Direct Colors Q & A Series answers tough decorative concrete questions for DIYers. Can I successfully acid stain rough and textured concrete floors?
Sealing the Surface
After the surface has been neutralized, cleaned and has thoroughly dried, the acid stained floor must be sealed with an appropriate concrete sealer. Direct Colors offers both solvent and water-based sealers suitable for any concrete project.
Sealers can be applied with either an applicator or a sprayer; however, due to more stringent VOC regulations, some solvent-based sealers are not legal for use in certain US states.
Recommended application methods for machine troweled, ground, or smooth hand-troweled floors:
Textured or broom finished surfaces sealed with a non-sprayable solvent and water-based sealers should be rolled on using a short-nap roller (approximately 1/8”) or less. For best results, use the pan grid to purge the roller of excess sealer and apply with slow, even strokes. Sealer bubbles, should they occur, can be removed with a hair dryer set to cool or a clean leaf blower set to low speed. SSB can be either sprayed or rolled on a textured/broom-finished surface.
Apply 1-2 thin coats of sealer to the surface. Thick coats will result in an inconsistent finish with tacky areas that may not cure correctly. Sealers applied with an applicator should be“pushed on” only. Pulling back with the applicator will result in unattractive sealer streaks that often require stripping to correct. For best results with water-based sealers, soak the applicator in warm water and shake out excess before beginning the application. Depending on the sealer selected, leave the solvent-based sealers to dry for at least 4-6 hours between coats. With the exception of DCI Lithium-based Sealer which has a drying time of 1-2 hours, Water-based sealers should be given up to 24 hours to set-up between coats. If you live in a humid climate or the weather conditions are damp and overcast, give the surface additional time to dry. Do not walk on wet sealer, as it will leave permanent impressions on your surface. Cover your feet with plastic bags to protect your floor’s finish. Do not allow foot or vehicle traffic for up to 24 hours after sealing.
If applying an acrylic-based sealer outside, expect to reseal once every 2-3 years depending on sun exposure and weather conditions.
Basement applications require special consideration when selecting a sealer. Basement floors with water seepage, high humidity or hydrostatic pressure under the slab REQUIRES a breathable sealer, such as the Lithium Sealer/Hardener or DCI Water-based Sealer. Breathable sealers allow water vapor to pass through the pores of the concrete reducing the possibility of future sealer failure. Generally, a water-based sealer would be preferred to a solvent for all residential basement projects because of reduced ventilation and odor migration concerns.