Sunday, December 11, 2016

How do I fix whiteness or cloudiness in my sealer?

The whiteness is moisture that's trapped. You need to open the sealer so the moisture can escape. If it's in the top surface of the sealer then acetone and a rag or scrub brush will open it enough. If it's deeper in the sealer then you'll need something stronger such as Xylene, Touline, or Xylol. The chemical will open up the sealer rather easily and so long as the air is warm and dry then the moisture will escape and the sealer will then dry back down clear.

Acetone is typically used when there's just a few small spots or small areas with moisture trapped in the surface of the sealer. A little scrubbing with a rag or brush will open up the surface enough and allow the moisture to escape and then dry back down clear.

Xylene is typically used when there's a major amount of moisture trapped and/or the moisture is deep, for instance, if the 2nd coat of sealer was applied before the first coat had completely dried clear, or if applied too heavily, or if applied during very high humidity thereby trapping the moisture deep into the sealer. If the moisture is over a major part of the area but it's trapped in the surface and not deep, simply spraying the xylene onto the surface will do it because the xylene will quickly open the sealer up and encourage the moisture to escape and then dry back down clear. This works many times for moisture trapped deep as well.

If just spraying on Xylene doesn't work, then you'll need to use scrub brushes with the xylene and strip the sealer off, so you can begin again.

Remember that if the temperature is cold or the humidity is high then that slows and/or prohibits the moisture from escaping. However, if it's very hot then the sealer wants to dry back down quicker, perhaps faster than the moisture can escape. So what you want is a warm temp and low humidity as best as you can get it. The humidity is the primary concern. 40% to 50% is a good range, lower is better, but 60% is pushing it and 65% to 70% is a deal breaker. For ideal temps, think tropical. 70 to 80 degrees is great, 90 to 95 or so on the high side is about it, and on the low side, 60 degrees is ok but 50 degrees is pushing it and 45 is absolutely the lowest.

If you just need to spot scrub only for smaller areas, then after it's dry you may want to apply a bit more sealer and feather it out to smooth it out. You'll know once it's dry.

For areas that are just sprayed, you likely won't need to apply any more sealer. Unless you have dry or patchy looking areas once it's dried. Then you'd need to do another overall coat.

For areas that are scrubbed and the sealer is stripped off, you'd need to do 2 coats as you'd be resealing from scratch.

Acetone and Xylene (Xylene, Xylol, Touline) are flammable and aromatic hazardous products but they are overwhelmingly what we've heard works best through the years. You can of course try using safer alternatives such as citrus strippers etc., regardless of what you use though, be sure and read all instructions, warnings, cautions and complete labels. Familiarize
yourself with the products you're using and ensure plenty of ventilation and common sense and keep your work environment safe and productive.

I hope this helps,

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Advice for stripping and re-staining a commercial break room

    Q. -   Hello, we are using artist grade concrete camouflage on a commercial employee lounge. After using a gray finish, sealing and waxing, we have decided we would like to go back and use an additional, more brown stain in addition to the gray for a mottled look. We intend to start again and re-buff with the concrete floor sander to remove
the sealer/wax and hopefully open the pours a bit more. This area will have lots of traffic and cafeteria chairs slid around daily. I would like advise on best prep, application this time around. Also, what is the no-fail way to finish off at the door entry? We put tape across the first time but the sealer is now peelable where the tape line is. Thanks! 
    A. -   It sounds like you know what you're doing. I'll offer some thoughts however, on each subject.

All the sealer must be removed, including in the pores of the concrete for the stain to be able to get in and work properly. Sanding is a good idea, but you would likely want to strip the wax prior to sanding to remove as much as you can. You can use a citrus stripper, glue or paint remover or solvents such as Xylene. Xylene works the fastest and easiest but is highly
flammable and aromatic.
You can find many more instructions and tips by visiting the blog archives and typing in the search bar: sealer

Once you have it stripped and cleaned up, do a final clean with TSP and rinse a couple of times and allow to fully dry.
Because of the intense wear it will receive you need to bare in mind that sealer takes 7 days to fully cure. Any foot traffic on the sealer prior to the 7 days will degrade it's life as the weight of the person compresses the sealer and twisting and sliding of feet can weaken the sealers bond to the concrete. So, once you have applied both coats of sealer or however many
coats you're doing, allow the sealer to cure as many of those 7 days as you can before allowing anyone to enter the room. In typical applications it's not a big deal but with the kind of abuse your setting offers, I'd try to gain every advantage I could. Also, because of the chairs, I would ensure that there are felt pads on the leg bottoms and I would apply 4 initial coats of wax. Allow each coat to dry until completely clear and at least for an hour before applying the next coat. After applying all the coats of wax let the wax cure for at least overnight and preferably 24 hours. Then it's just properly maintaining  the floor. Don't use anything harsh to clean it as it could strip the wax. Instead, the floor should be cleaned with mild detergents such as Dove or Ivory dish soaps. Dawn dish soap is a degreasing soap and shouldn't be used. With time, as the floor starts to scuff and dull, it's time to apply a fresh coat of wax.

In regards to the peeling edge at the door, the sealer is peeling there for the same reason that fingernail polish chips and peels at the edge of the nail. The acrylic stops at a blunt edge and so the wear on the edge is tremendous. There's no sure thing trick for that. You could cut an 1/8" deep line in the concrete at the edge so the sealer can roll over into the line. The sealer wouldn't come to a blunt edge stop, as it rolls over the edge and into the cut. That should help a lot and may even be the magic fix but there's no guarantee. The only other things you can do would be to put a thin thresh hold strip or place a mat there.

Here's some links to help you out.
Free Videos to watch, Full Audio CD & Downloadable Segments
Written Instructions & Tips
Blog with recent posts
Complete Blog with Searchable Archives
Color chart page which shows all the colors and their approximate color outcome

I hope this helps,

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

How do I remove sealer and wax from my floor so I can refinish it?

   Q.-  I have a floor that was done some time ago and I have 2 dogs. The stain is ok but the sealer and wax is totally scratched up. So I am going to need to get back down to concrete.  And reclean and  reseal and rewax. I have 1400 sqft.  What is the best method to strip back down to concrete?

    A. -  The wax, if there is any left, will come up with the sealer. You can remove sealers by using a citrus stripper, xylene, a paint stripper or our Concrete Stain Prep. Xylene would work the fastest and easiest but it's very flammable and aromatic which means needing lots of ventilation and turning off gas and pilot lights, etc., but it's what many contractors use. A citrus stripper or our CSP would still need ventilation but would be much less aromatic. Though it would take a bit more work, it's how most homeowners go.

Essentially, you're going to put the product you choose liberally onto the floor and allow it to sit and eat into the sealer (CSP/ citrus strippers about 20 minutes and xylene a few minutes), adding more as needed to ensure it doesn't dry. Then you'll use a straw scrub brush to scrub and break up the sealer, then using a wide painter's shield that's on a broom handle and acts as a huge scraper, you'll drag the sealer into a pile to pick it up with a square point shovel and put into a bucket for disposal.
Remember that whatever product you use, the two secrets are 1: the amount of time you allow it to sit, and 2: using a stiff straw scrub brush

Work in sections and work your way out, repeat the process as needed to complete the removal and clean up of the sealer and wax. Then let it dry and settle down. Once it's dry you can wash it with t.s.p.(tri-sodium-phosphate) or soap and water. Rinse with clean water a couple of times, changing the water  often, and allow to completely dry. Then you're ready to reseal and re-wax.

Since you have dogs I would recommend that you put 4 or 5 initial coats of wax to build up a thicker barrier and help keep any nail scratches from going into the sealer. So long as they're only in the wax, then a fresh coat of wax repairs them quickly and easily. And if you ever do need to remove the wax it's much simpler and less expensive than having to remove sealer. With our wax remover it's just a light scrub and mop.

I hope this helps,