Acid Stained Concrete Floors: tips and tricks for superior success

Flooring, whether it be commercial or residential, is a staple of beauty in a residency. The market for flooring is ever changing, with quality supplies getting more, and more accessible. Whether you are renovating your home, or you are in the process of building a new one, choosing a flooring style that is stylish and affordable can be a hard choice. Luckily, we are here to help! Acid Stained concrete is a choice you won’t regret. With versatile color options and impeccable options for sealers, acid stained concrete is the shag carpet of the modern era. In this article we will dive into choosing a perfect color for the lighting conditions in your house, important tips for successful flooring, and choosing the perfect sealer for you.


Knowing your Canvas

The biggest challenge with staining concrete floors poured in the last 10 years is they have almost certainly been machine troweled. Machine troweling creates a more uniformly smooth finish, but it sometimes can be too smooth to acid stain. When concrete is too smooth, the acid stain cannot penetrate the pours of the concrete and will potentially be wiped away during cleaning. Concrete condition and age are very important for successful acid staining. Keep these questions in mind when determining whether or not your slab is a good candidate for acid staining. The concrete must be free of debris, dirt, oils, paint, dry wall mud, adhesive, or sealers. Acid stain cannot react properly with the concrete if these conditions are present. The slab should not have been poured with a waterproofing agent, cleaned with muriatic acid or a heavy tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) solution.The acid stain reaction cannot occur on surfaces treated with these products. For older, excessively power-washed or mechanically-profiled concrete, the surface must be completely intact with no exposed aggregate or sand particles. Concrete acid stain does not stain rocks, sand or aggregate. Exposed aggregate or otherwise depleted concrete may cause the acid stain to take ununiformly, react weakly or produce a color inconsistent with the acid stain color chart.


Choosing an Acid Stain Color

When acid staining concrete floors, take natural lighting into account when selecting colors. If you are staining a basement floor with very little natural light, choose a lighter color like Café Mocha or use the darker colors as an accent stain. Always keep your color scheme in mind. For the best possible outcome, please check out Chem-Coats article on Reactive Concrete Stain. Exact color matches are near impossible to achieve with acid stain so select complementary colors. We recommend selecting at least two acid stain colors for indoor floor applications. For the best quality acid stain contact your local spectrum store purchasing details. 


Prepping your Workspace

Concrete floors can have all kinds of unexpected contaminants. If you have multiple contaminants like paint, glue and dry wall mud, it might be better to sand the floor using a high-speed buffer and an 80-grit sanding pad. If you only have small amounts glue and paint, apply BLUE BEAR 500MR Mastic Remover for Concrete and Soy Gel Paint Stripper to clean the floor. Remember to carefully clean the floor with Concrete Cleaner and water solution before acid staining. Rinse thoroughly to remove residue and allow to dry. Invest in a wet-dry vacuum for staining concrete floors, or you can find a company that rents them for industrial work. It really does shorten the work time and make clean up much easier. If the concrete condition is more than you’re willing to tackle, consider applying a concrete overlay. For more information on concrete overlay check out Direct Colors article. Concrete overlay can be acid stained or integrally colored with concrete pigment and might just be a better option when the concrete slab is heavily soiled or has other problems.


Selecting a Sealer

Gloss is probably the most important factor when choosing a sealer for an indoor floor. High gloss sealersare very popular but do tend to show dirt more readily than satin gloss products. Solvent based sealers have a strong odor and if applied indoors, should only be used in well-ventilated areas. Special consideration should be given for basements floors, especially if there is high humidity or a tendency of hydro-static pressure to occur. All acrylic sealers require a concrete wax for maintenance. Wax and Floor Polish can be buffed and adds additional luster to the surface. Waxes should be re-applied once a quarter expect in high traffic areas where more regular spot waxing may be needed. When waxed, concrete floor sealers should be resilient however they will need to be sanded and reapplied after 5-10 years.


Bonus Tip

Decorative concrete floors are very easy to clean. Use a mild dish washing soap or plain water for everyday cleaning. Avoid using steam cleaners or strong chemical detergents as they can damage the wax finish. If you do have damaged areas or would like to strip the wax for whatever reason, Acrylic Wax Stripper can safely and easily remove wax without dulling the sealer finish underneath.


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Successfully Painting a Room beginning to end

Along with any home project, the first attempt always seems daunting and can become frustrating. When it comes to painting a room, figuring out paint brand, brushes, rollers, and so much more can end up being a rabbit hole. We are here to help with a few simple tips that, if followed, should minimize the wasted time, and the countless headaches that could be caused due to your renovation-morphed frustration.

Part one: Materials 

There is an insane amount of paint supplies making up the market. After using many different products, we are confident that most of them get the job done. Listed below are our favorite items that we usually use on each job, just to make things easier on you. If you find something that works even better, let us know.

Part two: Painting tips

Once you have your supplies, it's time to paint. We have broken the process down into nine steps. Not all of them are required for each job, so if they don't apply to you, just move forward.


1. Remove all outlet plates.

Future proofing is always an important variable when painting a wall. In 4 years, you may want to switch out your old plastic white outlet covers for some stainless-steel ones. Size change is possible and to minimize the possibility for unpainted wall to show in the future simply remove your outlet covers during the painting process.


2. Clean your workspace

Make sure the walls are clean by wiping off all the dust or grime with a damp cloth. This step will help minimize the possibility for impurities to be apparent on your wall once it is painted with a fresh new coat.


3. Drop cloth.

Cover the floor with drop cloths. Unless you are looking to start another DIY, definitely don't skip this part. You will fling paint somewhere random, no matter how lightly you paint.


4. Patch and repair walls

Fill any holes or imperfections in the drywall with spackling paste. Wait for the spackle to dry, and then sand it even with the wall using your sanding sponge. That way when you paint over the patch, you won't even see it and it will look good as new.


5. Create boarders with painters’ tape

Before applying the caulking make sure that you have applied painters’ tape. This tape helps not only create straight lines but helps prevent bleeds on different surfaces. Simply apply the painters’ tape, apply caulking, wipe down the excess caulking, while leaving enough to fill the gap and seal the tape to the substrate. If you have areas, such as trim work or ceilings, that you do not want painted, you can use painters’ tape to prevent the paint from getting on those areas. Make sure to press firmly along the edge of the tape to prevent the paint from bleeding underneath. Once you’re done painting, remove the tape while the paint is still wet. If the paint dries onto the tape before you’re done, use a 13-point breakaway knife to cut the tape off. This will prevent the tape from pulling up your paint.

Painters tape

6. Caulking

Use paintable caulk to fill in any gaps between the walls and trim. Put the caulk in your gun, cut off the tip of the caulk tube with scissors, then squeeze it in a straight line along the top of the trim where the gap is. Once finished, use a rag to wipe up the excess. (You can purchase a caulk finishing tool; however, a rag is just as successful for cleanup.) Never skip out on cleanup, this step makes everything look seamless and professional.

caulking gun

7. Prime wall

Prime if needed. We prefer to use a paint and primer in one to save precious time, but if you’re painting over any dark based colors, it is usually good to apply a coat of primer separately before you paint. When priming before painting, we typically use Zinsser or Kilz. Just make sure you get the water-based primer, as you will most likely be using a water based latex paint.


8. Painting (part one)

When it comes to paint, we prefer Benjamin Moore, or (PPG) Pittsburgh Paints. The sheen for each paint should be dependent upon how much traffic the area receives. Flat sheen is generally used in low traffic areas, while Hi-Gloss Enamel has a sleek, radiant appearance that is great for cabinets and trim, high-traffic areas, and high-moisture areas. For more information pertaining to paint choice we recommend checking out Benjamin Moore’s website to help you choose the product right for you. When painting, always begin at the edges of the area. Edging in is when you paint around the corners of the room with a paintbrush. It gets the paint in all of the spots that the roller cannot reach, and it creates a clean line along the ceiling. We use a Wooster brush to paint along the top edge of the trim (unless there is no trim installed), ceiling, and corners.Hold the brush the narrow way, opposite of the way you would usually hold it, and this gives us a really nice straight line where we need it.


9. Painting (part two)

After you are done edging in, use your roller to cover the rest of the walls. Try to cover about a 3-5-foot section at a time, moving the roller back and forth until the section is fully covered in paint. Painting in a 'M' motion will help to prevent roller marks. Keep a wet edge, and work from dry to wet. When the first coat has dried, repeat with a second coat if needed. Once your paint is dry, you're done. 


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