How To Use Smith’s Decorative Floor Stains

A lot of people hear ‘decorative concrete floor staining’ and tend to be put off. Rightfully so. Acid stains can be extremely difficult, not to mention very unforgiving, if you haven’t used them before. But Smith Paints has a Color Floor line that is completely water-based, extremely easy to use, and very forgiving if you think you messed it up somewhere. I have customers that rarely do any type of painting or staining and they can make this stuff look good. Be sure to read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) right below and watch the videos further down then be sure to buy some Smith’s Color Floor from our store.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Smith’s Color Floor stains water-based?

Yes, Smith’s Color Floor stains are water-based acrylics. These products are an environmentally friendly alternative to hazardous solvent and acid based stains.

What are the differences between Smith’s Color Floor and acid stains?

Smith’s Color Floor are waterborne acrylic stains that achieve a variegated finish through the various absorbencies of the surface material as well as the differing specific gravities of the color pigments. Acid stains achieve color variation when the acid and metallic salts in the stain react with the lime in the concrete. The finished color depends on the amount of time allowed for the reaction as well as the amount of lime in the concrete. Thus, a consistent color is very hard to achieve from one application to another.

What are the difference between the Smith’s Color Floor Classic, Old World and Bright Lights Series?

  • Classic Series are semi-transparent stains that achieve a natural variegation of color when mixed at the recommended dilution. The Classic Series can be used as a “High Hide” stain by simply mixing 1 part concentrate to 1 part distilled water. This application is an effective tool when staining slabs with varying integral color or refurbishing older stamped concrete.
  • Old World Series are transparent stains that achieve drastic variation in colors similar to acid stains. The colors shift from dark hues to light hints of the applied color.
  • Bright Light Series are high-chroma, intense colored stains for accenting or artistic differentiation

Are Smith’s Color Floor stains available in metallics and pearlescent colors?

Smith Paint Products offers Smith’s Color Accents, which include metallics, pearlescents, iridescent and flip/flop colors

I am not a contractor or professional, can I use Smith’s Color Floor?

Smith’s Color Floor stains are very simple to apply; however, the intended application surface must be correctly prepared to ensure Smith’s Color Floor adhesion. Read the Smith’s Color Floor Application Instructions section as well as view the Instructional video for Smith’s Green Celan and/or Smith’s Cleaner & Toughener CT-8 a.

Are Smith’s Color Floor stains packaged as concentrates?

Yes, Smith’s Color Floor stains are packaged as a concentrate. The recommended dilution ratio is 4 parts distilled, deionized or reverse osmosis water to 1 part concentrate. For base color application,to concrete, dilute Smith Color Floor concentrate 2 parts Smith’s Base Boost with 2 parts distilled, deionized or reverse osmosis water to 1 part concentrate.

Can I just add water to Smith’s Color Floor concentrates?

No. Independent research has shown that “hard” water (water with excess amount of magnesium, calcium and various other charged ions) has a negative reaction with Smith’s Color Floor concentrates. As a result of this reaction, you will adversely affect the optimal adhesion and longevity of our product. Furthermore, we have found that water is not consistent over time, even from the same source. Therefore, the use of distilled, deionized or reverse osmosis water is recommended.

Can I increase or decrease the dilution ratio?

Smith’s Color Floor is supplied as a concentrate. The recommended dilution ratio is 1 part concentrate to 4 parts distilled, deionized or reverse osmosis water. Mixing the Smith’s Color Floor concentrate with distilled, deionized or reverse osmosis water will result in ready to use stain.

  • Thinning Increased transparency as well as lighter color shade can be achieved by increasing the dilution ratio (amount of water to concentrate). The dilution ratio should not surpass 1 part concentrate to 8 parts distilled, deionized or reverse osmosis water. Note As dilution ratio increases, the amount of vehicle solids (glue) decreases resulting in a less durable stain.
  • High Hide Decreasing the dilution ratio (e.g. 1 part concentrate to 1 part water) will increase hide or opacity. This allows the applicator to cover stains and blemishes as well as achieve uniformity on different surfaces. A natural variegated appearance is still achieved at lower dilution rates.

How long should I wait after pouring a new concrete floor before applying Smith’s Color Floor?

Smith’s Color Floor can be applied to uncured concrete. Smith’s Color Floor allows the transfer of moisture; however, a problem arises when applying a clear sealer. These tend to be higher in vehicle solids, thus trapping moisture in the uncured concrete surface. This trapped moisture will result in a failure or the pealing of the sealer. A standard cure is approximately 30 days for a concrete slab. The cure time depends on temperature, humidity, airflow and thickness of concrete.

Can the surface be wet when I apply Smith’s Color Floor?

As long as standing water does not exist, you are ready to apply Smith’s Color Floor. Note, this will increase cure time.

Is there a test I can use to make sure that Smith’s Color Floor will adhere to my surface?

Smith’s Color Floor has very good adhesion. This can cause problems, due to the fact the stains will adhere to dirt, grease and other foreign materials. The problem or failure arises with ho to cold temperature shift as well as foot traffic or wear of the stained surface (even when protected with a sealer). The foreign material that Smith’s Color Floor has adhered to does not have a bond with the surface. Therefore, as this area is introduced to surface wear, the foreign material will be removed creating a failure or pealed appearance.


  1. Apply Smith’s Color Floor to a small “out of the way” area on the intended surface. Allow to dry for a 24-hour period, then scratch the surface with your finger nail. If you have cleaned the surface correctly, the stain will not be removed from your scratching.
  2. A tape test will help determine the effectiveness of the cleaning process. After the floor has been thoroughly scrubbed, rinsed and allowed to dry; apply several 1 foot strips of high quality 2” packaging tape to various locations on the floor. Aggressively press the tape onto the floor with the heel of your hand. Fold one end of the tape into itself and pull it off of the floor as vigorously as possible. Examine the adhesive layer in a bright light looking for residue that was pulled from the floor. Little to no dust or other foreign particles should be visible. Areas with visible foreign material need to be scrubbed and rinsed again until the surface is free of these contaminants.

How should I clean the intended application surface?

The surface preparation phase of “Staining a Concrete Floor” should be viewed as the most important. Proper floor preparation results in the stains longevity, minimizes potential failures and creates the best environment for an aesthetically pleasing work of art. In short, the more detail and time allotted to this phase of the project will dramatically affect the appearance and durability of the finished floor. The surface must be free of all foreign materials that would inhibit the absorption of Smith’s Color Floor stain. Foreign materials include, but are not limited to grease, dirt, glue, previous coatings, and sealer.* View Smith’s Green Clean and/or Cleaner & Toughener CT-8 Instructional video and Application Instructions.

WARNING: Do not use an acid etch as a cleaning method.

*Smith’s Color Floor can be applied to previously sealed surfaces. The process is described in “Can I apply Smith’s Color Floor to a previously sealed surface?”


  1. 1st Pass = 40 grit metal bonded diamonds if the surface requires (e.g. adhesives, profile irregularities)
  2. 2nd Pass = 150 grit metal bonded diamonds.
  3. Remove excess dust with vacuum.
  4. Remove remaining dust with dry mop or wet mop until floor is completely free of foreign materials and dust.

How can I apply Smith’s Color Floor?

Smith’s Color Floor can be applied via an airless sprayer, HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) sprayer, production gun, pump “bug” sprayer, spray bottle, sea sponge and bristle brush. We recommend creating a “mist” of Smith’s Color Floor to achieve a variegated finish. Remember, the surface absorbency and specific gravity of the pigments are the factors that result in a natural appearance. Using a paint roller will saturate the surface achieving a consistent or painted appearance.

What types of material/surfaces can I apply Smith’s Color Floor?

Smith’s Color Floor have superior adhesion to concrete, terra cotta, plaster, brick and natural stone.

Are Smith’s Color Floor colors consistent and dependable?

Smith’s Color Floor colors are created with high quality pigments resulting in a consistent and dependable coating. Due to the transparent natural appearance of Smith’s Color Floor stains, the color of the underlying surface (i.e. gray, white, etc) will have an effect on the finished appearance.

Will the colors fade in sunlight?

Smith’s Color Floor are Ultra Violet (UV) light resistant (light fast). As a result, surfaces will have colors that do not fade and remain bright and beautiful.

Can I mix the different Smith’s Color Floor to create a new color?

All Smith’s Color Floor Colors are compatible, thus can be mixed, sprayed simultaneously and layered to achieve a desired appearance or color.

Can I use Smith’s Color Floor as an integral color?

No. Smith’s Color Floor can not be used as an integral color for concrete. The calcium in the concrete reacts with the resin system used in Smith’s Color Floor. However, Smith’s Color Floor can be used as an integral color in overlays and micro toppings.

Textured Finish – Overlay

  • 2 quarts–1 gallon distilled water*
  • 8-16 ounces of Smith Color Floor Concentrate
  • 10 lbs Portland Cement Type “S”
  • 10 lbs 70-90 Silica Sand
  • 32–64 ounces Polymer Modifier (depending on strength)

Smooth Finish

  • Micro Finish Material (Ardex, Elite Crete, etc)
  • add distilled water* according to direction
  • 4-16 ounces of Smith’s Color Floor Concentrate

*Note Amount of Smith’s Color Floor Concentrate should be mixed with distilled water to yield amount as per instructions. (e.g. as per micro finish instructions add 1 gallon of water = 8 oz of Smith Color Floor Concentrate + 120 oz of distilled water)

Can I apply additional highlight colors?

Yes, a secondary or highlight coat can be applied as soon as initial Smith’s Color Floor color is dry to the touch

Can I freeze this product?

Smith’s Color Floor concentrates are not freeze thaw stable in the liquid form. However, Smith’s Color Floor can be applied to surfaces that are exposed to freezing temperatures after the stain has cured.

Can I apply Smith’s Color Floor to previously sealer surfaces?

After cleaning the previously sealed surface(including the removal of all lose or pealing sealer via a pressure washed as stated in Question #8), apply Smith’s Color Floor via an airless sprayer or HVLP to a small, out of the way test section of the sealed surface. Allow the stain to dry (15-20 minutes). Test for adhesion by running your hand over the stained surface. If you are unable to rub the stain off, the stain has achieved adhesion. Apply Smith’s Color Floor stain to the remaining areas. Allow for a 24 hour drying period before applying a clear sealer over Smith’s Color Floor.

Should I apply a clear sealer over Smith’s Color Floor?

Yes. A film forming sealer will increase your beautiful floor’s durability and longevity. Smith Paint Products recommends the use of Smith’s Seal WB, Smith’s Polyurethane SB or Smith’s Polyurethane WB.

WARNING: Smith’s Color Floor is not compatible with Methyl Methacrylate. In addition, “penetrating” (e.g. sodium silicate) sealers will not penetrate Smith’s Color Floor, thus will not provide any protection.

Can I use stencils with Smith’s Color Floor?

Yes, allow a cure time of 48 hours before placing a stencil over Smith’s Color Floor. When removing a stencil, pull the stencil off the surface at a 45 degree angle

How much time should I allow before applying a clear sealer?

Smith Paint Products recommends 24 hours before applying a clear sealer over Smith’s Color Floor. Remember that a 30 day period is recommended for newly poured concrete floors. If a sealer is applied to uncured concrete, the clear sealer will create a film over the moist concrete not allowing moisture to escape resulting in flaking and peeling – general product failure.

How should I protect my recently stained and sealer floor?

Use rolls of brown paper and/or cardboard to protect your stained and sealed floor from other trades or during a move. Do not use tape on a sealed surface until the sealer is fully cured. A good rule is 30 days for a sealer to cure. It is best to avoid using tape in general.



Surface Preparation

Green Clean (Surface Preparation)

CT-8 (Surface Preparation)

Color Floor – Interior

Color Floor – Exterior

Color Floor – Burnish


Technical Documents

Technical Data Sheet | Material Safety Data Sheet