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.