What is stained concrete?
Stained concrete uses the concrete slab within a home or business. An acid stain is applied to the concrete and chemically reacts to minerals with varying intensity to create multi-hued color variations and intensities. It has the look of a natural stone at a fraction of the cost. Each floor will react differently to stain so that each project is unique. Other scoring designs and use of multiple colors can make each project customized to the owner’s specifications. Stain concrete cleans easily and stands up to heavy foot traffic with proper maintenance. For those who suffer with allergies, you will find that stained concrete allows you to keep a cleaner floor without all the allergens, pet dander or other items that can get caught in carpet.
We are remodeling. When do you do the floors?
If there is flooring on top of the concrete, that flooring should be removed during the demolition phase. Tearing out tile and linoleum will cause dust. If we are scoring, we should do this at the same time. If there is oil-based paint, we will have to clean with solvents. It’s better to clean those areas before you paint. Other than those projects that include lots of dust or solvents, we can complete your floor whenever it works best for you. We will protect baseboards and walls with tape and paper, but they are not full-proof. If we have to clean and stain after the baseboards have been painted, you might need to touch up some areas. Each floor will vary. We can advise you when it will be best for us to complete the floors for best results.
Where can it be done?
Stained concrete was first used outdoors like patios and driveways. As soon as it was used outside, it found its way inside homes and businesses. Most concrete surfaces can be stained both old and new. We have recently stained a 107 year old concrete slab which took the stain wonderfully. It can be used on new slabs as long as there has been 14 days to cure. Different finishing of concrete (smooth-troweled, light broom) will have different looks. We can stain inside or outside surfaces. We can stain slabs on floors, walls, countertops or anywhere else you might have concrete.
What designs are possible or popular?
We can score the concrete with a diamond blade to achieve many designs. The score line is usually between 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick and deep. It is large enough to get the look, but it is not deep enough to catch lots of dirt. Because we are working with a blank floor, we can score the floor into designs that you like. Borders for rooms or to accent areas can be as simple as just a line or multiple color borders. Square or diamond patterns much like tile are very popular. We can make them whatever size you prefer. A 2 to 3 foot square is very popular. Larger areas, like church sanctuaries, have used 4 to 5 foot squares. We can also score organic patterns like vines or leaves. We can also do a random pattern. Other scoring patterns that have been done are wood plank, herringbone, Greek or Celtic designs, a compass, star, logo or many other choices.
I had another flooring surface on top of my concrete (hardwoods, tile, carpet, linoleum, paint). Can it be stained?
Most concrete can be used after tearing out the older floor and cleaning it. Obviously concrete that has had other flooring will not look the same as new concrete, but it gains character flaws and history. Some flooring will leave a “shadow” of where it has been. We will be happy to show you photos and send you to other stores so that you can see what might happen. We normally do 5 remodels a month on homes that have had other flooring previously, so we have experience in getting the best possible results from these floors.
What are my options for finishes?
There are about four different finishes using sealers, wax or a combination of both. A high-gloss finish is achieved with a solvent-based acrylic sealer. It holds up the best to high-traffic areas. It has the longest life span. The next best life span is from a water-based acrylic sealer. It has a medium gloss/satin finish. If you want a rich satin finish, a wax will be a subtle finish. The last finish is a no sheen solvent-based acrylic sealer. It has no shine, but the sealer protects the concrete and helps pull out the colors. All the sealers can have a mop-on wax to help maintain them.
We are building a new home. When do you come to do the floors?
Each contractor and home builder has their own preferences as to when we should start the floors. We will work with you to accommodate whenever you want us to start. We can come in anytime to do the floors. Having said that, we prefer to score the concrete before the house is framed unless we are scoring a border according to the walls. We normally stain after it is framed (we can also wait for the sheetrock and mud to be completed before starting). We cover the stained floor with paper to protect it until we seal. The floor is sealed after the walls have been painted and near the end of construction.
How do I maintain the floors?
Stained concrete floors are low-maintenance. To clean the floors you should sweep with either a broom or a hard surface vacuum. If something is spilled or just needs to be moped, use warm water. If you need to use soap, use a mild soap like a dishwashing liquid (Dawn, Pamolive, etc.). Strong soaps, vinegar, bleach or other cleaners will strip the finish over time. We suggest using a mop-on wax 1-2 times a year. You mop on the wax, and it dries shiny (no buffing needed). If you don’t maintain your floors, the finish will wear off over time. Depending on how much foot traffic, abuse or other factors (pets, kids, messy friends) the life of the sealer normally last 1.5-2 years. We can come back and reseal the floor, but it is more expensive and requires moving furniture out of those rooms. We can offer a maintenance program for you to take care of all your floor’s needs-feel free to ask.