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,