Tuesday, November 1, 2011

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

Ask a Pro

   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 Choate, Ph.D.
Concrete Camouflage