Monday, May 13, 2013

When is the best time to stain my concrete floor during new construction?

Ask a Pro
   Q. -  I've got a large unfinished basement (almost 3,000sqf) that I'm going to be finishing off this summer. I just received my samples of your stain and will be experimenting with it this weekend to decide what color(s) we want to use. I had intially planned to stain and seal the entire basement before putting up the walls, hanging sheetrock, etc. Just one big open space to work with and I wouldn't have to worry about splashing it on the walls, etc. But now I'm wondering if that's the best idea. Am I going to damage the floor by doing that? Would I be better off waiting to do the stain and sealing until after the main construction is done?
Thanks for your time.
Hello Shalom
  A. - Many people cover and protect the floors during construction and wait until last to do the floors. However, most people and all the contractors prefer to stain, seal, and wax it after the walls are framed, but before sheetrock goes up. Then cover it and protect it during construction. Then afterwards, uncover and rewax it to bring back the shine. That way the concrete is protected from anything that might get on the concrete and get into the pores of the concrete accidentally. It's easier to strip the wax and reapply it if something gets on it, as anything minor that gets on it should come up with the wax, rather than to have to be stripping, scrubbing, and possibly sanding the concrete to remove things like paint, glues, oils etc., that would then be a potential blemish on the floor.
   Regardless of when you do it, the concrete floor must be covered well and diligently protected during construction. A sheathing type material or heavy cardboard is best. Make sure any printing on it is facing up. Cut it back from the framing about 1/2 an inch to an inch to allow room for sheetrock and baseboards, and easier removal later. Tape the seams well with a good tape, but use painters tape along the edges. Have the painters to still put down plastic. Make sure the plumbers and HVAC guys cut and thread any metal pipe outside on the dirt or grass, to prevent the oil that they use from getting on the floor and/or through the floor covering.
I hope this helps