Are you planning for staining your concrete floors, but are looking for some tips and tricks? Or maybe you have done some already, but something seems a little bit off?
There is nothing more delightful than coming upon a naturally colored, beautiful, variegated, and mottled concrete acid stain floor that has lasted through the years. With the standard becoming acid staining when selecting a method of finishing and coloring a slab of concrete, it is time to ask a question. How can a successful installation be guaranteed with a product that is so unpredictable?
Acid staining concrete systems of coloration are used to create translucent coloring effects and are not created to hide blemishes, discoloration, cracks, impressions, markings, and other variables of construction. For that reason, the surface has to be as free of defects as possible.
Here is an article about the cost of acid staining for those considering it. It’s good to be as prepared as possible when you’re planning for these projects. This way they won’t be unfinished projects or put on hold unnecessarily.
It is important to keep in mind that following directions carefully ensure a great result. For that reason, I’ve gathered a few tips you might not have given a thought before to help you reach better success.
Five things to consider before beginning
Adding semi-transparent or translucent color to anything, the colors and the patterns of the substrate show through. This is just like applying wood stains to pieces of wood with wood grain and knots.
The wood patterns will be apparent even after the application of the stain. Similar to wood stains, the concrete stain can intensify the concrete variations and even highlight them. This includes man-made and natural markings and blemishes.
The first thing you need to do to get staining correct is to make sure the canvas you are applying the stain to is free from unwanted defects, clean with no markings, and stains in order for this to be ready for color application.
Manufacturers’ provisions of color charts are meant to be utilized only as a guide. Since acid staining reacts differently to each surface type applied, it is a must that samples are done on actual concrete types that will be receiving the treatment.
The timing and method of the installed samples need to coincide with the way the remaining surface will be ultimately installed. Even if extra variables will be encountered in the application, doing samples onsite is the ideal way of determining beforehand how the stain reacts to specific substrates.
Acid stain applications are both aesthetic and functional. When doing acid stain applications, you need to understand both how much acid to use and the technique to use it.
Once in a while jobs that could have been good become disasters since the methods used are improper. A product that is too less will not completely cover this and will not do sufficient surface etching to have the color sink in deeply.
Alternatively, too much product used causes undesirable puddling and over-reacts in places where it has been pooled on the surface.
There is also a method of scrubbing. If scrubbing is not done with a pattern and a natural flow, obvious swirls and mop lines appear. If all surface concrete is similar, an exact application process can be figured out, but this is not the case.
Technique is developed with experience and this is why levels of skills of installers play a major role when acid stain finishes selection.
Residue removal and surface neutralization is key to the acid stained concrete finishing success. Concrete acid etching residue that has taken place needs to be removed and the surface neutral to guarantee good adhesion of the coating system and the sealant.
Damage and staining are still a risk for surfaces at this point and there needs to be careful to thoroughly neutralize and wet the area for avoiding boot prints, marks of residues, and other blemishes that are man-made.
Once dry enough, the concrete needs to be applied with a coat of sealant. This is normally the installation’s last stage and must be done correctly. A sealer that is not properly applied will show roller lines, leave debris and lint in the finishing, or flake off or delaminate the surface if installed improperly.
Professionals who are experienced have methods of applying and choosing the right sealant for the job. Techniques of application include cross hatch rolling, spraying, buffing, and back rolling in the event a finishing is applied.
It is now easy to comprehend that a lot of work goes into the finishes of stained concrete. Just like everything else, you need to practice. When hiring a professional, select someone with the ability and skill that matches the difficulty level of the current job. Visit past work and speak to some of the floor owners.
Even hiring the best concrete acid stain contractors in the area, their talents will depend on the surface you need for them to work on. Some are better working outside while others perform better inside. It’s good to ask for references and you should.
It’s also good to remember that it might not be possible to hide and blend in the color completely with damaged and badly stained concrete slabs. This is not a fault in the one doing the staining in a sense. Such a concrete slab should be maybe resurfaced so the best end result could be achieved.
That being said, remember that the slab of concrete is the concrete artist’s decorative canvas and needs to be clean and free from spills, stains, markings, and paint. This ensures that the finishing will be all that you hoped for when you selected acid stains as your concrete finishing of choice.
If you’re considering staining concrete floors indoors, read the link for more details.