How to Stain Concrete Floors to Get an Awesome Finished Basement on the Cheap

AFTER: how to stain concrete floors - DIY home project for less

Finishing a basement is the ultimate (and often most expensive) dad home upgrade. It often involves 3 of my least favorite things: carpet, drop ceilings, and drywall. Literally truckloads of drywall. How can you call it a man cave if the “cave” walls are drywall?! It was time for a basement DIY. This one involving staining the concrete floors.

  1. Clean concrete with a degreaser. Mop with clean water. Dry.
  2. Apply Valspar tintable semi-transparent concrete stain (color: Onyx) using a sponge. 1-3 coats depending on how dark you want it.
  3. Apply Valspar Wet Look Sealer (high gloss finish).
  4. Enjoy!

Don’t you hate it when recipe posts don’t get right to the recipe? Me too. There, that’s the TL;DR concrete staining recipe. If you want the nitty-gritty, read on! (Seriously, read on, we know DIY dads need more detail than that!)

how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

DIY Project— Stain Concrete Floors:

“That’s not really the kind of thing that I do,” was the response I got after asking 3 different professional painters if they could stain my concrete basement floors.

I normally hate paying people to do things at my house if I can avoid it. It’s not that I’m cheap; I just don’t like giving up control. I’m very dad-like in that way.

But when it came to staining my concrete basements floors? I had no idea how to do it. And I didn’t want to mess it up. So I consulted the experts. Maybe it was the people I asked, but the collective response was “Good luck buddy.”

This surprised me. Because every modern office building, or heck, even the floors of Lowes and Home Depot, are stained and textured concrete floors. It strikes me as a very practical, minimalist, and sleek-looking flooring solution.

But first, why stain your basement floors?

Over the years, I’ve had several small leaks in my unfinished basement. Small cracks around the window well, caulking issues around my front door, even a foundation issue that I paid decent money to fix. In all cases, if my basement had been traditionally “finished,” I’d have been screwed. Hidden moisture, mold, undetected foundation issues. No thank you. I’d rather have full visibility to these things.

how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

Also, I just like the look of concrete.

So I laid out my minimalist basement renovation plan. I’d leave the walls and floor bare concrete. I’d put up a single dividing drywall between the main space and the storage/furnace/water heater area. I’d put in basic recessed can lighting. And I’d paint the ceiling rafters black.

To make it pop, the floors needed some depth, texture, and finish. So it was STAINING TIME.

What the Experts Said:

The experts said it would be easiest to paint the floors. The risk would be chipping of paint over time. NIGHTMARE. They also suggested using an epoxy-based paint. It wouldn’t wear as much, but would be shiny and would turn the basement floor into a skating rink, especially with the slightest amount of moisture. When I asked about a stain, they seemed nervous. In hindsight, I think because it is a bit of an art, and it’s more of a skill-based practice. Not quite as easy as painting.

So with the experts decidedly NOT on my side, and my propensity to take on projects myself, my mission was clear. Stain my concrete basement floors or die tryin’.

Choosing Color and Technique:

  1. Trial run(s) to find your color. This is super important. Ideally, you have an inconspicuous place to test. Luckily I had a workshop with concrete floors that I could use for experiments. I bought some expensive Sherwin Williams stains. They did not have samples, and they only had a limited number of colors. My first passes looked very amateurish. I found that Lowe’s sold Valspar semi-transparent concrete stain. Not only was it significantly cheaper, but it was also tintable in many colors. I went with essentially black. I did a coat and was thrilled. I found the look I was after!
  2. Trial run(s) to perfect your technique. The thing about stain is that if you mess up, you can’t just go back over it as you can with paint. Each time you go back over it, it gets DARKER. So if you have a dark spot, and you want to “even it out,” you have to very carefully go over the spots AROUND it without going over the dark spot again. And dark spots are bound to happen, due to portions of the concrete absorbing the stain differently. So experiment with application techniques. My favorite was using a sponge. Get some stain on the sponge, and apply the stain by spreading it across the concrete. Then, to make it more consistent, use the sponge to dab over all of the spots where you applied. This avoids streaks and makes it look more natural. You could also use a cloth to apply, or a paint roller attached to a long stick. This helps preserve your creaky dadbod joints since sponging requires being on your hands and knees.

(Did not like these colors.)

how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

Valspar color options:

how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

Oh snap, I found the look I was after (Valspar ONYX)!

how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

Successful experiment (before and after):

how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap
how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

It’s Go Time— Here are the Steps for How to Stain Concrete Floors:

  1. Prep the concrete. Get yourself a good degreaser. Apply with a mop. Do this at least 2 times. Then get a clean bucket of water and mop the floor 2-3 times to remove any excess degreaser. I actually used a wet shop vac to suck up excess moisture between mop rounds.
  2. Apply concrete stain. This is your trial work’s time to shine. Again, with stain, there are no do-overs. Each time you apply, it gets darker. So best to apply as light of coats as possible. I did my first coat with a paint roller. I rolled it on, and then literally smeared it around with the roller, making it an extremely thin coat. I did my 2nd coat with a sponge as described above. Then, I went back over with a sponge for a touch up third coat to even out any inconsistencies.
  3. Finish ‘er up. Stay with step 2 until you’re completely satisfied with the look. Like it? Love it? Ready to lock it in? Apply a concrete finish. I used Valspar Protective Sealer. Made it a little glossy, but not excessively so. This helps protect the floor and gives it a finish look. Will also make the concrete significantly less porous (less accepting of stain) so don’t do it until you’re happy.

Before:

Before: how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

After 1st Coat:

After 1st Coat: how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

After 2nd Coat:

After second coat: how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

Finished Product:

After Finished Result: how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

Once Complete:

After : how to stain concrete floors - diy basement upgrade for cheap

So the main thing is using the right semi-transparent concrete stain and experimenting to find the right application method that gets the look you want. I have a basement workshop so I was able to use that for practice to get the look right. Really important because you can’t go back once you start staining! It’ll just get darker.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have got some kids to crush in Mario Kart.

(If you’d rather watch someone else show you how to do the work, this Creto Seal video hits all of the basics.)

Best Products For How To DIY Stain Concrete

best products for staining concrete floors: H&C ConcreteReady Cleaner/Degreaser

H&C ConcreteReady Cleaner/Degreaser

Yes, we agree, cleaning is not fun under any circumstances. But don’t skip this important step for a staining concrete project, or your results will not be as good as they could be, and your wife will get to say, “I told you so.” Ugh.

Buy for $26 on Amazon

Best products for DIY staining concrete floors: Valspar Semi-Transparent Concrete Stain

Valspar Semi-Transparent Concrete Stain

Now for the fun part: Picking out the stain to use. This Valspar stain will work either indoors or outdoors, so after you finish staining the basement concrete, you can move on to outdoor projects, like your garage, patio, sidewalk, and driveway. (Hell, go nuts and stain the neighbor’s patio too. We’re guessing you’ll become so good at this, you won’t be able to stop.)

Buy for $29 on Ace Hardware

Best products for DYI staining concrete floors: Valspar Clear Acrylic Concrete Sealer

Valspar Clear Acrylic Concrete Sealer

Picking the right sealer gives your concrete staining project the perfect finishing touch, while also making it stronger and resistant to whatever your kids will spill on it. (Come to think of it, you may want two coats. The kids are experts at destroying things.)

Buy for $33 on Ace Hardware

best products for DIY staining concrete floors: Tidy Tools Industrial Grade Mop

Tidy Tools Industrial Grade Mop

Sure, you could use a cheap-ass mop to do this work. But it won’t give you the same results as an industrial grade mop.

And we all know that having a high quality mop on hand is something every dad should have. Not only is it tough enough to clean up after the kids and the dog, but it’ll last several years … which will provide plenty of time for the kids to become old enough that they can use the same mop to do the chores that you are sick of doing. (Almost brings a tear to your eye.)

Buy for $29 on Amazon

best products to DYI staining concrete floors: QEP X-Large Sponges

QEP X-Large Sponges

Sponges work well for doing the finishing touches on your concrete basement staining project, allowing for precise application of the stain.

Because this is a six-pack, you can throw away the staining sponge after you use it. Do not under any circumstances place that used sponge in the your wife’s favorite white porcelain sink, figuring you can use it for other things later … at least not unless you want to spend the night sleeping on your newly stained concrete floor rather than in your bed.

Buy for $10 on Amazon

bets products for DYI staining concrete floors: Bates Choice Paint Roller

Bates Choice Paint Roller

Paint rollers work well for applying the stain quickly and efficiently. This set ships with two rollers, so you’ll have a backup for applying a second color or if you royally screw up the first one.

We might also recommend adding a long wooden handle with a threaded metal tip that you can screw onto the paint roller. You won’t have to crawl on the floor or stoop over to apply the stain when you add the handle.

And honestly, after this job is finished, who couldn’t find a million uses for a long wooden handle? For example, no birthday party is complete without a wooden stick, a hanging pinata, dad’s private parts within striking distance, and someone who’s filming it all.

Buy for $15 on Amazon

best products for DIY staining concrete floors: Vannect Power Paint Sprayer

Vannect Power Paint Sprayer

It’s hard to believe we’ve gone this far without listing a power tool in our products required for staining concrete in a basement. Our bad.

Some people prefer to apply the stain with a paint sprayer. These things can get pretty messy, especially with stain instead of the thicker consistency of paint, so you may want to put plastic on the walls and other areas that need protection. But if you hate the idea of applying the stain by hand — or if you just have to use a power tool on any DIY project you tackle — this sprayer will do the trick.

Buy for $55 on Amazon

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

Special Needs Puppy Gets Ghosted by Adopters, Goes Viral, Find Fur-Ever Home

Jack Ghosted Puppy
(Facebook/PeachesBullyRescue)

After being ghosted by potential adopters, a special needs puppy named Jack has finally found his forever home.

In January the 9-month-old pup with spina bifida had a bath, put on his fancy harness, a fresh diaper, and went with his foster team on a 40-minute drive to meet his new owners. And he was ghosted. All that, and they were a no-call, no-show.

Peaches Bully Rescue in Ohio posted about the puppy’s disappointing day out. They said the foster team put in all that work, drove 40 minutes each way, and puppy Jack was ghosted. The post on Facebook said he was “very sad” and that it was a “huge disappointment.” But, they realized that just wasn’t going to be his family.

“Respect that we are all volunteers just trying to give this guy his best chance. Not showing up or calling is bad form,” they wrote. “Your family will come sweet boy, and when they do, they will be perfect.”

But the post on Facebook did resonate with people. Like, a LOT of people. In fact, it quickly went viral, as plenty of decent people out there felt for the lil guy. And since the post went viral, Jack had HUNDREDS of people lining up to adopt him and give him a home.

Since then, his story has been covered by People Magazine, the Today Show, and The New York Post.

The rescue is processed hundreds of applications and has expressed deep gratitude for the gifts and warm wishes they’ve received. They said the post reached more than 3 million people, and they’ve heard from folks in Australia, the U.K., Germany, Singapore, and more.

“Who knew that our little Jack Jack would be so widely loved,” they posted about the attention. “Thank you all and please support rescue. We are the last chance for many animals in this world.”

Because of his condition, Jack has to wear a diaper, but he is still mobile and still cute as heck.

And now he has a family to take him in fur-ever!

 

Watch Will and Martin Honor “Bad Boys” 26th Anniversary and Tease a 4th Flick

Will Smith Martin Lawrence
(Instagram/willsmith)

“Bad Boys” was a blockbuster for the action-comedy genre, which is a lost art (unless you shoehorn a few select Marvel offerings in there). And it’s definitely developed a cult following over the years, even though it’s only been out a short…26 years. OK, well it feels like less, but you can really feel those years when you see the stars then and now.

And even those it’s been 26 years, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence decided to celebrate the occasion, while renewing their vows to each other as Bad Boys and recreating the original movie poster.

 

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A post shared by Will Smith (@willsmith)

“When we say FOR LIFE we mean it,” Will Smith wrote on Instagram. “Bad Boys came out 26 years ago today!”

Lawrence added “Today marks 26 years and we STILL riding strong! Bad Boys for life!”

So life means life, and the baddest boys are still all about that. Not only that, but we also MAY be getting a fourth (and final) installment of the franchise.

We had a sequel in 2003, and then a long time off before the duo reunited in 2020, but when they were accepting an NAACP Image Award for that latest film is when they tipped their hand about a possible final chapter.

They thanked the fans and said “hopefully, we’re gonna try to get one more…you guys seem to like it, so we’re gonna try to do one more, before we become the sad boys.”

Previously Unpublished Prince Album Drops This Summer

New Prince Album
(YouTube/Prince)

Prince was a legend with no true equal, whether it was as an entertainer or on the court. And even though he’s been gone for five years now, we are about to get some new music from the iconic artist, as his estate is releasing a previously unpublished album from 2010.

The Prince Estate and Legacy Recordings announced earlier this month a forthcoming release of “Welcome 2 America”, recorded by the star in 2010. The press release described it as a “powerful creative statement that documents Prince’s concerns, hopes and visions for a shifting society, presciently foreshadowing an era of political division, disinformation and a renewed fight for racial justice.”

If you can’t wait for the full album, along with the release of a previously recorded full concert, you can hear the title track from “Welcome 2 America” on Spotify and Apple Music. Along with the album, the unreleased concert film (recorded from his 2011 tour of the same name) includes him covering some Bob Dylan and Janet Jackson.

The visionary reportedly had a treasure trove of unrecorded material, a mysterious vault of music intended for the children he never had. His bandmates say Prince’s “Welcome 2 America” is disillusioned funk and ‘perfect for the times’, and will be absorbed in a different way in 2021 than it would have a decade prior.

He never said why the album wasn’t released at the time, but for material that covers commentary on social media, celebrity culture, and the state of the country, it will probably still make a pretty poignant statement about the world he left behind.

The album will drop on July 30th.

Veteran in Hospice Care Has Final Wish Granted, Sees Beloved Dog One Last Time

Dying veteran sees beloved dog one last time
(Facebook/Albuquerque Animal Welfare)

For many, dogs become far more than just pets. Their loyalty, intuition, and unconditional love make them members of the family, ones who stand by our sides during life’s most challenging moments. A veteran named John Vincent was heartbroken when he had to give up his beloved dog Patch after entering hospice care, and even during his final days, he didn’t stop thinking about his best friend.

The 69-year-old had no family nearby, and nobody he knew was willing to take in his 5-year-old companion. When Vincent was moved to the Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Patch was relinquished to Albuquerque Animal Welfare.

Vincent’s condition was quickly deteriorating, and during a session with his palliative care social worker, Amy Neal, the veteran made a far-fetched last request. His last wish was to see his best friend once more, to say one last goodbye to the loyal terrier. After realizing how meaningful the reunion would be to Vincent, Neal scrambled to make the veteran’s last wish a reality.

“When the request came in, it was an immediate ‘absolutely,’ and let’s do whatever we can to get it done,” Danny Nevarez, Director of Animal Welfare told the Albuquerque Journal. “It was as simple as getting Patch over here.”

As the animal welfare workers drove towards Vincent with Patch quietly in tow, something in the small pup changed.

“It’s almost like he knew, he just started whimpering,” Nevares told the Journal. “Like he had that anticipation.”

The reunion between Vincent and Patch was nothing short of extraordinary, with both man and dog perking up at the sight of one another.

Veteran in hospice says goodbye to beloved dog
(Facebook/Albuquerque Animal Welfare)

“Yeah, that’s me, that’s daddy,” Vincent said to Patch. “Are you so happy to see me? I’m so happy to see you.”

Albuquerque Animal Welfare shared touching photos of the reunion on Facebook, grateful to be part of something so meaningful. Vincent and Patch got to take their time saying a final goodbye, closure that each of them likely needed.

“It was such a heart warming moment,” Albuquerque Animal Welfare wrote on Facebook. “They were so happy to see each other and to say their good byes. It was an honor to make this veterans final wish come true.

Adidas and South Park Collab For the Perfect 4/20 Shoes

Adidas South Park Towelie Shoe
(Instagram/JustJuice)

It isn’t 1992 anymore and the easiest way to tell (besides, well, a calendar) is how culture’s attitude towards cannabis has shifted. State governments are decriminalizing or outright legalizing marijuana use, the medicinal benefits of cannabis are being embraced (by some), and brands and personalities are a lot more open about weed. And that’s why you can celebrate 4/20 with the highest shoes we’ve seen.

There have been some pretty awesome shoe collaborations, but if you’re looking for a partner for 4/20, good luck beating out Adidas teaming up with one of the greatest comedies of all time and releasing a South Park-themed pair of Campus 80s.

South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone worked with the shoe company to make the perfect 4/20 shoes by leaning on everyone’s favorite cartoon-user, Towelie. The Towelie shoes have eye illustrations on the tongue, which can turn pink and bloodshot when exposed to sunlight. The shoes also have a stash pocket beneath the tongue, for whatever you may need to put in a tiny pocket. You know, right where it says “I have no idea what’s going on.”

 

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A post shared by Juice Rodriguez 🇩🇴 (@justjuice)

There’s more Adidas and South Park branding inside the shoe, but from a distance, it’s the blue terry cloth and trademark eyes that will help other fans quickly identify how high your shoes truly are.

South Park knows its demo, which has been a trademark of their success for a long time, and these shoes, available on (well, you know what day they’re available) are another testament to its creator’s ability to make jokes come to life.

After Two Years, the “Perfect” Super Mario Bros. Speedrun Has Been Dethroned

(Youtube/Niftski)

The original Super Mario Bros. is notoriously difficult, and I feel like anyone who can complete the game deserves some kind of medal.  You can imagine my shock then while watching Niftski’s new world record speedrun that clocks in at 4 minutes and 54 seconds.  This is some next-level Mario Bros. gameplay.

Before we get to that run though, we need to go back to September 25th, 2018.  This was the day streamer Kosmic achieved the (previously) “perfect” Super Mario Bros. speedrun world record with a time of 4:55.913, which had only ever been achieved during a tool-assisted run.  These tool-assisted runs are special programs that allow creators to play perfectly, giving them an idea of just how far they can potentially push a game to its limits.  As experts continued to tinker with different speedrun methods, there were tool-assisted runs that would end up clocking in at under 4:55, but what Kosmic had done was as perfect as humanly possible.  Could anyone achieve a better time than his?  How do you improve on perfection?

It wouldn’t be until April 7th, 2021 that streamer Niftski would blow everyone’s minds.  He pulled off a perfect run like no other, just barely sneaking in by milliseconds and setting a new world record of 4:54.948.  I don’t even want to know how many attempts it took to reach this point, but watching this will leave your palms sweaty.  Each jump over an enemy is so close to ending Niftski’s run, it physically pains me to watch.  As he inches closer towards the end, the chat starts to go absolutely berserk and once he knocks Bowser into the lava for the last time, the sheer joy from Niftski’s voice tells you all that hard work has paid off.

“IT HAS FINALLY BEEN DONE! THE 55 BARRIER IS NO LONGER. Huge thanks to everyone who has supported me on this journey. This was my 2nd run ever on this pace into 8-4, so I am blessed to say I finished it out. This is a time I can be proud of for the rest of my life. Also, I don’t plan on stopping here! ;)”

I have a hard enough time jumping on Goomba’s properly, so Niftski’s speedrun is a sight to behold, with each movement being executed with precision.  What’s also interesting is Niftski uses a keyboard to play.  The original NES controller is pretty uncomfortable by today’s standards, but I couldn’t imagine using anything other than that.  I guess if you are going to be playing Mario Bros. as much as these guys do though, comfort is key.

Now, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if anyone can beat this new record.  Will we be waiting weeks or years to find out?  I hope for Niftski’s sake it’s a very long time.

Drink Your Way Through the 7 Kingdoms With the GoT Iron Anniversary IPA

Game of Thrones IPA
(IG/Mikkelerbeer)

Game of Thrones is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its premiere on HBO, and if there’s one great way to celebrate an Iron Anniversary (or any anniversary, to be fair), it’s beer. And Danish brewery Mikkeller is ON IT, collaborating with the fine people of Westeros and HBO to produce a “Game of Thrones” Iron Anniversary IPA.

 

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This is the first in a series of “Game of Thrones” beers brewed in partnership with the folks at Warner Bros, so if an IPA isn’t your thing, maybe they’ll release a Night King stout or a Targaryen White Ale, or maybe a red ale to memorialize that one wedding everyone loved.

The point is, soon you will be able to channel your inner-Tyrion and drink your way through the Seven Kingdoms. And if you have enough of them, you’ll forget the divisive last season ever happened, and you’ll remember the good old days of Thrones, when it was one of the best shows on TV.

It was truly revolutionary, and it’s not their fault that George R.R. Martin wrote a brilliant story that even he couldn’t finish. If you stumble at the end, shouldn’t you still get credit for the great years before it?

Either way, the Iron Anniversary IPA will transport you back to a simpler time, when you could actually discuss a hit show around a water cooler, and not over Zoom.

“We have done a lot of collaborations, but this is without a doubt the biggest so far, and we are extremely proud and happy to get this opportunity,” the brewery founder said.

The first beer, and merch, will be available starting on April 17, with more beers and lagers to come later this year.

WOW: Owen Wilson Has Said “Wow” 81 Times in 27 Movies

Owen Wilson Says Wow 81 Times
(YouTube/Owenergy)

When the Loki trailer came out last week, fans were excited. The ‘correcting the timeline’ concept has a lot of potential for fun hijinks, there were potentially huge easter eggs in the trailer alone (Black Widow?), and Owen Wilson has a major role.

Wilson was a big deal for a while before some personal issues got in the way of his career, and while he hadn’t totally disappeared before Loki, this is his first high-profile gig in a while and his first for TV. He looks like he’s having fun as Loki’s foil, Mobius, the Time Variance Authority agent tasked with managing the God of Mischief, and it will be a blast to see him, and his mustache, on Disney+ this summer.

There was one thing missing from the trailer though: his signature wow.

Much like Keanu‘s “whoa,” the word “wow” has become associated with Owen Wilson over his years as a movie star, and Screen Rant has broken down exactly why: the actor has said the word 81 times in 27 movies over the course of his career! He’s been in 52 movies, and frankly, it’s a little shocking that he hasn’t said it in every single one, but 27 out of 52 is 51.9% (Screen Rant did the math), so it’s pretty common.

Apparently, he says “wow” the most in… the Woody Allen movie he appeared in Midnight In Paris (and which Tom Hiddleston costars). He says it seven times in that movie, as he interacts with long-dead literary heroes from days past, which I suppose warrants some shock. Hopefully, some of the stuff Loki gets up to in the forthcoming Disney+ MCU series will elicit a few wows from our man too. They won’t count towards his movie tally, but they’ll be fun just the same.

Check out Mr. Wilson in action before he hits Disney+ this summer:

Father Figures: The Small Things

“This is my husband and daughter. As you can see, the love they have for each other has not changed.

I remember asking my husband as we were getting to know each other many moons ago, ‘What is one thing you want in your life that you don’t have?’ His answer was immediate, ‘A daughter.’

Who knew I would end up being the lucky gal to give that to him?

He is a wonderful father to three children, but she is our only daughter. He’s the kind of dad that knows and cares enough to pay attention to the small things.

When she’s cranky every month, he goes to the store and buys her favorite chocolate, a Coke and some Midol and then retreats to a safe distance for survival. Then, when she feels better, she still crawls into his lap and hugs him.

She will know how a man is supposed to treat a woman, not only because of how well he treats her, but she also sees how he treats her mother.”

– Christina Miller

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]