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Basements are often the smoothest rooms in a house. So smooth in fact that they cannot be successfully acid stained without pre-application of chemical or mechanical profiling that will help the stain take effect. Pour water on the concrete to see if it beads up for several seconds or instead readily absorbs into the concrete. Beading or poor absorption suggests the surface is too smooth to stain and will need profiling. Most slabs will be ready for acid staining after an application of Hard Troweled Floor Prep. Simply cut the product with water 1:1, spray from a garden sprayer and wash off with clear water after 15-20 minutes. Test again whether water beads on the surface. For excessively smooth concrete, apply the floor prep full strength for optimal results.
Many basements experience water issues as a result of drainage changes, foundation cracks, and unexpectedly heavy rains. Moisture can seep into a basement or come up through the slab as hydrostatic pressure, and these factors ultimately dictate what sealer is best for your project. Inspect your basement thoroughly for seepage of any kind and address that before finishing the basement floor. If you believe you may have high humidity, test by affixing a small sheet of plastic directly to the floor using duct tape and leave for at least 48 hours. If condensation is present under the plastic, select a breathable sealer or cure and seal sealer that allows water vapor to pass through the coating.
Many basement floors have been covered with carpet or paint. All debris including glue, sealer, paint, and drywall mud must be completely removed before acid staining. Mastic Remover and Soy Gel Paint and Sealer Stripper are great low-order products suitable for basement use. Remember to clean the floor thoroughly of all cleanser residue using Concrete Cleaner & Degreaser and then to rinse well before staining.
All 10 Direct Colors Acid Stains may be used for a basement application.
Keeping in mind that many basements aren’t well lit, we recommend selecting a lighter color and avoiding Coffee Brown and Black acid stains as they may make the room overly dark (these stains also have the strongest smell during application and require ventilation to the outside or a respirator to apply).
As with any Acid Stain application, testing to determine which colors or color combination works best in your basement is the best place to start.
Once the residue has dried and the stain has been given at least the recommended minimum time to react, the surface should be neutralized and all debris or excess stain removed in the following manner:
Choosing the correct sealer is the most critical decision for a basement project. Basements often have poor ventilation, which makes solvent-based sealers a poor and possibly dangerous choice.
Solvent fumes can be overwhelming in confined, inadequately ventilated areas. Solvent-based sealers should only be applied in walk-out basements with doors and windows open to the outside and even then exercise caution. Direct Colors offers several excellent breathable water-based sealers for basement applications, including the Water-Based Polyurethane Sealers and Water-Based Acrylic Sealers
Pros: No Primer Required & Easy Application
Cons: Wax Required
Pros: No-Wax Sealer
Cons: Primer Required ( Water-Based Acrylic Sealer)