Thursday, August 10, 2017

How do I prep new and smooth concrete for sealing?

Q. -  I have a new (3 month old) concrete basement floor that I would like to seal.  I do not want to stain the floor, just seal it.  What prep work is required other than cleaning the floor to use Clear Shield concrete sealer?  Does the floor need to be etched? It has a relatively smooth trowel finish.
Thanks, Matt



A. -  Essentially it just needs to be clean and dry. However, how smooth or how porous the concrete is directly effects how well the sealer can bond and hold that bond. That's why many sealers and also acrylic stains etc., tell you to etch the concrete first. They're trying to get the concrete as open and porous as possible so their product will have a better chance at not peeling up. Clear Shield Premium was designed to bite into the concrete, which is one reason it outperforms most others. Though Clear Shield sealers are usually put on concrete that has been acid stained (or a broom finish etc.), which means the concrete was lightly etched. So while I don't want to steer you away from acid washing, you may be able to just go over it with a rented floor buffing machine using the aggressive stripping pads and open the pores up enough to be sufficient. If you do decide to acid wash it, then use 1 part muriatic acid to 5 parts water and spray that on and allow to dry. Even though you're not staining the concrete, if you use any kind of acid washing or etching product, you will still have to neutralize it after it has dried (with 4 to 6 ounces of ammonia to 1 gallon of water sprayed on) and rinse it really well a couple of times, just as you would if staining it. If you don't neutralize the acid then the sealer won't be able to hold its bond no matter how rough you got the concrete.

So, it's up to you. The buffer with the black stripping pads will work well so long as you go over it well a few times. You could use T.S.P. (tri-sodium-phosphate (phosphate free of course)) and water with the scrubber and the rinse really well a couple of times and that should do it. Though acid etching is also a fine option and may be a bit less work while opening the pores up a bit better.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

How do I fix whiteness or cloudiness in my sealer?

The whiteness is moisture that's trapped. You need to open the sealer so the moisture can escape. If it's in the top surface of the sealer then acetone and a rag or scrub brush will open it enough. If it's deeper in the sealer then you'll need something stronger such as Xylene, Touline, or Xylol. The chemical will open up the sealer rather easily and so long as the air is warm and dry then the moisture will escape and the sealer will then dry back down clear.

Acetone is typically used when there's just a few small spots or small areas with moisture trapped in the surface of the sealer. A little scrubbing with a rag or brush will open up the surface enough and allow the moisture to escape and then dry back down clear.

Xylene is typically used when there's a major amount of moisture trapped and/or the moisture is deep, for instance, if the 2nd coat of sealer was applied before the first coat had completely dried clear, or if applied too heavily, or if applied during very high humidity thereby trapping the moisture deep into the sealer. If the moisture is over a major part of the area but it's trapped in the surface and not deep, simply spraying the xylene onto the surface will do it because the xylene will quickly open the sealer up and encourage the moisture to escape and then dry back down clear. This works many times for moisture trapped deep as well.

If just spraying on Xylene doesn't work, then you'll need to use scrub brushes with the xylene and strip the sealer off, so you can begin again.

Remember that if the temperature is cold or the humidity is high then that slows and/or prohibits the moisture from escaping. However, if it's very hot then the sealer wants to dry back down quicker, perhaps faster than the moisture can escape. So what you want is a warm temp and low humidity as best as you can get it. The humidity is the primary concern. 40% to 50% is a good range, lower is better, but 60% is pushing it and 65% to 70% is a deal breaker. For ideal temps, think tropical. 70 to 80 degrees is great, 90 to 95 or so on the high side is about it, and on the low side, 60 degrees is ok but 50 degrees is pushing it and 45 is absolutely the lowest.

If you just need to spot scrub only for smaller areas, then after it's dry you may want to apply a bit more sealer and feather it out to smooth it out. You'll know once it's dry.

For areas that are just sprayed, you likely won't need to apply any more sealer. Unless you have dry or patchy looking areas once it's dried. Then you'd need to do another overall coat.

For areas that are scrubbed and the sealer is stripped off, you'd need to do 2 coats as you'd be resealing from scratch.

Acetone and Xylene (Xylene, Xylol, Touline) are flammable and aromatic hazardous products but they are overwhelmingly what we've heard works best through the years. You can of course try using safer alternatives such as citrus strippers etc., regardless of what you use though, be sure and read all instructions, warnings, cautions and complete labels. Familiarize
yourself with the products you're using and ensure plenty of ventilation and common sense and keep your work environment safe and productive.

I hope this helps,

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Advice for stripping and re-staining a commercial break room

    Q. -   Hello, we are using artist grade concrete camouflage on a commercial employee lounge. After using a gray finish, sealing and waxing, we have decided we would like to go back and use an additional, more brown stain in addition to the gray for a mottled look. We intend to start again and re-buff with the concrete floor sander to remove
the sealer/wax and hopefully open the pours a bit more. This area will have lots of traffic and cafeteria chairs slid around daily. I would like advise on best prep, application this time around. Also, what is the no-fail way to finish off at the door entry? We put tape across the first time but the sealer is now peelable where the tape line is. Thanks! 
    A. -   It sounds like you know what you're doing. I'll offer some thoughts however, on each subject.

All the sealer must be removed, including in the pores of the concrete for the stain to be able to get in and work properly. Sanding is a good idea, but you would likely want to strip the wax prior to sanding to remove as much as you can. You can use a citrus stripper, glue or paint remover or solvents such as Xylene. Xylene works the fastest and easiest but is highly
flammable and aromatic.
You can find many more instructions and tips by visiting the blog archives and typing in the search bar: sealer

Once you have it stripped and cleaned up, do a final clean with TSP and rinse a couple of times and allow to fully dry.
Because of the intense wear it will receive you need to bare in mind that sealer takes 7 days to fully cure. Any foot traffic on the sealer prior to the 7 days will degrade it's life as the weight of the person compresses the sealer and twisting and sliding of feet can weaken the sealers bond to the concrete. So, once you have applied both coats of sealer or however many
coats you're doing, allow the sealer to cure as many of those 7 days as you can before allowing anyone to enter the room. In typical applications it's not a big deal but with the kind of abuse your setting offers, I'd try to gain every advantage I could. Also, because of the chairs, I would ensure that there are felt pads on the leg bottoms and I would apply 4 initial coats of wax. Allow each coat to dry until completely clear and at least for an hour before applying the next coat. After applying all the coats of wax let the wax cure for at least overnight and preferably 24 hours. Then it's just properly maintaining  the floor. Don't use anything harsh to clean it as it could strip the wax. Instead, the floor should be cleaned with mild detergents such as Dove or Ivory dish soaps. Dawn dish soap is a degreasing soap and shouldn't be used. With time, as the floor starts to scuff and dull, it's time to apply a fresh coat of wax.

In regards to the peeling edge at the door, the sealer is peeling there for the same reason that fingernail polish chips and peels at the edge of the nail. The acrylic stops at a blunt edge and so the wear on the edge is tremendous. There's no sure thing trick for that. You could cut an 1/8" deep line in the concrete at the edge so the sealer can roll over into the line. The sealer wouldn't come to a blunt edge stop, as it rolls over the edge and into the cut. That should help a lot and may even be the magic fix but there's no guarantee. The only other things you can do would be to put a thin thresh hold strip or place a mat there.

Here's some links to help you out.
Free Videos to watch, Full Audio CD & Downloadable Segments
Written Instructions & Tips
Blog with recent posts
Complete Blog with Searchable Archives
Color chart page which shows all the colors and their approximate color outcome

I hope this helps,

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

How do I remove sealer and wax from my floor so I can refinish it?

   Q.-  I have a floor that was done some time ago and I have 2 dogs. The stain is ok but the sealer and wax is totally scratched up. So I am going to need to get back down to concrete.  And reclean and  reseal and rewax. I have 1400 sqft.  What is the best method to strip back down to concrete?

    A. -  The wax, if there is any left, will come up with the sealer. You can remove sealers by using a citrus stripper, xylene, a paint stripper or our Concrete Stain Prep. Xylene would work the fastest and easiest but it's very flammable and aromatic which means needing lots of ventilation and turning off gas and pilot lights, etc., but it's what many contractors use. A citrus stripper or our CSP would still need ventilation but would be much less aromatic. Though it would take a bit more work, it's how most homeowners go.

Essentially, you're going to put the product you choose liberally onto the floor and allow it to sit and eat into the sealer (CSP/ citrus strippers about 20 minutes and xylene a few minutes), adding more as needed to ensure it doesn't dry. Then you'll use a straw scrub brush to scrub and break up the sealer, then using a wide painter's shield that's on a broom handle and acts as a huge scraper, you'll drag the sealer into a pile to pick it up with a square point shovel and put into a bucket for disposal.
Remember that whatever product you use, the two secrets are 1: the amount of time you allow it to sit, and 2: using a stiff straw scrub brush

Work in sections and work your way out, repeat the process as needed to complete the removal and clean up of the sealer and wax. Then let it dry and settle down. Once it's dry you can wash it with t.s.p.(tri-sodium-phosphate) or soap and water. Rinse with clean water a couple of times, changing the water  often, and allow to completely dry. Then you're ready to reseal and re-wax.

Since you have dogs I would recommend that you put 4 or 5 initial coats of wax to build up a thicker barrier and help keep any nail scratches from going into the sealer. So long as they're only in the wax, then a fresh coat of wax repairs them quickly and easily. And if you ever do need to remove the wax it's much simpler and less expensive than having to remove sealer. With our wax remover it's just a light scrub and mop.

I hope this helps,

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Should I acid stain or paint my patio/porch?

Q. -  We are planning to stain our outside deck and a covered porch. I pressure washed both this weekend and found some areas of concern. I have attached pictures for you. The bleached out area has been under a hot tub for about 9 years so I know the concrete around it is just weathered differently. The other two areas appear to be stained. The larger area has been under a Rubbermaid storage box and the smaller under a rubber door mat. I have not tried TSP on either area yet. I wanted to see if you felt like these ares would cause us to consider painting versus staining the deck due to the color variation that may result after staining.
Thanks for helping us with this.

Hello Jeff
A. -  If you use paint or acrylic stain (which is the same thing) then it will peel eventually and become a mess to correct. So I would always try acid staining first. If it doesn't work out you can easily paint over it if you choose and the acid in the stain would have actually opened the pores better allowing a paint on product to take better. However, if you paint or acrylic stain first then the prep will include scrubbing, scraping, stripping products, possibly sanding and alot of work to get it ready to acid stain. If you acid stain it, you can always use a second coat on the light areas, or do a highlight coat with the same color or a darker color over it all to blend it better. And depending on the color you use it may just surprise you how well it looks with just one coat overall. Anyway, acid staining is always your best first choice if at all possible.

Friday, February 13, 2015

What are my chances of getting good results on my floor using acid stain?

Q. -  How comfortable we could be to obtain a good looking gym with the acid stain as I read it may not give the same color everywhere. Will the result be better by using professionals to do it? Thanks.
Hello Marc
A. -  Acid stain works by chemically reacting with the minerals that are allready present in your concrete. So regardless of who applies it, it is going to be the color it's going to be. Pro's will have experience, technique and expertise unique to each one, so I can't say that a pro wouldn't be a better option to achieve the exact look that you're after, but I can say that you can certainly stain your own concrete with confidence and great results.
In regards to how well it will work in your particlar situation... There's no product in existence that works out perfectly 100% of the time for 100% of users. There's just too many variables in the real world. Acid stain however, is always the best route with concrete. If you're in the 99+% that it works great for, then you have an awesome looking concrete surface with extremely low maintenance and you did it on the cheap. If you're in the less than 1% that staining concrete doesn't work out for, then you can still cover it however you like as acid staining doesn't get in the way of other products, and you didn't spend a bundle on something that was worth a try but didn't pan out.
I hope this helps,
800 650 1157

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How do I fix some spots that didn't take the stain well?

Ask a Pro

  Q.-  In prepping for stain I sanded the floor with a commercial floor sander, mopped with TSP, removed excess paint from over sprayed wall paint with buffer, scrubbed floor with TSP and rinsed floor with clean water 3 times. Allowed floor 20 hours to dry and applied first coat of stain with second coat of stain applied 4 hours after that. Stain appears to have taken well except in two areas; one, the size of a baseball, appears to be repelling the stain completely. The other, the size of a basketball, hasn't accepted the stain as well as the rest of the concrete. The clean mop water penetrated the entire area to be stained, never indicating that a clear barrier may be present to block the stain. Is there anything that may be done?
Hello Byron
  A.-  It may be that another coat is.....

Continue Reading Here 

Friday, November 15, 2013

How do I get a gloss look on my overlayed floor?

Ask a Pro

Q. -  We had our concrete floor family room textured with an overlayment about 3 weeks ago. The floor polish which was put on is a water-based acrylic polish which is mopped on. I am not happy with the satin finish. I think now that I would like it more glossy.
Can I put one of your products over the floor to make it more glossy? The contractor is not giving me straight answers about what I can do because he says there are too many variables.
Thank you for any assistance you can give.
Hello Charmagne
A. -  You can apply Top Shield Floor Wax by Concrete Camouflage which will give it the gloss. Be sure and do a small test area first before doing the entire floor just to be sure.
Earl Choate Ph.D.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Do I need to wax my stained concrete?

Ask a Pro

Q. -  Hi , do i need to wax it after i sealed it ? or can i just seal it without waxing ? thank you
Hello tam

A. –  If it's inside then yes, you need to wax it after sealer. If it's outside, then its optional.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Is acid stained floors slippery?

Ask a Pro
Q. -  How slippery is the floor after you have done all the steps? I want to do this over my whole house but I am afraid it may be too slick - especially in the bathroom. Could you add any grit to the sealer?
Hello Alex

A. -  It isn't very slippery at all when using Concrete Camouflage products. The acid stain doesn't sit on top. It changes the surface color. The sealer goes on very thin. The Top Shield floor wax has traction additives built in. You can add the traction additive to the sealer if you like but it's really not necessary. Of course any concrete can be slippery when wet but with the floor wax, which was designed for commercial application and has traction qualities built right in, is much less slippery than most other waxes.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

How do I get the more smooth and marbelized look?

Ask a Pro
Q -   I have looked at all your pictures and some concrete shows more of a textured look and other looks marbled. I would like to know how, if possible, to make mine look marbled and smooth.

Hello Carly

A -  The more marblized look comes from smooth interior concrete naturally. The more stone like look comes from rough or broom finished exterior concrete. Also, adding enough coats of sealer to ensure a good even look and then applying the wax smooths it out too.

I hope this helps,


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Why does my sealer blush out when it rains on it and then dry back clear?

Ask a Pro

Hi Earl,
Hope you are well. I watched all the videos, asked you a ton of questions and ordered the artist grade interior stain kit. My project involved smooth concrete on a porch covered by an awning. On the website I did not see a specific difference between the products for interior and exterior projects. I have stained the porch with Riverstone, neutralized thoroughly and put on my first coat of sealer. We have had tons of rain so I am waiting for the opportunity to put down the second coat of sealer. The first coat of sealer is more shiny than expected but not bad-the Riverstone color is perfect! I was very careful to put down a thin coat of the sealer.
The sealer dried for a couple of days before the next rainstorm. The awning is not up now (but will be soon) and when it rained the porch got very wet. I noticed some small pooling and where the rain pooled, it looked like fresh sealer, kind of blue and milky white. I left the areas alone and the rain dried and everything looks fine. Is this normal? Does this mean the sealer is not completely dry yet? It provided a great surface, not slick and it isn't sticky-maybe the humidity could be affecting it? It will be at least a week before I am able to put on the second coat of sealer...
Along with the interior kit I received the wax which I ordered in a matte finish. In an earlier response you suggested waxing the porch since it is covered. How long should I wait to wax after applying the second coat of sealer?
I am very pleased with the Concrete Camouflage product line and my porch looks great! Just want to make sure I am doing everything correctly.
Thanks for your time (again!),
Please take a look at our article on blotchy sealer issues.
I hope this helps,

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How do I protect a design in my concrete when I stain the concrete around it?

Ask a Pro

  Q. -  I have scored and stained a pattern in my broomed concrete. We love it so much we have decided we want to also stain the area outside of the pattern. The problem is with broomed roughness, masking tape does not stick well. I have thought of covering pattern with rubber while I stain outside area. The pattern has been sealed but have read stain can discolor sealer. Any suggestions how I can stain outside area without ruining pattern? Note we really want to spray, not brush, to get the natural look. Thanks!
Hello Sean
  A. -  Stop by your local hobby store. Pick up some poster board, 3M spray glue, a can of spray gloss and a roll of packaging tape. Cut the poster board to fit/cover the design, then remove it and spray the poster board with the gloss and allow to completely dry. Then spray the 3M glue along the edges on the bottom. Stick the poster board down about a 1/16" to 1/8" back from the edge. Tape the edges with the packaging tape and rub it down really well with your thumb. Tape any seams/overlaps where the sections of posterboard meets itself to seal it.
When you spray on the stain, spray straight down rather than at an angle. Instead of spraying one heavy saturating coat, spray a light coat - allow to dry and then another light coat, then another if needed. After the stain has sit for the appropriate drying/reaction time, use some rags to wipe any wet stain off the poster board if there is any. Then neutralize and rinse off the stain from the entire area. Remove the poster board. Rinse everything down again if needed. Allow to dry and then apply your sealer.
I hope this helps,
800 650 1157
Earl Choate, Ph.D.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New Concrete Prep

Ask a Pro

Q. -  I am wanting to stain newly poured concrete. What to I need to know and is there anything I need to tell the contractor finishing concrete?
How long does it need to cure? Can I just hose off with water hose? etc. etc.
Hello Cindy
A. -  Tell him to finish it smooth but not too tight. Let it cure for 28 days before staining. Go over it with a floor buffing machine with the aggressive scrubber pads during clean and prep to help open up the pores.
Here's some links to help you out. Free Videos to watch, Full Audio CD & Downloadable Segments Complete Blog with Searchable Archives. Color chart page which shows all the colors and their approximate color outcome.
I hope this helps,
Earl Choate Ph.D.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Can I stain concrete that has Fibermesh in it?

Ask a Pro
  Q. -  The concrete floor has fiberglass reinforcement will there be any issues with using your staining product? Since it is a new floor do I still have to use TSP to clean it or just was with clean water and apply stain? Thank you.
Hello Michael
  A. -  It should be fine. People stain concrete with Fibermesh all the time. T.S.P. is a really strong soap that deep cleans into the pores of the concrete. It is advised because the stain has to get into the pores to work well. Also, if your floor is really tight(slick) you should use a floor buffing machine with an aggressive scrubber pad to help open the pores. You'll know if you need it by doing the water test. Pour some water on it and observe whether it soaks right in, or just sits there a while or beads up.
I hope this helps