Monday, December 19, 2011

My wax has milky white areas. How do I correct this?

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Q. -  I just applied your Mop On floor wax and followed the directions precisely--cleaned my newly stained floor which was completed 2 months ago.  I applied the wax with the lambs wool applicator and applied very thin coat--sprayed on with a spray applicator and then used the wool to apply evenly.  Now I have several locations where it turned really white and milky.  Any suggestions as to why or what I can do to correct?

Hello Dawn,
 
   The wax should never be sprayed on. It should only be applied per the application instructions. Anyway, it is most likely that either the floor still had moisture on it when the wax was applied, or it was applied to thick. I would let it sit for a couple days to see if the problem corrects itself. If not, then you'll need to strip those areas, allow to completely dry, and then re-apply. The wax can be stripped with ammonia and water, though Simple Green works much easier and better to strip it.
 
I hope this helps.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Should I Use Stencil to Create a Pattern on My Floor?

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   Q. -  I want to use a old chigcago brick stencil pattern, with a stain, on a interior floor. Is it possible to do that without making a huge mess of the project? Would it ever work without getting all in the mortar joints?

Hello Jeremy,
 
    A. -  I think in the end, that you would be disappointed using stencil, as the stain really likes to bleed under. The tape would work much better, though it would still have the flat look.
   The technique that would really work the best and look absolutely real, is staining the entire floor, drawing the pattern out with a carpenter pencil and/or chalk line with blue chalk(never use red chalk), and then grinding in the pattern with a 4-1/2" angle grinder and a masonry blade. You can use a picture of the brick pattern as a guide to see how the lines should go. You can use a chalk line or a pencil for the long lines, and the pencil for the short lines. The grinder will quickly score down the mortar joint to natural concrete and because the mortar joint will be lower than the brick/concrete surface, the depth will attain the 3D effect and look real. The mortar joints don't have to be perfect in respect to the depthness, actually a variance looks good and makes for even more realism, and besides, once it's sealed and waxed, you won't really see a variance anyway.
   Alternatively, you can grind in the pattern first and then stain the floor. That would allow the stain to collect into the joints and stain them slightly darker than the concrete surface, and therefore appear that you colored the mortar when laying the bricks. The depth and 3D effect along with the slightly darker joint color would cause the pattern to still stand out as effectively as grinding afterwards. But you decide which you think would look the best.
 
I hope this helps,
Earl
 
Earl Choate, Ph.D.
Concrete Camouflage
 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oh No! I got stain on concrete I didn't intend to stain! How do I deal with it?

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   Q. -  Thank you so much for re-sending the download!  Also, despite our best efforts, some stain leaked on to the concrete under our taped plastic leaving a stain outside the intended area.  Any advice on how to lighten it? Thanks again!

Hello AnneMarie,
 
    A. -  A muriatic acid wash and a good stiff scrub brush should do it.
 
   Before I tell you how, I must tell you that it is extremely important that you ensure that you have plenty of ventilation and fresh air. Use mechanical means if necessary, such as fans in windows, one blowing in and one blowing out, etc. Ensure that you wear protective clothing. Particularly you should be wearing gloves, such as disposable nitrile gloves or another chemical and water resistant pair of gloves. Along with the other protective clothing such as long sleeved shirts, long pants, fully enclosed shoes or boots, goggles, dust or face masks, and/or respiratory protection as needed. Be sure to read all cautions, warnings, and instructions on the acid bottles label prior to handling, storing, and/or using.
 
   OK, on with the how. Mix the acid - 1 part acid to about 5 parts water. You can strengthen it if you need to, but try the 5:1 first.(5 parts water to 1 part acid)
 
   Here's the deal though, and this is highly important. The acid will yellow the concrete and eat away the surface if allowed to sit there for any amount of time at all. So it is extremely important to have a water hose running and ready, or to have a bucket of clean water with a mop sitting in it, on the ready.
 
   You dip the brush into the bucket of acid and water, then you shake off the excess into the bucket. Then you sit the brush down on the concrete and scrub it well yet quickly, being careful to not splash or splatter any acid/water mix onto yourself or your surroundings. Then you immediately remove the brush and place into the bucket or a predetermined safe place area, and then either quickly start rinsing the acid mix off the concrete with the water hose already running on full, or start mopping it up with the mop and the bucket of fresh water.
 
   It is very important to get all the acid mix rinsed all the way off of the concrete or all the way mopped up.
 
   You can repeat as needed until you get it scrubbed all the way down.
 
   As mentioned before, you can strengthen the mix by adding a higher acid to water mix if needed, but you should always start with the 5:1 or even weaker of a mix first, before going any stronger. Also as mentioned before, do not allow the acid mix to sit on the concrete. And be sure to not splatter or splash it.
   It is very important to be quick about it, but nothing is as important as your safety and the safety of others. And you do not want to create any additional problems to deal with either.
 
I hope this helps.
Earl Wayne Choate Jr., Ph.D.
 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Do I need to seal after staining? Is the temperature a factor when concrete staining?

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   Q. -  My project is covered porch.  Will I need to seal after staining?  Is outside temperature a factor in concrete staining?
Hello Evelyn,
 
    A. -  You do not need to seal the concrete if using the Artist grade concrete acid stain, though it does add to the look.
The temp needs to be a minimum of 35 degrees F to stain and not going to get below freezing for at least 4 hours, preferably for 12 hours.
   To seal, it has to be 45 degrees F and not going to get below freezing for at least 12 hours and preferably 24 hours.
 
   There is no real maximum temp but you should try to not stain and/or seal in extreme heat, such as 95 degrees F and above. Rather, try to do it in the cool part of the day when in summertime or in very hot areas.
 
I hope this helps.
 

Friday, October 14, 2011

What's best to remove paint before staining a floor?

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   Q. -  what would be the best thing to use to remove the paint and sealer off the floor a floor grinder or chemical it is approx 4600 sq.ft and a restuarant

Hello Brett,
 
    A. -  The best thing is to use paint strippers, glue removers, or Xylene. What helps the most though is a stiff straw scrub brush like sold at www.ConcreteCamouflage.com. It takes about 90% of the work out of stripping. Use painters shields as scrapers because they're about 2' wide or wider which helps. Use square end shovels and buckets to scoop it up and carry it out. You may need to go over it a couple times.
   You can use a good degreaser to help lift it out of the pores of the concrete after stripping it if you like.
 
   Once you've stripped all you can with the strippers/removers, use a rented floor sander, like they use on wood floors, or even a rented floor buffing machine with the sanding disks on it to lightly sand it the rest of the way down to a good smooth finish and completely back to concrete.
 
   Be sure and do a test in a closet or out of the way place with the stain before doing the entire project.
 
I hope this helps.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Will patches show? How do I camouflage/hide patches?

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   Q. -  I have some concerns about the steps I'm taking to fill in holes and cracks before I begin staining.
The concrete filler I'm using is grey in color and stands out compared to the actual concrete. I have to fill so many holes from the nails used to lay the tack strips, that I'm now concerned the stain will not take, or will show major discoloration than the rest of the floor. My room is approx 450 sq.ft and there are holes all around it at least 1/2 inch apart and several long cracks that need filling in the center of the room. It's starting to look worse than before I filled them.
What's the best way to handle this problem?

Hello Terri,
 
   A. -  If the cracks are only hairline cracks, meaning you cannot place a coin into them, then I wouldn't try to patch them. Hairline cracks will add character to the concrete and is actually a desirable when acid staining. If you must patch them and as for the holes you're patching, the patching material will likely stain a different color than the rest of the concrete, as you suspected. You should take some of the patching material and put it on a piece of cardboard or the such to make a small test board(s). Then when you do a color test on the concrete, in an out of the place such as a closet, then you can also stain the patching test board and compare the two together. It may be that you can do a second coat on the patching to bring them closer or vice versa. Or it may be that you need to use a darker color altogether to get them to blend, either by doing a darker border or the entire floor darker. Also it may be that you simply need to highlight your floor. You could stain the entire floor a lighter color, and then highlight the floor with a darker color, using the highlighting techniques found in the blog, or in the audio book segment named highlighting found at the www.ConcreteCamouflage.com website, to blend in and camouflage the patches.
 
   You can purchase the highlighting audio segment for .99 cents, and there is also a patching segment for only .59 cents that would have some great tips too, and then there is the using multiple colors segment for borders. However, when you purchase products from Concrete Camouflage, then you will get two free audio book segments in your receipt email. So I recommend that you order yourself some sample bottles of a few different colors that you may like to try. Be sure to get some light and some dark and then take the time to do some testing on the concrete in an out of the way place as mentioned and also on the test board(s). Try the different colors and also try the highlighting as suggested, and you should find that you can camouflage the patches and also create a unique and cool looking effect that you may have not even considered.
 
 
I hope this helps.
 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Can I stain coloered cinder blocks?

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  Q. -  I have a pink cinder block wall, that's was popular during the mid century. Not painted, actually poured pink cinder block. Will your product work on the colored block, or only grey concrete?

Hello Michael,
 
  A. -  It should work just fine, though the color of the blocks will have an effect on the color that you'll get from the stain. A test is a good idea to determine what the final color will be, prior to staining them all, as well as to be certain of compatibility.
 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Can I seal only inside, and not use the floor wax?

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   Q. -  How long will my floor look nice if i acid stain it and put your sealer?  I really want a low maintenance floor and don't want to have to keep reapplying wax.

 
Hello Greg,
   A. -  The wax is the best part, and the least maintenance overall. It is less slippery and much less expensive to maintain than any sealer is. How long sealer alone will last depends on how much and how rough of traffic it gets, but usually about as long +/- as Top Shield floor wax does. When the sealer does scuff or dull it will have to be stripped and resealed. When Top Shield floor wax by Concrete Camouflage scuffs or dulls, which is typically 6 months or more in a high traffic area, and potentially years in very low traffic areas, you just apply a fresh coat and it's back to brand new. If you have to strip sealer it takes harsh chemicals and allot of elbow grease as to where if you ever do have to strip our wax you just use Simple Green.
 
   The bottom line is that the sealer is designed to protect and enhance the cosmetics of the acid stained floor. The wax is the intended sacrificial coating that protects the sealer and ensures that you never have to strip and/or seal ever again.
 
   I know that pretty much all waxes on the market, especially those found at local big box stores, or either difficult to apply and maintain and/or they have a very short life span and do in fact require massive amounts of maintenance. However, I strongly suggest that you do not overlook or ignore the incredible benefits of Top Shield floor wax by Concrete Camouflage.
 
I hope this helps.
 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Can I stain 20 year old concrete, or should I use acrylics?

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   Q. -  the concrete that i am planning to stain is about 20yrs old. is it too old to be stained or should i use acrylic instead?
 
Hello Jerry,
 
   A. -  Your concrete should be fine to stain, so long as it is not contaminated with glue, oil, grease, sealers, waxes, or anything else that would prevent the stain from soaking into the pores of the concrete. If it is covered or contaminated, then we can instruct you on how to strip and/or sand it as needed, to prepare it for concrete staining.
   Older concrete does of course have a harder time accepting and reacting to concrete stains, that are standard grade. Which is what pretty much all acid stains are, especially those found locally, i.e.: home improvement stores. However, Concrete Camouflage is the leader in, and perhaps the only one, to manufacture an Artist grade stain. Artist grade concrete stains will work where standard grade stains will not and cannot. Even on concrete that has been acid etched or acid washed. When all the other manufacturers tell you that concrete acid stain will not work on acid etched concrete, or concrete that is older, that is because they are representing a standard grade, or everyday run of the mill concrete stain. Even Concrete Camouflage carries a standard grade stain called Fiesta-Stain(to compete with the other manufacturers, after all not everyone wants a Mazarati - some people just want a Geo Metro.) Anyway, the Artist grade stain will indeed work where all the others will not, including Fiesta-Stain. I would still do a test area to be sure though, before doing the entire job. You should never take anyone's word for anything these days. A test would ensure not only compatibility with your concrete, but also that you are going to like the color.
 
   In regards to acrylics. Acrylic stains are simply disguised paint. Their only purpose is to separate you from your cash. As with all paints on concrete, they will peel. No matter what anyone says. We have a recipe for what would be the world's best acrylic stain. It's basically a type of concrete sealer(which wears away with time) and you guessed it, paint pigments. It is locked away forever, to protect the public from junk products.(we like to sleep at night). I strongly advise you to stay away from the acrylics. I and all of us around here for that matter, spend much of our time on an ongoing basis, telling people how to remove the acrylic messes that have been tricked into by the big box companies. Only acid stains are true concrete stains, as wood stains are to wood.
 
I hope this helps.
800 650 1157
Help Desk

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Can I stain a block wall with concrete acid stain?

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 Q. -  I have a small retaining wall (~250sq ft) that I'm looking to stain. Do you know if your product works on block? If so, what do you recommend for the stain / sealer, as approx coverage. Thank You
 
Hello Wayne,
 
 A. -  If it's cinder block then yes it should work quite well. If it's some other kind of brick, then you'll have to do test to know for sure, and should do a test on cinder block as well, to ensure the color along with the compatibility. The coverage for cinder block varies, but basically I would cut the coverage's down to about 70% and possibly even in half, as block is extremely porous and soaks up quite a bit of material. Again, it's just a guess but I would figure the Concrete Camouflage artist grade stain would cover it with about a gallon and half. However, you could try just 1 gallon and see if it can stretch out as it very well could if you apply it correctly. Spray it on and have a brush handy to brush out any runs as you go.
   You don't have to seal walls, but if you choose to, then I would figure on about 2 gallons of Concrete Camouflage's Clear Shield Advanced, at the most, maybe even just a gallon and a half. And stretch it out also. You can always order more if needed.
 
   Cinder block usually stains a little bit darker and reacts quite well with acid stains, so again, you may be able to stretch out a gallon of artist grade stain, though if you intend to use the standard grade, or any standard grade stain for that matter, I would plan on getting three gallons.
 
I hope this helps.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Oh No! I got tricked into putting junk stain on my concrete. Help!

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Q. -  I screwed up and put down R><><leum concrete "stain" which I bought from a big box home improvement store, I bet you know who. I wanted a true acid stain. Thanks R><><leum! Thanks Mr. big box store! Needless to say it doesnt look very good. Actually it looks like crap! Can you offer any products to take it off? Or will your product etch through it? Please Help!!!
Hello Kevin,
 
A. -  You will have to completely remove all of the "disguised paint" that you were tricked into putting onto your concrete, before applying any true acid stain. Acid stains have to get into the pores of the concrete to work effectively. Also, now that you have etched your concrete in order for the acrylic stain- semi-transparent stain- or whatever they call it- to work, Only the Artist Grade acid stain from ConcreteCamouflage.com will be effective. All other stains are only standard grade and even our Fiesta Stain is standard grade, and will now be completely and totally ineffective. So be sure to use only the artist grade concrete acid stain from Concrete Camouflage, once you've got the mess cleaned up and off your concrete.
   Anyway, if your concrete is outside or in an acceptable area for it, the easiest way is to rent a small sandblaster and sandblast it off.
   If you can't use a sandblaster, or if indoors, you can remove it using citrus strippers, heavy duty paint strippers, heavy duty glue removers, a mastic remover, or Xylene(very flammable and aromatic - requiring adequate ventilation and caution - but very effective.) Be sure to visit and read through our blog for some great tips on stripping off concrete sealer, which will also work well for stripping the acrylic stains and paints. The best tip though, is to order a straw scrub brush from Concrete Camouflage to use, as it will definitely help to take out much of the needed elbow grease. Basically, you'll apply your stripping product, let it sit and soak in for a little while to start softening up the paint - err - stain, then apply some more and start scrubbing it until it all becomes soft and finally reliquifies, adding more stripper as needed. Then scrape it into a pile and shovel it up with a square ended shovel and into a bucket for disposal. Repeat as needed.
   Ok, once you're through scrubbing and scraping and removing as much as you can, you'll will still most likely need to sand the concrete. You can do this somewhat easily with a rented commercial floor sander, like they use on wood floors. Or you can use a rented floor buffing machine with the sanding disks. After you have it stripped and sanded, or sandblasted, you can start over. Again, use only the artist grade stain from Concrete Camouflage, and you should be ok. However, though you might still be ok with a single coat application as the artist grade stain is intended, you may have to do two coats due to the original etching, in order to achieve the richness and/or darkness desired. So do a test spot first before doing the entire project, so you'll know.
 
   Special Blog Note to anyone about to make the same mistake: Any product that tells you to "acid wash" or "etch" the concrete before applying their product is junk. It is a disguised paint and it is designed for only one purpose - to separate you from your cash. Avoid them at all costs. Only Concrete Acid Stains are true stains for concrete, as wood stains are for wood.
   It is unfortunate that the big box home improvement stores see fit to carry only disguised paints labeled as concrete stains, or if they do happen to have an acid stain by chance, it is a diluted homeowner version. When they could consider carrying quality products such as those manufactured by Concrete Camouflage. But that would of course cut into their massive and gluttonous profit margins, wouldn't it.
 
I hope this helps.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Will the stain rub off?

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Q. -  Most products that I've looked at state that they need a smooth surface.  The last "stain" we tried rubbed off and we were told it was because the concrete is rough.  Will this product rub off?  Will the sealer "smooth" the look of the concrete after the stain?  Thanks for your help!

Hello Jill,
 
A. -  When you use concrete acid stain then a powdery residue usually forms on the surface during drying and reaction time, but once neutralized and rinsed down, the concrete is seen to be the new stained color. It stain should not however, rub off and go back down to bare uncolored concrete.
   When you neutralize and rinse it, you can scrub it too hard and you can take it down too far. So be careful and easy on it, but be sure to scrub down any dark areas that you want to lighten up then, because after it dries it will lock down. Other than that, the concrete should be a new chemically changed color on the surface.
 
   In all actuality, a rougher concrete surface will take stain better because it soaks into the pores better, though it does require more stain as it drinks it up.
 
   The only way that Concrete Camouflage concrete acid stain would rub off, is if there was a curing agent, sealer, wax, grease, oil, or some other contaminant that would prevent the stain from soaking into the concrete. Or if the concrete is extremely smooth, then the stain has a hard time getting into the pores. But you can go over the concrete with a floor buffing machine, using the aggressive scrubbing pads, to open up the pores so the concrete stain can penetrate the surface and work.
 
   The sealer is made to go on very thin and has a satin finish. That helps to keep the concrete texture coming through for traction, while giving it a natural yet enhanced look for outdoors. Then when you use it indoors, you put our mop on style floor wax over it, which gives it more depth, luster, and a high gloss. The wax has traction additives built in, is easy to maintain, and very long lived. The sealer and/or wax does smooth out the look.
 
I hope this helps.

Monday, June 20, 2011

How do I open the pores of really smooth interior concrete?

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Q. -  For indoor staining on smooth concrete, does anything besides the cleaning need to be done? some instructions I have read say it is necessary to use an etching agent or floor buffer with sandpaper to roughen the concrete before it will take stain
 
Hello Rachel,
 
 A. -  The concrete needs to be clean, and the pores need to be open, so it can accept the stain. So if it the concrete is slick like a mirror then you need to open the pores. If it is smooth but not super slick and/or has been around for a while, then the pores may be open enough already.
   Here's how to tell: Pour some water on it. If the water soaks right in, then the stain will too. If the water just kinda sits there and has a hard time penetrating the concrete's surface, then the stain will too.
 
   If you see that you do need to open the pores, then you should not use, never ever use or do, any acid washing or acid etching if you can anyway keep from it, prior to staining. When you acid wash/etch concrete then it burns up the lime and other minerals that are present in the concrete, and needed by the concrete acid stain in order to react and work properly. Most acid stains are rendered useless once concrete has been acid washed/etched. In fact, the Artist Grade line of Concrete Acid Stain by Concrete Camouflage is the only acid stain proven to still be effective on an acid washed/etched concrete slab. But even then, it can be not quite as rich as it would have otherwise been.
   Anyway, to open the pores: Yes, you can use a rented floor buffing machine as you had read elsewhere. However, do not use the sanding disks unless you're trying to get up glues, paints, etc. Only then would you need to use them. Of course the sanding disks will certainly open up the pores, but they will also take out some of the marbleization found in the final effect of stained - smooth concrete. 
   Therefore, if you're concrete just needs cleaned well and the pores opened up, you're better off to use the good scrubby pads instead. They will still clean the concrete well and open the pores up adequately, without over opening them, and thereby causing the loss of marbleization.
 
I hope this helps.
800 650 1157
Help Desk
 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I acid washed my concrete. Can I still stain it?

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We recently had a colored driveway poured.  The contractor water cured it causing it to turn pinkish.  The Color's Manufacturer told us to wash the concrete with diluted acid to get rid of the pink and it helped but the color is still quite light.  Can Concrete Camouflage acid stain be applied over concrete treated with muriatic acid?
 
Hello Candace,
 
   While it is true that standard grade acid stains are rendered useless on concrete that has been acid washed or acid etched, the Artist Grade Concrete Acid Stain by Concrete Camouflage can indeed be successfully used on concrete that has been acid washed and/or etched. Customers all over are using the artist grade stain on concrete that was otherwise deemed unstainable, with great results, and have been for years.
   The only potential drawback is that it may not be quite as rich of a color as it would have been. That could cause you to need to do a second coat, if the first coat doesn't darken as much as you would like. To help maximize the reaction time and possibly prevent a second coat, allow the stain to sit on the concrete for a full 24 hours after it has dried, before neutralizing and rinsing.
 
I hope this helps.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Staining a basement with moisture issues, (cont.)

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Hello Tom,
thank you for the reply, I am about to place my order and give this a try but had a couple more questions. I am planning on using the bronze green artist grade stain on a gray concrete basement floor. from my previous inquiry mentioning my mild to moderate moisture wicking, it was determined that a water soluble sealer would be used and wax was out of the question. my first question is on how many coats of stain. i know 1 coat was suggested on the site and 2 could be used if a darker color is desired. is one coat the norm or do most people apply 2 coats of the stain?
   The norm is 1 coat for a more pastel version and 2 coats for more of a darker and bronzier with less green effect.
 
is there greater protection against fading if you use 2 coats ?
   No. It's purely a cosmetic decision. Acid stain does not fade. It will wear away or erode away if the surface of the concrete is worn down or eroded, but it will not fade or peel.
 
i won't be able to use the sacrificial layer of wax with my situation, so i want to put myself in the best situation from the beginning. if 2 coats is suggested, what is the typical drying time between coats and i'm assuming i do not neutralize and clean the residue between coats right?
   You do not need to neutralize between coats, just be sure that the stain is completely dry before walking on it. Typical drying time is a few hours between coats and 24 hours drying time after the second coat has been applied.
   By the way, the wax is to protect the sealer, so that you never have to seal it again. This means that by not having the wax, you will have to reseal it when needed, which depending on the amount and type of traffic it gets, could be yearly or every 5 years or more, if ever for relatively little used floors. It will however, not effect the stain, unless of course you allow the sealer to completely wear away, which would then allow for eventual surface traffic wear.
 
my next question is just for informative purposes. i have read that your product does not require sealing. it appeared that this applies mostly to exterior projects. what would happen if you did not seal the basement floor?
   The Artist Grade stain can be left unsealed. The consequences are as follows. You will have to get all the residue up or it will track into other rooms. You will not have the cosmetic benefits of sealing. As the surface of the concrete wears down through the years, you may get wear patterns which would eventually require restaining.
 
also related to that question i read that some people with other products have tinted their sealer to fix traffic areas when they have to reseal down the road. knowing tha ti will be re-sealing every couple of years because i can not use wax, what are your thoughts on tinting the sealer ?
   If you reseal it when it is needed then you will never have wear patterns and will never have cause for a tinted sealer. Tinted sealers are great for camouflaging messes and blemishes, but if used when not needed can become the mess itself.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Can I stain and seal a basement floor with moisture problems?

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Q. -  hello, i have an interest in acid staining my basement floor but have some questions and concerns. i assumed i had a relatively dry basement. i moisture tested by taping plastic and saw no evidence of moisture. i installed a laminate floor and about 2 months later i had buckling. i assumed it was due to the water table with this harsh winter and then someone told me that i was probably getting moisture from the slab. i never saw any slick spots or water in the past because it was probably evaporating and drying as soon as it reached the surface. when i placed the laminate and moisture underlayment i created a greenhouse affect and trapped the moisture and that caused the buckling. i'm not sure if that sounds like what happened, but it does seem logical. here in lies my question. i'm led to believe that if i seal the floor or paint it, i will bubble since i'm not allowing the moisture to evaporate like it needs to. any other flooring surface will be subject to moisture collection i assume....carpet, tile, laminate so those don't appear to be viable options. my question is, if i acid stain and use a water soluble sealer, will that allow a small amount of moisture to evaporate and not cause future problems? what would you suggest in my case? i never had any visible moisture issues until i covered my basement floor. i appreciate your opinions and thank you. tom patavino
Hello Tom,
 
A. -  The acid stain will be fine as it works by creating a permanent change in the concrete's surface color, therefore stain does not sit on the surface like paints.
   The sealer however, does sit on the surface. Pretty much most all sealers will close off the surface and then any moisture wicking up through the concrete will be stopped by the sealer which will cause the sealer to eventually lose its bond and start to flake off. The exception is the Concrete Camouflage brand: Clear Shield Advanced formula water base sealer. Because of it being a pure acrylic and not an acrylic mix as most sealers are, Clear Shield Advanced will allow a certain amount of moisture to wick through the sealer and evaporate. A major amount of moisture may not be passable but a minor to moderate amount of moisture wicking is part of the intended design. As you have described your slab it sound to me like your floor is a perfect candidate for staining and sealing with Concrete Camouflage products. At least it's worth the try.
   You will want to be sure that you do not wax it. The wax would seal off the floor and prevent the moisture wicking and escaping that you seek. Unfortunately that means that rather than using the wax as the intended sacrificial coat, and only having to maintain the wax, you will have to re-seal the floor every few years +/-.
 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cracks in floor... patch?

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Q. -  Hi. A few years ago, a company came to our house and installed a concrete floor in our kitchen. The floor now has a few cracks in it and the company that installed it is out of business and we cannot get in touch with them to honor the warranty. So my question is: is there a product we can use to patch the cracks? Or would a sealer prevent them from cracking more? They're just very thin hairline cracks and not too noticeable right now, but I'm afraid they'll get worse. Any suggestions you can provide would be fantastic. Thanks!
 
Hello Laura,
 
A. -  If they're just hairline cracks then I would not patch as of yet, and would try to never have to. If you seal the floor then that will fill in the cracks and keep any moisture or dirt from getting in and causing more trouble. However, you'll also need to wax it. The wax is the sacrificial coat. It ensures that you never have to re-seal it. If the sealer wears down then it's no longer stabilizing the floor.
   Therefore, I would suggest sealing it with the Concrete Camouflage brand of sealer and wax. 2 coats of Clear Shield Advanced sealer and then 2 coats of Top Shield floor wax.
   The wax will last for months in a high traffic area before scuffing or dulling and when it does, you just apply a fresh coat and it's back to new.
 
Note:   Hopefully the hairline cracks are caused by normal conditions and sealing/waxing is a final fix which would keep your floor in good shape for a long while and could keep it good forever. However, if the flooring overlayment starts to lose its bond to the floor underneath, or if there is an uncorrected condition causing the cracking to occur then this will be only a temporary fix.
  
I hope this helps.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Can I stain my concrete pavers?

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Q. -  Can I stain my exterior Techo-Bloc concrete paver sidewalk and patio? Thank you! looks like you have a wonderful product.

Hello Michele,
 
A. -  When it comes to pavers, you just never know without first doing a test. While the stain does work with cementious products, each manufacturer has their own unique mixes, and then there's the question of baking, sealing, etc. Also, it's not only a question of will the stain work, but what the final color will be with your set of pavers.
   Although you'll need to do a test to know if and/or how the stain will work with your particular pavers, I can tell you that we have had many successful and happy paver staining customers through the years. Just remember that acid stain does not cover like a paint. Acid stain colors through a chemical reaction with what is already present in the piece that you are staining. Therefore, as the pavers are a slightly different color from each other now, they will still reflect those shades of difference once stained.
 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Do I have to remove all the residue?

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Q. -  Does all the dusty residue have to be off before you seal it. I've mopped a bunch but to run your finger across it, there is still some residue.

Hello Diane,
 
A. -  You do not have to remove 100% of all the residue. Though you will likely want to get the majority of the residue off, you by no means have to remove it all, and that's actually not even why we have you neutralizing and mopping it. You must thoroughly neutralize the stain so the sealer can hold it's bond. That's why we have you neutralize it once and then rinse it at least twice, to be sure. And if we say to remove the residue you're more likely to mop it enough times and change out your water as it gets dirty.
   So, if you've thoroughly neutralized and rinsed it, then you may proceed.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Please help me fix scratches in an acrylic stain I bought locally.

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Q. -  I applied BEHR semi-transparent concrete stain (I already had done it before I found your company - its to bad because your products are better!) then sealed it with their sealer and applied 3 coats of your Top Shield floor wax.  I let it sit for several days.  I went to set up the bed in the room and now have 2 large gouges completely down to the concrete.  I am so upset and wanted to see if you knew of anyway to repeair them so the rest of the floor does not chip away.  I thought about taking a small brush and applying sealer again and then reapplying the top shield.  I am not as concernd about the look as I can cover it with a rug, but dont want the rest of the floor to come up, as I have now learned that these types of stains don't last like your acid stains and can start to peel easily.  Any help would be appreciated.
 
Hello Nicole,
 
 A. -  We're happy to help.
  • Strip back the Top Shield floor wax using Simple Green. Strip it about a foot or so back and away from the area to be worked on.
  •     Allow to dry.
  • You can then use a small paint brush to carefully paint in the color, using the same as you used on the floor initially, or you can even use water colors from a children's water color paint book that you pick up at the Dollar Store and mix the colors together to match the floor.
  •     Allow to dry.
  • Re-apply your sealer with a brush and be sure to apply the same number of coats of sealer as you put on the floor initially and feather out the last coat to blend it in with the area.
  •     Allow to completely dry and cure as directed.
  • Re-apply the Top Shield floor wax to the area that is stripped. Feather out the last coat as well to blend it in. If you need to, then you can apply a fresh coat to the entire floor to totally smooth it out and blend it in.
  • Have a great weekend and next time order your concrete stain and supplies from Concrete Camouflage.
And while your waiting on dry times, if you get a few extra minutes, like music, and could use a laugh or two, then check out www.EarlWayne.com.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Is moisture problems an issue?

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Q. -  Is moisture a factor in whether I can stain concrete or not? I'm fairly sure that there isn't a moisture problem in my basement slab, but I want to know if I should test for this or factor it into what type of stain I might buy.
 
Hello Christin,
 
A. -  While moisture problems would be detrimental to acrylic or water base stains, moisture is not an issue for most our higher quality concrete acid stains, such as Concrete Camouflage artist grade acid stains. Moisture problems can also be a major issue for most sealers and waxes.
   Clear Shield Advanced by Concrete Camouflage is one of a few sealers that allow the concrete to breath and also will allow a certain amount of moisture to wick through and still be fine, however, a major water problem would be still be an issue. 
   Concrete Camouflage's wax, Top Shield, is a great floor wax, but not if there's any moisture issues at all.
   If you have a moisture problem then you'll likely be able to see it, especially after a heavy rain.
 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Can I stain my Stamped Concrete Patio that has most of the sealer off?

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Q. -  I have a stamped concrete patio that is 1 & 1/2 years old. the sealer (xylene base) has been 95% taken up. Can I use your artist grade concrete acid stain and then reapply the same xylene sealer over top?
Hello Madeleine,
 
 A. -  You can certainly use the Artist grade stain and yes, you can apply a Xylene based sealer over it. However, the stain will not be able to penetrate and work where there is still sealer, so you need to strip the rest of the sealer off that is still on there. You can do so by using Xylene, a stiff straw scrub brush on a broom handle, and a powerwasher. It is vital that you use a stiff straw scrub brush, they're hard to find but an absolute. You can order them from Concrete Camouflage when ordering the stain if you like.
   Remember that Xylene is flammable and aromatic. Be sure to read all instructions, warnings, cautions, and labels of all products before storing, opening, and/or using. Work in sections of course and try to not walk where you have worked until it has dried.
  1. Pour the Xylene on and allow it to sit for about 30 seconds or so, which will start to soften the sealer.
  2. Then pour on some more Xylene and scrub it with the straw scrub brush, which will re-liquify the sealer.
  3. Then you can use a painters shield to scrape it into a pile or over the edge. You can also use a square ended shovel to pick it up. If there's not enough sealer left to scrape up or pick up then you can use rags to wipe it up, or if there is not enough sealer left on the concrete for even wiping up, then skip this step and go to the next step.
  4. On this step you may need to walk in it. Pour a little more Xylene on and scrub it all around quickly, then use the powerwasher to wash it off and over the edge. The Xylene re-liquifies the sealer, and if you hit it with the powerwasher before it starts to dry back down, then the powerwasher will take the sealer completely off and should even remove it from the pours.
   As you said that you already have 95% of the sealer removed, you will likely skip step 3. Once you give it the final strip down and powerwash, allow the concrete to dry completely. Then you can proceed with acid staining and re-sealing.
 
I hope this helps.