How to Stain Concrete to Look Like Wood

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how to stain concrete to look like wood

If you have concrete floors, you know how uninspiring they can be. Unless you have a heavily contemporary or minimalist look for your home, concrete won’t be the best option. 

If you don’t want to remove your concrete floors, there are ways to warm them up. One of the best methods for this is to stain them to look like wood. 

With a little bit of extra care and craftsmanship, you can create incredibly realistic looking wood patterns. 

Not only will this give the room some extra warmth, it will also protect the floors. By taking the time to do it correctly, you can be sure your wood patterns will last for years. 

In this article, we have laid out the process for staining concrete to look like wood. Following these steps can take your concrete floors to the next level and create the feel you want. 

Staining Concrete to Look Like Wood: Basic Idea

Staining concrete to look like wood is a relatively simple process. To do it correctly, you need to: 

  • Fill in the Concrete 
  • Install a Thin Concrete Layer 
  • Put in the Grain 
  • Stain and Polish the Concrete

Why Stain Concrete to Look Like Wood?

why stain concrete to look like wood

While concrete floors can be very durable and give your home a contemporary look, they’re not for everyone. 

One of the issues with concrete floors is that they don’t feel very inviting. This is one of the main reasons people choose to go with hardwood or laminate

Concrete floors are also incredibly difficult to remove once they have been laid. 

If you want to remove them, you will need to jackhammer them, which can be a big upheaval. It will also be fairly expensive. 

Staining the floors to look like wood is a simple, inexpensive solution. With a few materials and patience, you can completely revamp the look of your home. 

Fill in Joints and Cracks 

The first thing you will want to do when staining concrete floors is to fill in the gaps. 

When concrete is laid, it will often have joints or seams. It may also develop cracks after many years and these will need to be sealed up to get a cohesive look. 

You can seal up the joints using an epoxy and quartz mixture. This will not only be solid, it will also dry relatively clear. 

Apply the mixture using a squeeze bottle. Let it settle and then top it off to make it level with the floors. 

Allow this mixture to dry overnight before you move onto the next step. 

Lay a Thin Concrete Layer 

Concrete is best stained when it is relatively wet. Because of this, you will have to lay a new, thin layer of concrete over your old one. 

When doing this, don’t worry about making the surface too smooth. 

Wood has a fairly rough, uneven surface that is usually polished with varnish. You will do the same with the concrete, so making the surface slightly rough is ideal. 

Put in the Grain

Before the concrete dries, you will want to lay down your grain streaks. 

Put a mixture of dark brown stain and water into a squeeze bottle. Mix it thoroughly and don’t let it separate. 

Then, lay down stain lines in your thin concrete layer. Keep these stain lines one to two feet apart so they will mimic the look of actual wood grain. 

Then, with a rounded trowel, scrape over your stain streaks. You will notice that they begin to look like the grain of wood and spread out over the concrete. 

Do this throughout the entire floor and let the concrete dry. This should take anywhere from 48 to 72 hours. 

Stain and Seal the Floor 

After the concrete has dried you can then stain it and seal it. 

Find a concrete stain that suits your particular taste. Make sure you apply it to an inconspicuous area before moving onto the rest of the floor. 

Apply the stain using a sprayer in long, even strokes. Allow it to dry for 48 hours before sealing the floor. 

To seal, use a glossy epoxy on a roller. Apply two to three coats of the epoxy and let it dry thoroughly. 

The epoxy will give your floor an even, textured look that perfectly mimics the feel of wood flooring. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

faq how to stain concrete to look like wood

  • Can you change the color of concrete?

You can change the color of dried concrete using concrete stain. 

These stains are designed specially to cling to a smooth surface. They are also made to last for many years and won’t fade with time. 

  • Is it better to paint or stain concrete?

Staining concrete is always your best option. Paint will only sit on the surface of the concrete but will not seep into the pores. 

Concrete stain will penetrate the surface and last for a lot longer. 

  • Do you have to sand concrete before staining?

You can sand concrete before staining it, but it is not a requirement. 

If you want a smooth surface, sanding is your best bet. However, if you like the texture of your concrete, the stain will stick just fine. 


Staining concrete in a wood pattern is a great way to keep your home looking and feeling inviting. If you have concrete floors, the good news is that you aren’t stuck with them and can make changes. 

By following the above steps, you can get yourself the flooring you want with less expense and trouble. 

Photo of author


Michael J. O’Connor is a writer and marketing specialist from the Bay Area of California. A graduate of Sonoma State’s Creative Writing program, he spent many years as a contractor and carpet layer, learning the ins and outs of flooring and general contracting. When he’s not typing away at his desk, he enjoys hiking with his dogs, woodworking and collecting rare books. See full biography here.

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