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We recommend two coats of stain. For concrete of average smoothness, we suggest one gallon of stain for every 200 sq. feet of surface. If diluted, expand the coverage according to the ratio of water to acid stain dilution. For example, if every one-part acid stain to one part water, your coverage rate for two coats would be 400 sq. feet per gallon. If your project is 1000 sq. feet, you will need 5 gallons of stain to apply two complete coats. More rough and porous outdoor concrete will require more stain so increase your acid stain and sealer calculations by one gallon for these areas.
No, we do not cut our stain with water or dilute it. You will find our stains hold as high a mineral load as we can manage to suspend in the acidic liquid for maximum strength, consistency and stain life.
Yes, our stains can be cut with water without affecting the stain’s performance. Cutting the acid stain with water generally lightens the color but does not impede the stain’s ability to react successfully with your concrete surface. Test areas are recommended to determine the correct ratio of water to acid stain for your project.
No. An acid stained surface is dull in appearance and nothing at all like the attractive sealed finish. Sealer protects the acid stained surface from the elements and from water deposits due to run-off and rain. While acid stain offers permanent concrete color, the shades can fade due to exposure to harsh weather conditions. Sealing the surface both highlights the color and protects the finish from wear and tear over time. Depending on weather conditions, sealers used outdoors must be reapplied every 2-4 years.
Acid staining may not be for every homeowner but most DIYer’s will find the process straightforward and easy to understand. Direct Colors provides a detailed How-to Acid Stain document on the website and with every order. If you have questions about your project, contact a decorative concrete professional at 877-ALL COLORS.
Acid stain is made from naturally occurring minerals and is suspended in an acid/water solution. The colors presented on our color chart are stains at full-strength. Many other colors can be achieved with our acid stains by diluting the product with water.
No, but some acid stain colors (Black and Coffee Brown) have more odor than others. Regardless of the color you choose, the house should be thoroughly ventilated to the outside during the application process and a mask/goggles should be worn at all times. For indoor applications, particularly for occupied homes or basements, water-based sealer should be used to minimize heavy chemical odors in the home. To err on the side of caution, pregnant women and children should not be present during the staining or sealing process.
Every acid stained floor will look somewhat different as slabs vary from one application to the next. However, within a range and given conditions, each acid stain will produce a predictable, rich hue as described on the color chart. Acid stain is not a paint and contains no pigment. Coloration takes place as a result of a chemical reaction between the concrete and the acid stain; therefore, the content of the concrete plays as significant a role in the process as the acid stain.
After acid staining the concrete, an oddly colored residue forms on the surface. The residue is a by-product of the chemical reaction occurring on the concrete. The residue along with any access color will be removed during the neutralization and cleaning process.
A simple solid plastic pump-up sprayer with a plastic rather than metal tip will suffice. Sprayers can be purchased at most hardware stores. The sprayer should be set to mist when applying the spray but the sprayer can be used to create different effects depending on how the stain is applied. For instance, by holding the wand tip closer to the surface, the applicator can create a “pooled” or “veined” look on the floor.
Acid staining is a permanent alteration of the concrete surface. Once the concrete has been stained, change is possible by adding additional layers acid stain colors or by using another topical dye but it will to some degree remain colored.
Acid stained surfaces exposed to the elements will lose their color over time. Outdoor surfaces must be resealed every 2-4 years. To improve the color of a faded outdoor project, Direct Colors offers a tinted sealer to enhance the original surface color. For areas that have experienced very little color fading, resealing with the clear sealer of your choice is the best option.
Deco Gel can be applied with several different applicators depending on the nature of your project. For statuary and similar garden décor, Deco Gel is best applied with a small paintbrush, foam brush or foam sponge applicator. Stir the product well before applying to assure the right consistency for use. For larger vertical jobs, such as a retaining wall, a foam sponge roller, wide foam brush or sponge can be used. Be careful not to leave lines when using a foam roller.
Direct Colors recommends our Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer (SSB) for all vertical and statuary applications. Sprayable sealers are much easier to apply in these types of jobs and have a faster drying time. Also, SSB has a matte or satin finish making it more appropriate for vertical and decorative statuary jobs. If you desire a more glossy finish, apply more coats of SSB to the surface. Unfortunately, SSB is a solvent-based sealer that cannot be used in every U.S. state. Customers living in the following states cannot order Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer: California, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut.
Yes. However, Deco Gel is designed specifically for vertical applications, statuary or for close work on flat surfaces, such as stenciling or free hand artwork. If you do choose to put Deco Gel on your floor, you will find it more time consuming and expensive. The chemicals and compounds work the same in Deco Gel as they do in traditional acid stain. Deco Gel Gelled Acid Stain is perfect for stenciling logos or other close design work on floors.
Generally, waxing your deco gel stain will not be necessary. Wax would only be required if Deco Gel has been used on an indoor floor application. To maintain all other Deco Gel project, simply re-seal once every couple of years to protect the color of the stain and keep it looking great!
Yes! If properly taken care of, Concrete dye will last as long as the concrete itself. However, projects using Concrete Dye and sealed with an acrylic sealer MUST be sealed every 1-2 years especially in high traffic and full sun areas to retain the original color.
Concrete Dye is an acetone-based dye. An acetone-resistant pump sprayer can be used, but when purchasing a sprayer, it is critical that the sprayer is designed to spray acetone. Acetone is a highly reactive liquid that will render most sprayers useless very quickly. Direct Colors Inc. sells a sprayer that is well-suited to applying Concrete Dye and is offered in the “Tools & Applicators” section of our website.
Sealing your surface is a MUST! Projects using Concrete Dye and sealed with an acrylic sealer MUST be sealed every 1-2 years especially in high traffic and full sun areas to retain the original color (indoor applications should be waxed so resealing if properly maintained would not be necessary).
Concrete Dye is shipped to the customer in powder form and must be mixed with Acetone to create the finished product. Acetone can be purchased at most hardware stores by the gallon and is relatively inexpensive. DCI Concrete Dye can be poured using a funnel into the gallon or larger-sized container. DO NOT USE AN ELECTRIC MIXER TO COMBINE THE DYE AND ACETONE!Replace the lid and shake until the contents are thoroughly mixed. Allow the mixture to set for 45 minutes and shake thoroughly again before using. Pour the mixture into your sprayer and apply the dye to your floor. Remember to use the proper safety precautions when using DCI Concrete Dye.
DCI Concrete Dye can be dangerous if not used properly. When spraying the product, remember to wear gloves, goggles and a dust mask/respirator for protection. Acetone does have a chemical odor and if using inside, the area should be ventilated to the OUTSIDE as much as possible. Of course, DCI Concrete Dye should not be swallowed or allowed contact with the eyes. Though it will not cause skin irritation, gloves should be worn at all times. Acetone is a flammable liquid. DO NOT USE ELECTRIC MIXERS OR PLACE NEAR OPEN FLAMES! Always read over safety information before using any chemicals.
Sealing the concrete is a necessary step that preserves the newly colored surface. It is inadvisable to leave any colored concrete project exposed to the elements for more than a few months before sealing. Depending on exposure to the elements, acrylic sealers must be re-coated every 2-3 years.
Direct Colors provides an project calculator that includes per project calculates the amount of sealer needed for every project. For most projects, approximately one gallon of acrylic sealer is needed for every 200 sq. feet or five gallons for 1000 sq. feet to apply the recommended two to three thin coats of sealer. Direct Colors does offer several concrete sealers of with different coverage rates so check the sealer how to guides and product pages for complete information.
Direct Colors offers acrylic, polyurethane and polyurea concrete sealers suitable for any indoor or outdoor project. Sealers can be applied with either an applicator or a sprayer. The method used to apply sealer depends on the type of surface and the variety of sealer used. We offer a range of concrete sealer products suitable for interior and exterior use on patios, driveways, floors or similar slabs. Direct Colors also has a wide variety of matte and glossy concrete countertop sealers available. Our how to guides and product descriptions provide greater detail and should be consulted before making a sealer selection.
For most outdoor applications, acrylic sealers will last 2 years in full sun areas longer when under cover. Check your outdoor concrete thoroughly once per year for uneven wearing. Areas exposed to full sun tend to wear more quickly so spot sealing may be a better option. Polyurethane, Polyurea and Modified Acrylic Urethanes have a longer life outdoor life. Acrylic sealers must be waxed for interior use and if properly maintained, will never need re-sealing. Polyurethane, Polyurea and Modified Acrylic Urethanes will need to be scuffed with a sander, cleaned and reapplied in 5-10 depending on the product. Following proper floor care and maintenance recommendations will certainly reduce damage and extend the life of the floor coating.
We recommend two thin coats applied first to the North/South and from East /West on the second for acrylic sealers. This allows for faster curing and smoother, better appearance. Depending on the variety of sealer, floor texture and expected use, a third coat may be desired. For all water-based sealers, you must wait 24 hours between 1st and 2nd coats. It is particularly important with water-based sealers to apply THIN coats as thicker coats take longer to dry and may not set-up properly. Product details and how to information on all the concrete sealers we offer can be found on the main concrete sealers page.
Sealers may be applied in several ways and are specific to the each sealer. Direct Colors recommends several sealer applicators for floor and countertop use. DCI Sprayable Satin Finish , our most popular exterior sealer, and AC-1315 Solvent-based High Gloss Sealer can be applied with either a pump-up fence and deck sprayer available at most hardware stores. Consult the how to guides and product details for each sealer for complete application instructions.
Water-based acrylic wax is easy to apply and key in preserving the bright appearance of indoor decorative concrete sealed with an acrylic sealer. Both residential and commercial waxes protect the integrity of the sealer and bring out the shine of your colored concrete. Depending on the amount of wear, floors should be waxed once a quarter to protect the sealer indefinitely. For commercial high traffic floors, the commercial wax is applied to the floor and buffed on with a buffer. Floors with heavy traffic should be monitored closely to make certain the sealer is not exposed. Spot waxing is also an option. Both of our wax products can be applied with an ordinary sponge mop with a wringer attachment. No more than 3-4 thin coats of wax should be applied at any time. Floors sealed with polyurethane, polyurea and modified acrylic urethane sealers do not require waxing but can be waxed if desired. Good floor maintenance is the key to longevity with decorative concrete floors. Avoid harsh chemicals when cleaning to avoid damaging the wax or sealer finish. Water or a mild soapy water solution is all that is required for cleaning. Do not use floor steamers.
Wax does not replace the need for sealer on your decorative concrete. Sealer penetrates deep into the pores of your concrete, protecting the surface and maintaining your concrete’s true color. Unlike sealer, wax is a topical application that’s designed to protect and augment the finish of a sealer. Acrylic waxes actually protect the sealer while the sealer protects the concrete surface.
Wax gives the surface a shiny, brighter appearance. The wax is a necessary part of the indoor decorative concrete process extending the life of your floor while enhancing the color and beauty of the surface.
Our acrylic based wax forms a cohesive matrix of acrylic across your surface. This hard layer of acrylic will serve as a barrier between the daily wear and tear and your sealer.
DCI Acrylic Wax dries quickly but allow for at least 2-3 hours between coats. Test the waxed surface by applying pressure to the floor. If no impressions appear on the floor, your room is ready for foot traffic. Wax should not be used for outdoor surfaces.