Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Help! I'm not happy with the stain color and I sealed it! What should I do?

Ask a Pro
Q. -  Please help if you can. I stained my floor and I'm not happy with the color. The thing is though, I went ahead and sealed it. What can I do to correct it?
Hello Joe,
A. -  You'll have to strip the sealer completely off, then re-stain it, re-seal it, and then wax it. Here's how:
Important: Be sure to read all labels on all products, including all warnings, instructions, and cautions before opening and/or using.
Ensure you have plenty of ventilation and turn off all heat sources and or pilot lights as well as any gas of course.
   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. If you don't use a stiff straw brush it means much more work for you with not near as good of results.
   To strip the sealer you will use Xylene also known as Xylol or Toulene (this is very flammable and aromatic) or you can use a Good Citrus Type Stripper that would be less flammable and aromatic.
   Anyway, pour some Xylene or Stripper onto the concrete, whichever you prefer, and let it sit until the sealer is softened, keeping it wet and moving it 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. Work in sections and work your way out. Allow to dry and repeat if needed. It's important to not only get all the sealer off the concrete, but also out of the concrete's pores. So you'll likely have to do it a couple times.
   You can lightly sand it if you don't get all the sealer up or if you would like to sand down the existing stain. Sanding the existing stain is not really needed because you want the stain to have variation in the colors, with darks and lights and highs and lows, that's the beauty of acid stain. So if you choose to sand it, it would be mainly to ensure you have all the sealer out of the pores of the concrete, or just that you want to sand down the color for your particular desired color effect and darkness. If you do sand it, you can use a rented floor sander or floor buffing machine with the fine grit sanding disks.
   Once you have completely stripped the sealer and sanded if needed, you can then re-apply a fresh coat of stain and allow it to completely dry and sit for 24 hours. Neutralize it using 8 oz ammonia to each mop bucket of water and then rinse it a couple more times with clean water only. Allow it to dry. If you want it darker than what one coat gives you then you can do a second coat.
   After you are happy with the color, then you can re-apply the sealer. As before, apply one very thin and even coat of sealer and allow to completely dry. Then apply the second very thin and even coat of sealer and allow to completely dry and cure. Try to apply each coat of sealer in opposite directions if possible. For instance, go east/west on one coat and north/south on the other.
   Finally, apply a thin coat of our Top Shield floor wax with a Lamb's wool applicator and a paint pan. Allow to completely 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. When the floor does start to scuff or dull, simply clean, allow to dry, and apply a fresh coat of wax.
I hope this helps.