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 +/-.