Concrete Floor Staining and Sealing
Concrete is a highly durable and versatile material for flooring in both homes and commercial buildings. It can be stained almost any color you can imagine, resurfaced in all kinds of textures and finishes, and polished for an elegant, gleaming look. Treated concrete flooring is perfect for basements, garages, or industrial buildings because it’s long-lasting, easy to clean/maintain, and looks sophisticated and stylish. It can even work well in kitchens, entryways, bathrooms, and other high-traffic areas of a home that get dirty easily.
If you have concrete subfloors and have decided you’d like to have them stained and sealed, make sure to hire a licensed, insured contractor to do the job properly. Great Guys Painting can connect you with expert painting contractors in your area who provide a wide range of concrete staining and sealing services. Just one click is all it takes to get free quotes in just minutes!
Acid Stain & Epoxy Concrete Floor Coatings
Treating a concrete floor can not only improve its appearance but also its durability. But there are several methods to choose from when it comes to treating concrete and it can be hard to decide which is best for you. Following is info on the most popular methods of concrete floor finishing:
Concrete flooring lasts forever, is easy to clean and maintain, and, if properly treated, looks fantastic. With all that going for it, it’s no wonder that concrete is popular for both residential and commercial usage. Beyond traditional applications, like the basement and garage floors, homeowners are increasingly turning to concrete for other busy areas like kitchens, bathrooms, and foyers. And with its versatility and durability, concrete flooring is enormously popular for all types of businesses, including bars/nightclubs, offices, warehouses, stores, schools, and industrial operations. Decorative concrete can incorporate all kinds of visuals including logos, mascots, and any pattern you can envision.
Acid staining is a concrete floor finishing technique that can add deep colors and myriad textures. The stain is a mixture of water, hydrochloric acid, and acid-soluble metallic salts which react with the calcium hydroxide in the concrete, allowing the salts to penetrate and create long-lasting color. Many different “faux” looks can be created with acid staining that imitates everything from wood to marble to leather. This technique works best with concrete that has not been primed or sealed, but if your floor is already treated, it’s possible to add a thin layer of concrete and acid stain that surface.
Water-based stains are made of a blend of acrylic polymers and pigments that are suspended in water. The water soaks into the concrete which absorbs the pigment to create long-lasting color. Because there is no chemical reaction, like with acid staining, the color tends to be more uniform, but it can fade over time with repeated exposure to water when washing. The stains come in black and white, if that’s your palette preference, metallics, or can be mixed or diluted to create custom colors. They are also easy to apply via a variety of methods including sponges, brushes, or sprayers.
Another option for finishing a concrete floor is an epoxy coating which combines polymer resin and hardeners to create a chemical bond with the concrete. It comes in a wide range of colors and finishes and can create just about any look. Epoxy-based systems result in hard-wearing, good-looking floors that stand up to heavy foot traffic, are easy to clean, look great, and can be finished quickly. Epoxy-coated concrete flooring is especially popular with businesses that desire a modern, high-gloss look including restaurants, stores, and offices. It is also perfect for garages as it stands up well to wear and tear.
Acrylic sealer is either water or solvent-based and is used to protect and enhance colored concrete. It is applied in a thin layer that protects the concrete from chloride and from water. But unlike epoxy, acrylic allows moisture to escape, making it a little less hard of a sealer. The finish is available in different sheens, ranging from matte to high-gloss. It dries quickly (within an hour), can be used both inside and outside, and is highly affordable. To make the decision about which to go with—epoxy or acrylic—you’ll need to consider your budget, timeline, and usage.
How Professionals Stain and Seal Concrete Floors
Refinishing concrete flooring is a job many experienced DIYers might think they can tackle over a weekend. But it’s a nuanced process that presents many opportunities for mistakes. Rather than live with results that aren’t exactly what you had in mind, it’s best to bring in a pro to handle the job and then enjoy the finished product for years to come.
Following are the steps professionals take to clean, stain, and seal concrete floors in homes and commercial buildings.
Clean & Prep Surface
Concrete can become discolored and dirty over time. To begin the staining process, the flooring must first be cleaned with a concrete cleaner that’s designed to remove grease, oil, paint, mold, and mildew. Hard-to-remove stains will require the use of a grinder to remove the blemishes. And if the surface is very smooth, it will need to be etched with products designed to roughen up the concrete, opening the pores and making it ready to absorb the stain.
Protect the Room
If the team is working indoors, they’ll want to prepare the room so nearby walls and furniture don’t get splashed with the stain, and the workers aren’t breathing in chemical fumes. All furniture will be removed, walls and fixtures covered in plastic sheeting, and windows and doors opened for cross-ventilation.
Grind the Surface
Any differences in texture or appearance of the concrete will become doubly noticeable with the application of stain and sealant. The contractors will want to remove any obvious bumps and rough patches in the concrete beforehand with a hand-held grinder and silicon carbide disk. The grinder will provide a uniform, rough surface ideal for absorbing the stain, as well as removing tough spots from products like car oil or paint. The grinder will also roughen smooth concrete so that it absorbs the color better.
Prepare the Stain
Next, the painters will put on their protective gear and begin the floor staining process. They’ll pour the stain into a sprayer and dilute as directed. They will begin spraying at the edge and spray evenly back and forth from one side to the other until everything is covered. If they’re staining smaller areas, they may opt to mix the stain in a plastic bucket and apply it with either a brush or a roller.
Wet the Surface
To get a textured appearance, such as marbleizing, the pros will begin by spraying the roughened concrete with water. Lightly wetting all of the concrete helps it absorb color more consistently. Wetting certain sections and not others will help the concrete to become more saturated in some areas and not others, creating a marbled pattern as the stain sinks in.
Apply the Stain
To get started, the contractor will test a strip in a hidden area to make sure the color is as expected. Once you’re satisfied with the results, they’ll begin the spraying process. If the goal is a smooth, untextured finish, they’ll spray and then use a natural bristle broom to push the stain into the concrete with small backward-and-forwards movements. Once they get started, they’ll continue until the entire floor is covered, making sure that individual sections aren’t allowed to dry completely and perhaps look different from the rest.
Neutralize the Stain
Once they’re finished, they will allow the stain to sink in. The longer it sits, the more intense the color will be so, depending on the desired effect, it could sit for a few hours to a full day. Then, for acid stains, when it’s reached the proper color, they’ll neutralize the concrete with a solution designed to stop the chemical reaction. The chemical is mixed with water, poured onto the concrete, and scrubbed with a broom repeatedly until the entire floor is covered. Then, it will be rinsed to remove all remaining products.
The final step, once the floor is dry, is to apply a deep, penetrating sealer that will protect the floor and prevent anything from staining it in the future. The sealer could be an epoxy coating or an acrylic sealer, matte or high-gloss, depending on the effect you desire. Indoor and outdoor sealers are different, so they’ll make sure to utilize the appropriate product to finish the job.
Looking for contractors expert in concrete protection, decoration, and finishing? Visit Great Guys Painting to request free quotes from licensed painting contractors who specialize in floor staining and sealing.