Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Using concrete stain and skim coat on basement walls

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Q. - I would like to skim coat a very dry basement wall to get rid of the concrete form lines and then finish with artist grade concrete stain. I do not work with concrete so I would appreciate any advice.  Also, what would you recommend to give the project a very nice finished look?
thanks
 
Hello Wes,
 
A. -  While the supplier of the skim coat should be able to give you most all the info you need on the skim coating process, I can offer a couple of thoughts. Be sure that use a pool trowel. It has rounded corners so as to not leave lines and allowing you to get a smoother finish overall. Also, depending on which kind you use, it can dry quickly, so be aware of the skim coats drying time, and finally, be sure to prepare the wall well. Whether it be with a grinder, or sandblast, or sand, or whatever, and also discuss using a bonding agent with the skim coat supplier.
 
   As for the concrete stain, it will be simple. Spray it on as you would a floor, but be sure someone is following behind with a soft bristle brush. Lightly brushing in a circular motion to take out any runs as you go. Be sure to consider where the water will be going when you neutralize and wash the walls down. Of course you can attempt to carefully mop the walls with mops, and/or sponges/rags. Be aware that though it is best to wash the walls down well, the wash off water will still have the capacity to stain, so again, carefully consider all steps before beginning.
 
   We recommend you seal it with Clear Shield Advanced water base decorative concrete sealer, giving the concrete a nice natural satin finish to it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

How cold can it be when I stain my basement?

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Q. - Does the concrete need any special care if the weather is cold? Will the concrete staining drying time need to be adjusted or should I use space heaters? I am staining my basement. Thanks

Hello Beth,
A. - If the weather is cold, then yes it could take longer for drying times. However, if you have the ability to keep the room temperature regulated as you suggest then it shouldn't be too much concern. Bare in mind that you have to consider both the air temperature and concrete surface temp. just be sure that you let the concrete dry completely between stages. 
 
   What You may consider doing is to use the heaters to warm the basement to nice and cozy while you are cleaning it and allowing it to dry.
  • Turn off the heaters prior to and while applying the stain so as to not have any hot spots, but still a nice warm room and floor.
  • After the stain has completely dried, then you can turn the heaters back on while neutralizing and mopping the residue and allowing it to dry.
  • Then again, turn off the heaters prior to and during sealing. Allow the sealer to dry completely.
  • Then you can again turn on the heaters and bring the room up to nice and warm in order to apply the wax.
  • Remember that all products have a minimum application temp of 40 degrees F. 
I hope this helps.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How Long Before I Can Stain? Should I Seal?

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Q. - How long should I wait before staining new exterior concrete? Is a particular type best for exterior? This is for a sidewalk we will drive our Ranger on. I do not plan to seal it, will it hold up.

Hello Sandy,

A. - You should wait for 28 days, or until the concrete has cured to one uniform color, whichever comes first.
Concrete Acid Stain such as Concrete Camouflage brand of stains, are permanent stains. Such as wood stain is to wood. It is the best to use.
The concrete stain will hold up fine without the concrete being sealed. However, the surface of the concrete will still be exposed to the elements and traffic which will eventually wear away at the concrete's surface. As the stain is a surface treatment, if the surface of the concrete wears away, then the concrete stain will go with it. If you don't expect allot of traffic or harsh elements then the stain should last for many years and possibly a lifetime without the need for any maintenance. If you expect allot of traffic or harsh weathering, such as harsh sunlight or acid rains, etc., then you may want to reconsider sealing it. With the new Clear Shield Advanced by Concrete Camouflage, you get the natural colors with a satin finish.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Camouflage Concrete Patches When Using Concrete Stain

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Q. - I am interested in applying concrete stain to an existing garage floor that is porous. I have applied a concrete patching/leveling substance to several areas. The substance has dried a different color than my existing concrete. Is this a problem? Thanks

 
Hello Bill,
A. - Patching almost always stains a different color than the concrete slab. Unless you decide to finish resurfacing the entire floor and then stain it, you need to make a small sample test board. You can use plywood or even stiff cardboard. Trowel on some of the patch material you used on the concrete and allow to cure out for a day or so, until it has cured to one uniform color. Stain the test board, doing a section of 1 coat and a section of 2 coats, as well as a section of the stain diluted with water 1:1. Also do a small test section on the slab of concrete in an out of the way place, like a closet or corner. After you have allowed the concrete stain to dry completely, washed off the residue and apply the sealer to the test board and allowed to dry. Then you can wash down the test area on the slab and allow it to begin to dry. Once the test area has dried down to being just damp, you can compare the test board to see which is closer.
   If none of the patches blend well enough then you can try using a different stain color, or using multiple colors either in conjunction with scoring in a pattern that will itself also help camouflage the areas, or just by using a light color first, allowing to dry and then misting a darker color over.
   Let us know if you need further assistance.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What about cracks?

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Q. - I Have a couple of concrete slabs I would like to stain that were poured a couple of months ago.  Of course, they have cracked, is there concrete patch that you recommend that will be able to stain or will not stick out too much when stained?
Hello Robert,
A. -  If you have hairline cracks only (too small to stick a nickel or dime into), then you should leave them alone. The sealer should seal them off and they will only ad character to the slab.
   If they are larger cracks and must be filled then be aware that any patch material will stain differently from the concrete. Therefore the best course of action is to try out a few different patch materials that you can buy locally, to see which is a closer match, or which can have a second coat applied to bring it to a closer match.
 
   You will do this by making small sample test boards. You can use plywood or even stiff cardboard. Trowel on some patch material and allow to cure out for a day or so, until it has cured to one uniform color. Stain each test board, doing a section of 1 coat and a section of 2 coats on each, and also a small test section on each slab of concrete. After you have allowed the concrete stain to dry completely, have washed off the residue, applied the sealer to the test boards, and allowed them to dry, then you can wash down the test areas on the slabs and allow them to begin to dry. Once the test areas have dried down to being just damp, you can compare the test boards to see which will work best.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Flaking Sealer on Concrete Stain Floor

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Q.- My floor is stained and has the acrylic finish on it. At the entry door from outside it is flaking in an area about 2x3 with some other areas. How do I fix that? It looks terrible.

A.- When sealer flakes it is usually either because the concrete was not dry enough when it was applied, there is a current moisture issue, or because the stain had not been properly neutralized before applying the sealer. The following procedure will cure whichever it was. However, if there is an existing and ongoing moisture issue then it should be addressed as well.
Important: Be sure to read all labels on all products, including warnings, before opening and/or using.
In order to take care of the sealer flaking. First strip any wax with Simple Green or a Commercial Wax Stripper. Allow to completely dry.
Next, ensure you have plenty of ventilation and turn off all heat sources and or pilot lights as well as any gas of course. Then use a stiff straw scrub brush on a broom handle (you can purchase one at Concrete Camouflage if you can't find one local, as most places don't carry them) it is very important that you use a stiff straw scrub brush, they are hard to find, but an absolute necessity. I can't stress the importance of the brush enough. Stiff and Straw. Not a straw push broom, a brush.
Anyway, pour some Xylene (this is very flammable) or a Good Citrus Type Stripper onto the concrete and let it sit until the sealer is softened, keeping it wet and moving around and redistributing the Xylene or Stripper as needed. Then pour some more Xylene or Stripper on and begin to scrub the sealer until it reliquifies completely, adding more if needed (don't walk in it). Then use a painters shield or wide scraper ( a painters shield works best) to scrape the sealer into a pile and use a square shovel to scoop it up and place it into a bucket to be carried out. You do not have to get all the sealer up but you should try to get as much as you can. Again, don't walk in it.
Allow it to dry completely. Usually a couple hours or so. Reapply your first coat of sealer. Allow to dry until not sticky. Apply a second coat of sealer. Allow to cure as recommended.
Apply a thin coat of our Top Shield floor wax with a Lamb's wool applicator and a paint pan. Allow to dry about an hour or so. Apply a second thin coat of Top Shield floor wax. Allow to dry overnight.
The floor will now be more beautiful, more scuff resistant, and less slippery than before, and should never flake again so long as there is no moisture issues and the floor/wax is maintained properly. When the floor does start to scuff or dull, simply clean, allow to dry, and apply a fresh coat of wax.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Faux Grout Lines When Concrete Staining

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Q. - When staining a concrete floor is it better to score the concrete or use 1/4 inch tape to create faux grout lines?

Hello Michael,
A.- Scoring the lines will look more realistic. It gives it the separation and the 3D effect to look more real. Just be sure to score them only a 1/16th" to 1/8" deep. If you cut deeper into the concrete you'll create dirt traps. Here's a link with some quick and simple instructions with tips: http://www.concretecamouflage.com/score_concrete.cfm
Taping the lines does works well also, especially if you don't want to use power tools. The lines will have a flatter look as they have no depth for the 3D effect as the scoring does, though it still looks quite good. The trick to taping the grout lines when concrete staining is to use packaging tape. The packaging tape that is kinda clear but thick, like a heavy duty scotch tape, and has the strings running through it. Be sure to really rub the edges of the tape down well and try to spray the stain more directly down, rather than at an angle, over the taped areas.
I hope this helps.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Finally, we've achieved BlastOff!

As special thank you to our followers we’re inviting you to join something that we think is awesome - a new web portal site called BLASTOFF!

This is an "Invitation Only" pre-launch period and we are happy to be able to invite you, our supportive followers.
So check it out, and join the fun!

Removing scratches from waxed concrete stain floors

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Hello Michael,

Q. - How often does the top coat of wax need to be replaced? Also what is the best way to remove animal scratches from one of your waxed floors?


A. - Top Shield mop on floor wax by Concrete Camouflage does not need to be stripped and re-applied like other waxes. Once it needs maintenance, whether it be from scuffing or dulling which usually takes months, to scratching from animals, furniture, etc., simply clean and allow to dry and then apply a fresh coat of Top Shield. This will re-emulsify the wax, thereby effectively erasing or removing any dulling, scuffing, or surface scratching. Typically you should plan on rewaxing every 6 months +/- on higher traffic areas.
You can re-apply Top Shield Floor Wax up to 100 times before you should need to strip it and start over. When you do decide to strip it, use a commercial floor wax stripper which you can usually get from tool and equipment rental stores, or we have been told by the Marines that they use Simple Green. You may want to rent a floor buffing machine to make it quicker and easier, depending on the size of the area to be done.

I hope this helps.

Monday, October 19, 2009

To Seal Stained Floors or Not

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Hello Pattie,


Q.- If I stained my concrete floor and left it rough, would it look bad? Or have you heard of anyone leaving their concrete floor rough and staining over it and how did they like it?

A. - If you leave it rough as in not sealing it and waxing it then it will have a flat look, still like stone but the color will be flatter, along with the surface remaining porous and easier to damage, scratch and stain with unwanted stains.
Sealing and waxing it not only gives it the marble look, it closes off the pores, thereby protecting the floor while making cleaning and maintenance super easy.
Some do leave their stained concrete unsealed and unwaxed but usually only if it is exterior. Though since Concrete Camouflage released the long awaited Clear Shield Advanced Formula Water Base Concrete Sealer, that has a satin finish when unwaxed, and glossy when waxed, those numbers are diminishing.
Any customers that have done so on Interior Concrete Floors usually do decide to go ahead with sealing and waxing for the look and easy clean.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Paint spots needing Camouflaged

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Hello Brandi,
 
We love your product and recommend it to everyone. We stained a whole house floor several months ago. We have a few spots that we got lazy and did not get up all the paint off of the floor before we stained. Is there a way to fix this, can we strip and redo, maybe? Thanks,
 
   If it is just random paint spots and not too many, then the following technique should work fine. For huge areas, let us know and we'll advise as needed.
  • Strip off the wax using either Simple Green, or a Commercial Wax Stripper. Allow to dry.
  • Use water color paints, like found in a children's water color paint book set. Mix the colors to match the area that the paint spot is located. Using the water colors, paint over the spot, being sure to feather it out into the surrounding area. Paint on a second coat if needed. Sometimes using a second coat to add highlighting of a different color that is also found on the floor, can help to more naturally camouflage the area as well. (You could also use a shoe polish in the liquid sponge bottle, if the colors match up correctly.)
  • Allow to dry, and roll on a fresh coat of sealer. This will make the "paint over" look more natural, as it is under the sealer, with everything else.
  • Allow the sealer to cure, and apply two coats of floor wax. The floor wax will not only protect the sealer and make maintenance an inexpensive breeze, but it will also give the floor added depth and luster, to help finalize the camouflaging technique.
I hope this helps.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Exterior Sealer needs to be stripped and redone.

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Hello Maurice,

Q.- Please help me, if you can! I just spent three months of planning, pouring ten yards of concrete, stamping it random stone with a stamped brick around the perimeter. Using your stain and hand staining each stone and brick, I have been overwelmed by how it has been looking, especially after I neutralized the acid and rinsing it, it looked awesome. I was led to believe it would look like this, when wet, after I sealed it. Again it was incredibile. Well, I just sealed it with a $23 a gallon concrete sealer from a local store. I think it looks terrible. It repells water, but the colors are too bright, the stones,I didn't color, I expected to be a grey looking slate, are white. It didn"t change the look like it is wet, but it is water proofed. I don't care, I want it to look like it did after I rinsed it. All of my stones looked so much better than they do now.What can I do?

You should strip the sealer with a citrus stripper, xylene, toulene, or C.S.P.-Stripper by Concrete Camouflage. And then reapply a different sealer.


Be Sure To Read And Follow All Labels On All Products, Including All Directions, Warnings, And Otherwise.
  • Work in sections. Work backwards to avoid walking on it once the stripper has been put on.
  • Pour on the stripper and allow it to sit until it softens the sealer. Keep the stripper wet - do not allow to dry. Spread it around as needed during saturation stage.
  • Once the sealer is softened, pour on some more stripper and start scrubbing with a stiff straw scrub brush as found at www.ConcreteCamouflage.com, and after it is fully re-emulsified (reliquified), then either scrape it together with large painters shields and remove with square edge shovels and buckets, or power wash over the side and then clean up.
  • Allow to dry completely.
Then you should reseal it with a different sealer. We recommend using Clear Shield Advanced - an Advanced Formula Water Base Sealer that was specifically designed for today's decorative concrete and voc regulations, while keeping the end user first in mind. Try a small test area first to be sure you like it before doing the entire area.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Staining Statuary and didn't take

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Hello Thomas,
 
Q.-  The statuary I stained this weekend didn't take much stain. I scrubbed it thoroughly before application. I can't see any prior-applied sealer,but who knows what is on it.  The piece is a 2' tall fluted column. How can I sand, etc., to get it to take a stain?
Thank you

A.-  How does it look if you wet it down? I'm thinking that when it is wet then you may see that the stain did take somewhat. If that is the case then by doing another coat or two may get the color where you want it. Sometimes a contaminant that prevents the stain from taking, will be flushed out by the acid in the first staining, thereby allowing the second coat to take. 
   Also, you can do additional coats to darken it up, so long as it is taking. If you must sand it I would say to use a fine grit either by hand or a belt sander. Another thing, is that if there was a mold release or curing agent present, then that would prevent the concrete stain from taking. If so, then any mold release would definitely have been taken care of with the first coat of stain, though a curing agent would likely still have to be stripped off and/or sanded.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dealing with Control Joints

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Hello Kent,

Q.-  I am getting ready to stain the concrete slab in a sun porch using products from Concrete Camouflage. The slab is divided into 4 pieces by grooves cut in the floor to control cracking. These cuts are about 3/16 inch wide by 2 inches deep. The slab is 5-6 inches thick.
   I plan on cutting some more grooves of the same width and using these with the crack control grooves to create a pattern.  These new grooves will be just deep enough to grout. 1/4 inch or so.
   My question is, what do I use to fill crack control cuts? I assume there will be movement which would cause grout to crack. Can I use a sanded caulk that matches the grout to fill these grooves? I would use backer rod under the caulk.
I understand that the grouting should be done after the first layer of sealer. Would this be the same for the caulk? This implies that I should use a paintable caulk.
A.- You may want to consider using a "Deco-Seal" type product. It is a two part caulk/epoxy type material that goes between a pool deck and its coping at the edge of the pool. It is usually colored to your specification and then finished with a light sanding for texture and appearance. It looks great, stands up well, and is fairly inexpensive. You can fill the deep joints with the same sand that you are going to hand sift on top of the deco-seal before it dries. The only real negative to deco seal is that it may have to be redone every few years or so in open exterior cases.
   You can find it at your local "Contractor" Supply Store(not Home Improvement Store - they won't have it), perhaps through a "Pool Company or Pool Supply Company", or You can check for an Installer to do it for you. They can be found in "The Blue Book" at www.thebluebook.com or in your local directories or papers.
  
You will finish all your grouting and all sealing. Then you will deco seal very last.
 
You may also want to consider just filling the deep joints with sand and then grouting them as well. It may work or not depending on how much movement you get in the ground under the concrete. If you don't get much movement, then all the joints will be filled with the same material and they all match. If you get alot of ground movement, then the grout will break out of the control joints and you can then go ahead and deco seal at that time if need be. But you must decide for yourself.
 
I hope this helps.
  

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Solvent Base Sealer Reseal, and Using Concrete Stencils with Concrete Stains

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Hello Angela,

Q.- The concrete stain and solvent base sealant looks as though they have faded.  I feel I did something wrong, except, it looked great for the first 6 months. Can I restain and then reseal or do I need to take off the sealant and then restain. It still beads up, but looks dull?
A.- It is likely that the solvent base sealer has matted down from traffic. You can clean and reseal. Do a test area first to be sure it is working before doing the entire project.
 To maintain the gloss you may want to consider waxing it with Top Shield mop on Floor Wax by www.ConcreteCamouflage.com which is really an Acrylic Finish or Topcoat for high traffic that has better traction and scuff/dull resistance. It is designed of course for use interior though its UV resistance allows for exterior applications on porches, covered patios, and the such that doesn't get allot of standing water. It will be much easier and much less expensive to freshen up from now on if you do...
 
Q.- ...So I rolled it on with a roller, how many coats do I put on. And how long to dry each coat before the next coat. The concrete is smooth and coarse, it is a front and back porch, so it is both. I love the look, I just want it to shiny, like the driveways I see. Will coarse concrete eventually stop soaking it in and get shiny?
A.- Wait until it is no longer sticky, between coats. Usually a couple hours +/-. After you have added all the coats you intend, do not allow any traffic including foot traffic for 72 hours to achieve the maximum sealer lifespan.
   You will add coats until you like the look. The smoother the concrete the less coats that are needed. Very smooth concrete usually only needs 2 coats. The more porous the concrete, the more coats that are needed.


Hello James,
 
Q.- Does the concrete stencils work well when using concrete stain on existing concrete. Will the stain bleed under the stencil?
A.- The stain will try to bleed under. The best thing is to mist on a few coats spraying from directly above, letting it dry between coats. Avoid doing a saturating coat and/or spraying at an angle.
 
Q.- Does the stencils work better if used when the concrete is first poured. If so, how to stencil concrete and how would I stain then?
A.- It is much better to stencil concrete when it is fresh poured. The concrete stencils were designed for use with fresh poured concrete originally. After you have bull floated and preferably fresno'd the fresh concrete you can lay the concrete stencils and then lightly roll them down with a texture roller, or lightly fresno down.
Attention: Do Not Bury the stencil! Keep it shallow. Allow the concrete to dry until you can just no longer fingerprint it. Pull the concrete stencils up. Do not walk on the concrete crumbs that fall off the stencils. If the stencils start breaking then hurry it up. If the concrete dries too much you will have to chisel out the concrete and stencils. Anyway, blow off the concrete crumbs with a leaf blower and allow the concrete to cure for 28 days or until it has become one uniform light color, whichever comes first.
   After it has cured: Clean the concrete and stain it. The stain will settle into the slightly deeper mortar joints and so the mortar joints will be slightly darker than the stones which will let it look as though the mortar was colored to match the stones but is a bit darker.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Carpet Glue, Sealing Cuts, and Cleaning Concrete

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Hello John,

Q.- Hello, I have just pulled up all my carpet, and carpet pad.  I was wondering what I need to do to prepare it for staining, and if I should do acid stain or acrylic.  What do I use to remove all the pad glue, and the various stains from construction, and then which type, acid or acrylic?
 
A.- Honestly, acrylic stains are only disguised paints which are designed solely to separate you from your cash and nothing more, regardless of what anyone says. If you do decide on acrylics you can make your own which will far exceed any available.
   Acid stains are the only Real concrete stains. As wood stain is to wood. If you cannot use acid stains you should forego staining and go to traditional flooring options. You will be much happier. We spend hours explaining to many people how to remove acrylic stains only for most of them to cover the floor with tile or carpet.
   Anyway, you must remove all glues and contaminants, including out of the pores of the concrete. To do this you can use a heavy duty glue remover or a mastic remover, a citrus stripper, or Toluene, or Xylene. Scrub and strip the area as best you can. Then use a rented commercial floor sander or a floor buffing machine w/sanding disks to lightly sand and finish out the floor. Then do a final clean and rinse and allow to dry.
 
Hello Lisa,
 
Q.- We built a house approximately two years ago and are having finishing issues with the concrete which makes up for approx 4500 square feet of the main floor of our very contemporary home - the floor is riverstone in color, but dull, and I do not believe that it was sealed and I am interested in maintaining it with your wax product as the floor is very dull with no shine.  Further the saw cuts were not sealed - Therefore, I wondered what quantity and products you would recommend.  Would your sealant work for the saw cuts once cleaned so they do not accumulate food and dirt or so I need to get a different type of sealant for those crevices?
 
A.- You can seal the entire floor which will fill the cuts and enhance the colors. If you only want to seal the cuts that is fine but they will look better than the rest of the floor. You should seal the entire floor and then wax it as well. It will stay fresh with very little and very inexpensive maintenance. The amount of materials that you will need.....
 
Hello Lisa,
 
Q.- One last question - cleaning the concrete as we have lived on it for over a year is a major issue - there are a few paint marks, but I want it cleaned as deeply as possible - what procedure and/or products do you recommend for cleaning before I would go to seal and do you carry them?
Thanks again for all of your help.  I am looking forward to getting this started.

A.- Mainly you just need to clean it with T.S.P. and water. T.S.P. or Tri-Sodium-Phosphate is just a really good soap that does really well on cleaning concrete. You can use Xylene to spot scrub any small paint marks.
   What we have available is C.S.P. which is Concrete Stain Prep. It is concentrated so you mix it with water for general cleaning. It will remove fresh or recent paint and glues also. C.S.P. is available in a Strong Degreaser / Cleaner which works great for heavy duty cleaning, and a Stripper for spot scrubbing or removing water base sealers and curing agents.
   Just be sure to use a stiff straw scrub brush as it will work way better than anything else. The brush is available through us and is usually not available locally. Other tools you will need is a paint roller with handle and of course the roller cover for applying the sealer. You will need a Lamb's Wool applicator and a paint pan for applying the wax.

Stamped Concrete, Concrete Countertops, and Cinder Blocks.

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Hello Sue,
Q.- Can you stain over stained stamped concrete?
A.- Yes, so long as the sealer has been completely removed or worn away. You can pour water on to test. If it soaks right in then the stain should also, and if it kinda sits there for a while or beads up, then you may have sealer to remove. You should also do a small test with the stain in an out of the way place to be sure.

Hello Andy,
Q.- A friend and I have cast a concrete concrete counter-top, and are not satisfied with the color. I've suggested staining the concrete, but wanted to ask you if you've had any experience using your stains on counters, and have had any luck with it.
A.- Acid stain, especially Concrete Camouflage artist grade line of acid stain works really well with concrete countertops. Actually we sell quite a bit of stain for countertops.
You should cast a small sample piece if you can to test the color(s) on to ensure you like it before staining the real thing. Especially since they are already colored which will the change the final color and effect of the stain.

Hello Phil,
Q.- I have exterior cinder block walls that I want to stain-can I do it??
A.- You need to ensure that there is no paint, sealer, or other contaminant on the surface or in the pores. Other than that we have seen excellent results with cinder blocks. You may want to stain it only and forego sealing leaving it as a vertical surface in it's natural flat state, or seal it with the New Advanced Formula water base satin finish sealer - Clear Shield Advanced by Concrete Camouflage, but you decide.