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.