Monday, February 20, 2012

Will re-sealing my stained floors and concrete countertops renew them, help with water spots, and be easier to keep clean and looking good ?

Ask a Pro
Hello Luke,

   Q. -  I have a couple questions, if you would be so kind. We purchased a house a few years ago with concrete floors and concrete countertops. The concrete countertops appear to be a colored concrete sealed in either acrylic or poly.  My question on this is, can I strip off the sealant and apply one of the Artist Grade Concrete Stains (thinking the Island Sand color)?  Would I need to sand down the top layer or anything like that, or just apply the stain directly to the colored concrete?
   A. -  You will have to completely remove all the sealant, including out of the pores of the concrete, in order for the stain to soak in and work. Also, the color will be effected by the existing color, and you can't stain lighter, only darker. You can try to strip the sealer with strippers and removers, but a light sanding is usually inevitable.
   Q. -  Secondly, my floors are a stained concrete, again sealed with a poly sealant.  The problem we are having with the floors is they are a dark brown color.  Whenever even a single drop of water touches the floor, it puts a water spot on the concrete that can only be cleaned by stripping the sealant off. Would Concrete Camouflage decorative concrete sealer protect against this?
   A. -  If your floor sealer needs to be recoated then our Clear Shield sealers are great, but what you really need is a good floor wax to seal off and protect the sealer, by acting as the sacrificial coat, as well as providing scuff resistance and lasting a while before needing recoated. That's where our Top Shield mop on style floor wax works great.

   Q. -    I'd be looking to seal roughly 1,000 square feet and am in desperate need of something that is actually going to keep water spots away!
   A. -  Again, regardless of whether you reseal the floor or not, the wax is the best product to be on top, as it cleans easily. You can mop it with water only or you can use a mild detergent, like dishwashing soap, and then rinse. It should last for months between coats and then you just clean, dry, and apply a fresh coat to keep it looking fresh, looking new, and easy to clean.

Any help would be much appreciated so I can make an informed decision.
I hope this helps.

Will the cracks that I filled and patched, stain ok?

Ask a Pro
   Q. -  I repaired a number of cracks in my driveway. Will the crack filler material take a stain, or be covered by it? The repaired cracks form a quite ugly pattern. Thanks,  Jim
Hello Jim,
   A. -  As long as the product used to fill the cracks was a cementious type product and not a type of caulking or silicone product, it should stain. However, the color that it will stain will usually be different from what the concrete will stain. We recommend putting some of the patching material on a piece of cardboard, to make a sample board. You can then stain a small test area on the concrete in an out of the way place, along with the sample piece of the patching material, to compare.
   It may be that a second coat of the stain on the patching will darken it up to blend with the concrete, or vice versa. Or, you may choose to do a second highlight coat of stain all over. You could also consider using the patching as an artistic component and even add saw cuts and/or scoring and perhaps even multiple colors, to complete a truly unique piece of concrete art.
I hope this helps.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Can I Achieve a Gloss Finish with Water Base Sealer and Wax?

Ask a Pro

   Q. -  We are going to be using the Twilight color of standard grade acid stain by Concrete Camouflage and were wondering if we can get that Glossy look using the water based sealer and then waxing. If at all possible we would like to use the water based sealer as it just seems much more family friendly and less toxic.  We have 4 little ones and won't be able to easily leave the house overnight etc as solvent base sealers recommends. But we REALLY want to get a nice glossy look out of the floor so if we HAVE to use a less friendly product we will try and figure that out.

Thank you so much!  We have done some test areas with just the stain and are loving what we see so far!

Hello Kristin,
   A. -  The Clear Shield Advanced water base sealer will have a satin finish. However, the Top Shield floor wax will have a gloss finish. Most everyone uses the Clear Shield Advanced water base sealer, instead of using solvent base sealers, because it is so much safer, more family friendly, and also a green product. They then put the Top Shield floor wax over that to achieve the glossy finish. Unless of course they want a matte finish, which the Top Shield floor wax is also available in matte finish. But you stated that you want a very glossy finish, so let's proceed with some things to think about.
   Solvent base sealers are naturally a higher gloss sealer and has such a high gloss for a few reasons, but allot that has to do with it is the fact that solvent base sealers goes on so thick. When you apply water base sealer, you apply it in as thin of coats as possible, which diminishes the gloss achieved from the water base sealer. However, if you apply one or two extra coats of the water base sealer, then you can achieve somewhat of a higher gloss as the sealer builds up. Of course you will have to allow the sealer to completely dry between each coat, but that doesn't take too long, and still doesn't compare to the amount of time that you have to allow solvents to cure.
   Next, the wax also goes on in coats as thin as possible. It is glossy, but still, if you do two or three extra coats initially, you can build it up too, and achieve an even higher gloss. Of course you can also use a buffing machine to bring out more of a gloss but I think that really wouldn't be necessary. Again, you need to allow the wax to dry between each coat, but the wax dries quickly.
   In conclusion, using the water base sealer at the standard two coats and using the gloss finish wax over that at the standard two coats will give you a nice gloss finish. Though if you want more of the extremely high gloss finish that you would see with a solvent base sealer, you can simply do an extra coat or two of the sealer, and an extra coat or two of the wax. This should allow you to obtain the higher gloss look without having the hazards and trouble of using a solvent base sealer. I would suggest that you do a test in a closet or out of the way place first and then you'll know how many coats of each product to expect to have to use to achieve your desired level of gloss.
   A couple final notes about solvents vs. water base sealers. Solvent base sealers along with having a higher gloss will make the concrete look as it does when it is saturated wet. Many times this is simply too darkened and negates much of the color variances and nuances which makes stained concrete so artistic and beautiful. Water base sealers, or least the Clear Shield Advanced water base sealer, makes the concrete look as it does when it's lightly damp. The colors are still enhanced more than when the concrete is completely dry, but not darkened up so much as when it's saturated wet.
I hope this helps

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Advice on Patching Concrete and Using Decorative Taping to Create a Border.

Ask a Pro

Dear Earl,
Sorry, I have a few more questions.
Hello Kimberly,
No problem at all. We're happy to help all that we can.
 1) Would you recommend cleaning with the TSP prior to patching the tack strip holes or patch and then clean?
    A. -  You need to ensure that concrete is as clean and dry and dust free as possible to ensure the best chances for the patch to stay in place. The sealer and wax will help to hold it down, but if the patch loses its bond then it will pop out, so there is no replacement for good and adequate prep. Therefore, yes. I would use the T.S.P. and water to thoroughly clean the concrete to be patched first. Be sure and rinse it a couple times with clean water afterwards.
   NOTE: A little extra advice just in case you need it. After you apply the patching material and smooth it out as best that you can, you need to let it dry and cure for at least a day or two, more if it's curing slowly. Then you will use a concrete rubbing stone to rub it and smooth it out, which will feather it into the concrete. It's like sanding bondo on a car body repair to smooth it out, which helps it to disappear into the surrounding area. The rubbing stone can be found in the concrete tools area at your local lumber yard or home improvement store. If going to a local home improvement store then the concrete tools are usually down at the lumber end with the sacks of concrete and concrete patching materials. It looks like a small rectangular cinder block with a handle on it, and it will make the patch blend in and smooth down quickly and easily.
 2) Also which do you think would be the best method of applying the stain with the tape, using the brush method or the 2 light coats of stain?
    A. - If you're going to use a different color or do multiple coats on the border, or certain areas, then I would brush on the border and/or decorative areas, and then spray the rest of the floor. If you're using a darker color on the border, or say, opposing blocks - you can apply the darker color with the brush and then spray the entire floor with the lighter color, including over the darker brushed on areas because the darker color will overpower the lighter color anyway.
   If you're using the tape as a design in the floor but using the same color overall then I would just spray it all and forego the brush.
   NOTE: Be sure and rub the tape down really well, especially along the edges, and be sure to not saturate the tape too much because the stain will try to get underneath it, which is why you drag the stain up to the tape when brushing, and why you spray directly down over the tape with two lighter coats, rather than spraying at an angle or spraying heavier coats.
Thanks for all of your help!
Best regards,

I hope this helps,