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?
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.