Concrete floors

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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