Forget about CGI. Concrete flooring artists can produce amazing special effects without computer animation by simply using a combination of stains and dyes and some creative application techniques. Just check out this mesmerizing decorative concrete floor at The Nest in Wilmington, N.C., which was treated with various colors of acetone dye and semi-transparent stain.

“The Nest is an upscale home decor shop located in a high-end area of Wilmington. The owner loved the low maintenance of stained floors, but he wanted his to be unique. So I said, ‘Let’s make it come alive,’” says staining contractor John Jarvis of Carve Surfaceworks.

Jarvis brought the 4,000-square-foot floor to life by using H&C acetone dye stain in the color Spanish Dagger on one side and H&C semi-transparent stain in Obsidian on the other. Both products are designed to be used in tandem to achieve faux layered looks and unique color accents. “We played with the mix ratios and would spray a little dye and spray a little water mist to disperse the black stain,” says Jarvis, about the process he used to achieve this look. To enhance the color and protect the floor from wear, he sealed the surface with a clear, high-gloss urethane sealer.

Because this was an existing concrete floor, a lot of painstaking prep work was required before Jarvis could begin the staining work. “It was a terrible floor to prep. It had vinyl tile, ceramic tile, and carpet in some areas. It also had red floor paint. We had to grind really deep to clean the substrate,” he says. To prevent the water-based stain from soaking too deeply into the profiled surface, Jarvis presealed the floor with a paver sealer and then let it dry before applying the stain.

This was the first floor Carve Surfaceworks completed using H&C products, and it proved to be a big success, both for the floor owner and for Jarvis. “This floor has sold more floors than any other type of advertising we do,” he says.

Concrete contractor

John Jarvis
Carve Surfaceworks, Carolina Beach, N.C.

Materials and equipment used

Concrete dye: H&C acetone dye stain (Spanish Dagger)
Concrete stain: H&C semi-transparent stain (Obsidian)
Paver sealer: H&C water-based paver sealer
Floor sealer: H&C high-performance industrial clear coat
Floor grinder: Mongrel propane floor grinder

Submit your own project photos

See more concrete floor color options

Find a Contractor By City