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.
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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 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.