to create some texture and movement. Take care not to leave large ridges with the trowel; the finish on these protruding lips can chip easily. Don’t skimp, though; you can’t apply Relay just to the bad spots. Relay products are lighter in color than concrete, so the stain will look and react differently to varying surfaces.
If you decide to apply Relay, coat the entire floor to get a consistent finish. Remember to thoroughly clean and wash the concrete before you apply Relay. This resurfacing product will not adhere to grease, oil or debris. These products and tools are available at Cohill’s Building Specialties.