Thursday, March 29, 2012

Should I Remove Rust Spots and Other Questions.

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  Q. -  I am going to try the Concrete Camouflage artistic grade stain and have some questions.
I just pressure washed the driveway today to get any dirt or mildew out of the pores of the cement and it is looking very clean now. Will I have to do this again or any other additional cleaning before putting the stain on when it gets here I would hope early next week?
Hello Robert,
   A. -  As long as the concrete is still clean, then it should be fine to stain without further cleaning.

Should it be completely dry when I do stain it?
   A. -  Yes, the concrete should be dry when applying the stain. It doesn't have to be bone dry though, just dry.

  Q. -  I saw in an earlier blog post that you told someone not to worry about a small rust stain. I have a few rust stains that I can't pressure wash out that are probably 6" to 12" diameter sections. Will these most likely be covered/hidden by the stain as well?
   A. -  That depends on the color of stain that you're using, but yes, the stain should help to camouflage the rust spots quite a bit. The browns, blacks, riverstone, and many times even the reds work well. Yet the turquoise, greens, and lighter colors have a harder time. That's why you should do some tests first if you can.

  Q. -  If I do decide or need to try to clean them, will CLR or lime away affect how the stain in absorbed in these areas after I use it? I only ask this since I know the stain reacts with the calcium in the concrete.
   A. -  It is true that the stain reacts with the lime and other minerals in the concrete. Anything adversely effecting the existing lime and minerals in the concrete will diminish the stains capacity to work. That's why standard grade stains will no longer work on acid washed concrete and even artist grade stains don't work as well as they would have.
   Besides that, any such harsh cleaning would almost certainly leave an area that is discolored from the rest of the concrete. Even if it did work to take out the rust stain, you would likely be left with a bleached out spot. The spot would then stain differently from the rest of the concrete, so you would only be trading one type of blemish for another, and working hard to do it.
   Of course you could do a highlighting coat to help further camouflage the spots. You could stain the entire area with a light or medium color. Then after it dries, you can do a highlighting coat with a darker color. That would help the rust spots to become part of the character of the concrete, rather than blemishes.

  Q. -  Should I dilute your artist grade stain? I have read on many sites that most people at least dilute acid stains 1:1 with water.
   A. -  All Concrete Camouflage products are designed to be used straight out of the bottle.
   However, if you prefer to dilute the stain 1:1 and then do a two coat application, rather than using it straight and doing a one coat, then that's fine too. Many contractors do it that way still. So they can spray and brush the first coat, allow it to dry, and then spray only the second coat.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I have swirl marks in my stain. What can I do?

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   Q. -  I've stained my floors with a concrete acid stain project kit. I used a brush, mistake on my part. I noticed swirl marks as I was doing the post-stain clean up. I have neutralized and rinsed, but have not applied any kind of sealer. Can I do touch-up work with my remaining stain?
Hello Benny,
   A. -  Yes. You need to spray on another coat of stain, which will help quite a bit to cover and camouflage the brush marks. Use an all plastic pump up sprayer. You can add water to the stain that you have left if you need to, to ensure that you have enough for the entire area. Spray on a fresh coat of stain, spraying on enough to lightly saturate the concrete but certainly not enough to puddle it, or that it would run if it were on an incline.
   Note: The additional coat will darken the color.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Should I fill deep saw cuts when staining exterior concrete, like sidewalks and patios?

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   Q. -   What about sidewalks and concrete slabs with deep scores?  Can I keep them, but ensure that they are perfectly clear of dirt and dust before staining?  Would I need to fill the scores?  What do I fill them with?
Hello Cathi,
   A . -  I wouldn't suggest filling the scores, or saw cuts, unless that's the structurally correct thing to do. They could be expansion areas and any filler would just pop out later, or they could be water access points causing damage and need to be filled. 
   So first, ascertain whether or not and/or which ones should be addressed. If you do decide to fill them then you can use a concrete patching material, mortar, or crack repair material. Though you may want to consider using Deco-Seal. It's what they put between a pool deck and the pool coping at the inside edge of the pool. It allows for contraction/expansion, is custom colored at the time of application so it can be made to blend in or stand out artistically, is topped with a light sand covering which increases the attractiveness and the traction, and it's fairly inexpensive. Though it will usually need maintained about every two to three years, which can include repairs and/or complete removal/redo.
   Of course, you could also use hot oil, which would last longer, but would tend to be quite messy and much less attractive.
   If you use mortar or a concrete patching material and want to stain it as well, then you need to first know that it will likely stain a different color from the concrete, so you should make sample boards using a few potential filler materials, allow them to dry, and stain them to see what the colors will be, before doing the entire project.
   Once ready, you will clean the concrete well such as powerwashing and/or scrubbing with a stiff straw scrub brush and T.S.P. (tri sodium phosphate), rinse well and allow the concrete to dry.
   You can use leaf blowers to speed up the drying and also prior to applying the filler material to remove any dust.
   If you use a cement filler and want to stain it also, then apply the filler material before acid staining the project.
   If you use a non cementious filler like Deco-Seal or caulking, that can't be stained, or if you use a cement filler but don't want to stain it, then you should acid stain the concrete first, neutralize and rinse, allow to dry and then apply the filler.
   It is highly recommended that you seal the entire area, at least the first time, to help enhance and lock in your new look.
I hope this helps.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What's the difference between the artist grade and standard grade concrete stains? I want a marble look.

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   Q. -  i was wondering what the diference in artist grade and regular grade acid stain ? we want the marble look and was wondering witch one we needed to use ? it is a new construction with a slick floor. thanks
Hello Mike,
   A. -  Other than the different color choices, the Concrete Camouflage artist grade is a one coat stain and the standard grade is a two coat stain. Therefore, you will get twice the coverage from the artist grade, than from the standard grade. On your concrete slab, you would expect a maximum of 400 sq.ft. per gallon using the artist grade, and 200 sq.ft. with the standard grade.
   You can of course, do more coats of either stain if you choose, to achieve a darker color, different colors, or to do additional coats for artistic, highlighting, and/or camouflaging, etc..
   As your concrete stain project is new construction and slick finished, you will first want to be sure that there is no curing agent on the concrete. If there is a curing agent, then you'll need to strip and/or lightly sand the surface to completely remove it from both the concrete's surface and pores.
   Since you mentioned the desire to achieve as much marbleization as possible, you should be aware that the more you sand the surface the more that you reduce the marbleization. Therefore, you're better off to remove as much as you can with strippers, and keep the sanding to a light minimum, using more of a fine sandpaper, or a floor buffing machine with the fine sanding disks.
   Otherwise, if you don't have a curing agent, as slickened concrete tends to close off the surface pores, thereby reducing the effectiveness of concrete acid stains, you will likely need to use a floor buffing machine with the aggressive scrubber pads during the cleaning stage, to really open up the pores of the concrete well, so the concrete stain can get in completely and achieve maximum reaction.
I hope this helps.