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, 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 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 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.