You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 6: Marble Effects on Concrete Countertops. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us. Getting just the right look on countertops can be a challenge so we thought we’d consult with a professional to see what tricks he might have up his sleeve. We sat down with Ken Lazenby with Ken’s Custom Designs based in Krebs, OK to talk about how he creates marble effects on concrete countertops. Learn how he makes builds and creates his concrete countertops.
You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 11: How to Remove Oil Stains from Concrete. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us. One of the biggest challenges to acid staining garage floors, driveways and patios is oil stains in the concrete. Motor or vegetable oil and animal fats if the spill is around the barbeque can be very challenging to remove and unless properly removed will prevent acid stain, concrete stains or sealer from penetrating the concrete. Shawna Turner, General Manager, at Direct Colors joins us to talk about how to successfully dissolve oils in the concrete surface before staining and sealing. Let’s get started.
You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 12: What’s the Best Way to Renew Color on Outdoor Concrete and Pool Decks?. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us. Stamped Outdoor Concrete and Pool Decks look fantastic when first completed but over time the color can fade or worse than that flake off. But not to worry, Direct Colors has a color and sealer solution for you! Shawna Turner, Direct Colors General Manager, joins the podcast today to discuss the best products to easily and affordably renew outdoor concrete and pool decks.
You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 10: What to Do About Carpet Tack Holes on Concrete Floors. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us. We often receive questions about how to fix or hide carpet tack holes on concrete floors. Even with the greatest care, it’s difficult to avoid some damage when removing carpet tack strips from the concrete. Fear not! Direct Colors has a solution that will repair carpet tack holes and actually improve the final floor finish. We sat down with Direct Colors General Manager, Shawna Turner, to find out how to resolve this common decorative concrete problem.
Not all concrete is created equal. Increasingly, ready mix companies are including additives like fly ash in the concrete that can interfere with the acid staining process. With more and more people interested in pouring acid stain ready concrete, we’ve got a few tips and recommendations to make that process easier and more successful. I’m joined by Shawna Turner, General Manager, with Direct Colors to find out best practices for pouring acid stain ready concrete. Welcome, Shawna.
Shawna Turner: Thank you.
What’s the first thing a customer needs to do to get started?
ST: The first thing to do is have a conversation with your general contractor (GC). Make sure he or she understands your plan to acid stain and what that means for the overall construction process. Preparing to acid stain begins before the concrete is poured so it should be discussed with the general contractor in the planning stage.
You mentioned preparing to acid stain before pouring the concrete. What does that mean?
ST: Well, not all concrete is created equal. Depending on where you live, concrete can contain additives and/or fly ash that negatively impact the acid staining process so it’s imperative that you know what’s going in your concrete BEFORE it’s poured. How do you do that? Either the homeowner or their contractor needs to call the ready mix company pouring the concrete to ask for the mix design details. The concrete should not include retarders, accelerators or more than 10% fly ash if it is to be successfully acid stained later. None of these additives are essential but are often used when temperatures are very hot or cold and to cut costs in the case of the fly ash. I’d also avoid using a topical curing compound unless it is self-dissipating and will evaporate within two weeks of application.
That’s very helpful information. What about finishing the concrete? I know that’s also an important part of the process.
ST: You’re right. Finishing the concrete properly will yield better final staining results. The best option for indoor floors or patios is either a hand-troweled or light machine trowelled finish. Stamping or texturing concrete is fine too if you’re working outside. The objective is to avoid making the concrete so smooth that acid stain can’t readily absorb into the pores. If the stain can’t absorb, the chemical reaction will not occur and the stain will simply wash off during the cleaning process. No one wants that to happen. Overly smooth concrete can be corrected using our Hard Trowel Floor Prep product after the fact if needed.
When should a customer plan to acid stain the concrete?
ST: We usually don’t recommend acid staining until the concrete is fully cured or achieves a uniform light gray color. That could occur anytime after 20-28 days depending on weather conditions. The concrete will need to be protected throughout the construction process. Overlapping cardboard works best to cushion blows and absorb spills should they occur. Spills and other contaminants on unprotected concrete only make the home or business owners job that much harder when it’s time to stain. Again, remind your GC to talk to every contractor about not marking the floor or making a mess. Covering the floor can make a big difference but nothing’s better or more effective than a conscientious contractor.
In the case of interior floors, at what point in the construction process would you acid stain?
ST: The best time to uncover, clean, acid stain and seal the floors is after the dry wall has been hung but has not yet been mudded in. Dry wall mud is notoriously difficult to get off of concrete. Staining and sealing before that step is the better option for sure. Once the floors have been stained, neutralized and cleaned, apply one coat of sealer. I prefer the Sprayable Satin Finish Concrete Sealer because it’s so easy to apply and dries quickly. Six hours after application cover again with overlapping cardboard and continue with construction.
At what point should the finishing coats of sealer and wax be applied?
ST: Just before the baseboards are installed, remove the cardboard, clean thoroughly and apply another coat of sealer. The second coat of sealer will repair most minor scratches on the surface and add additional luster. 24-48 hours later apply three coats of concrete wax and allow to dry for 24 hours before moving in furniture. A polyurethane sealer could also be applied after the second coat of sealer if desired. Wax would no longer be necessary in that case. I highly recommend our how to guide on care and maintenance of acid stained floors. Please give that a read before moving in to avoid unnecessary damage to the floors.
AN: Thanks for this essential staining advice for new construction floors. If you have questions, call one of our expert technicians at 877-255-2656 and we’ll help you select the best products and technique for your needs. If you prefer email, send in a free online design consultation and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours.
You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 21: Prepping Concrete for Acid Staining. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us. Prepping concrete for acid staining before getting started is critical to success but how this is done can make or break a project. Here to discuss how to and how not to prepare concrete for acid staining is Shawna Turner, General Manager for Direct Colors.
It seems like surface preparation is the most important step of the process. Can this be a big problem for customers if they don’t do it right?
Shawna Turner: Absolutely. Not all concrete can be acid stained but most can if the concrete is properly profiled using the correct product or method before staining. Determining which method or product is best can be the biggest challenge.
Could you explain what it means to profile the concrete?
ST: Sure. Profiling the concrete simply means to change the surface texture to allow for better acid stain penetration. Profiling can be accomplished by either a chemical or mechanical means. Chemical profiling using an acid stain approved etcher such as our DCI Hard Trowel Floor Prep will open the pores without interfering with the later acid staining process. Mechanical profiling would involve a concrete sander or grinder which might be used on extremely smooth or heavily contaminated floors. For example, floors with glue, paint and drywall mud over most of the concrete should probably be mechanically profiled using a grinder because the cost of a chemical strip would be greater than the cost of renting the machine.
What products should not be used to profile concrete?
ST: That’s a pretty easy question to answer. If the etcher is intended for use with anything other than acid stain, don’t use it. That would include water based stains, sealers, epoxy coats, paint and anything else not specifically called acid stain. Acid based cleaners and etchers used in conjunction with other coatings actually dissolve the minerals in the surface of the concrete necessary to support the reaction between an acid stain and the concrete. Without those minerals, the acid stain will sit on the surface and be washed away later in the cleaning process. So if you have previously cleaned your concrete using a muriatic acid and water solution, the slab will either not stain at all or stain very unpredictably depending on how the solution was originally applied and how strong it was. I really can’t emphasize enough that you’ve bought a concrete etching product from a local big box store, don’t use it if you want to acid stain later. Really that’s the bottom line.
Ok. That is straight to the point. How would a customer know aside from obvious surface contaminants that their concrete needs profiling in the first place?
ST: Most indoor concrete and some outdoor poured in the last 10-15 years was likely finished using a machine trowel. We discuss this in some detail on the first page of our How to Guide for Applying Acid Stain. A simple water test will often reveal whether water will readily absorb into the concrete or bead on top. If beading does occur, the surface needs to etched using our DCI Hard Trowel Floor Prep before acid staining. Basement and garage floors are generally the smoothest floors in the house and will more likely than not require etching prior to staining.
Prepping Concrete for Acid Staining
So what happens next for customers that have used an acid based etching or cleaning product on their concrete?
I’ve used this product at home on my walkways and patio and have been very happy with it. If you are in some doubt as to whether your concrete will stain or not, try an acid stain sample bottle and make sure. It’s always a good idea to test the quality of your concrete regardless and it never hurts to try. You’ll find acid stain samples and samples of all our products on our website.
AN: Thank you, Shawna, for setting us straight on prepping concrete for acid staining. No doubt this will help a number of homeowners avoid a costly DIY mistake. For more information on acid staining floors and outdoor concrete, visit Direct Colors Design Blog or Featured Projects pages.
If you have questions, call one of our expert technicians at 877-255-2656 and we’ll help you select the best products and technique for your needs. If you prefer email, send in a free online design consultation and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours.
You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 19: Calculating Pigment for Coloring Grout, Stucco, Mortar and Plaster. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us. Many of our customers are interested in coloring grout, stucco, plaster and mortar but have a difficult time finding the right colors, especially blues, and small enough quantities. Direct Colors General Manager, Shawna Turner, is here to talk more about calculating for and mixing custom colors in these materials. Welcome Shawna.
Amie Nolen: Calculating pigment for so many different cement-based mixes sounds complicated. Is it?
Shawna Turner: It definitely can be. The difficult part is the fact that very few manufacturers report the product contents on the side of the bag. Usually the technical data sheet will include the amount of cement in the mix but that’ s not always available so we often are forced to make an educated guess that many vary somewhat from product to product.
AN: Why is the amount of cement in the mix so important for getting the color right?
ST:Concrete pigment creates color by coating the cement particles with color so other ingredients are a less important part of the color equation. The pigment needed to achieve a specific color from our color charts is based on the amount of cement only rather than the total weight of the mix. Each mix is comprised of a 3:1 ratio of sand to cement and/or lime. If lime is also added to the mix, the cement and lime should be added together for the purposes of calculating pigment load. Whether you are mixing your own material or using a pre-bagged concrete ready mix, having this basic information can help you to determine how much pigment you need for a project. Because grout, stucco, plaster and mortar are cement, sand and possibly lime mixes containing no aggregate, colors can appear somewhat different in fact than they are on color charts. Testing is incredibly important when working with these materials and will help avoid mistakes.
ST: The calculator most useful for coloring grout, stucco, mortar and plaster is called the Custom Batch Calculator. The Custom Batch Calculator requires two pieces of information – the weight of cement and/or lime in your mix and the pound rating for the color chosen from our concrete pigment color chart. We recommend calculating both for batch size as well as the overall project. For example, if you planned to use one 80lb. bag of stucco mix and wanted to integrally color the stucco to Cornflower. You’d enter 20 lbs. for the cement/lime content and a “1” for the pound rating to calculate the amount of pigment needed for the project which is just under a quarter of a pound (.21 lbs.) per bag.
If you’re calculating for a sample, the pound output from the calculator is likely to be unhelpful so we’ve provided a link to other calculation options at the bottom of the page. For example, say you have about 5 lbs. of cement/lime in your mix and the amount of pigment needed for the chosen color, Royal Blue, is 0.1595 lbs. 0.1595 lbs. is a difficult number to work with so converting lbs. to teaspoons for such a small batch is very useful. Using a conversion website easily found with a search engine, we’ll need 15 teaspoons to achieve Royal Blue in 5 lbs. of white Portland mix. Calculating from lbs. to grams is also a good option. Gram scales provide more exact measurements, especially when measuring small amounts, and can be used for any small or medium sized project.
We also have a step-by-step video describing how to use the concrete pigment calculators that our customers have found very helpful in determining how much pigment to order for an upcoming project.
AN: What about sealing? Is it necessary in all instances?
ST: Outdoor stucco applications should be sealed with an acrylic or penetrating densifier sealer to protect the color integrity from the elements. Some customers prefer a light shine and the easy application our Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer offers, especially for stucco projects. Our DCI Penetrating Lithium Sealer Hardener has a matte finish is perfect for grout projects where gloss isn’t all that desirable. This sealer enhances overall concrete durability and is a one-time application which is super. Sealing for interior projects isn’t necessary but acrylic sealers will deepen color appearance and add some gloss.
AN: Thanks for making pigment calculations for grout, stucco, mortar and plaster mixes easier to understand. If you have questions, call one of our expert technicians at 877-255-2656 and we’ll help you select the best products and technique for your needs. If you prefer email, send in a free online design consultation and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours.
You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 22: A Crazy DCI Concrete Dye Checkerboard Floor! If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us. We recently had the opportunity to provide product to a local tattoo shop project. Isaac Bruno of Mad Tatter Tattoo Shop is with us today to chat about how he created this epic Alice in Wonderland themed red and white checkerboard floor created with DCI Concrete Dye Colors and Tinted Concrete Sealer. See the video of the Mad Tatter Tattoo Shop along with our interview with Issac on YouTube!
“My name is Isaac Bruno. I just opened up the Mad Tatter Tattoo Shop in Shawnee, Oklahoma. I was inspired by Alice in Wonderland. I really enjoyed all of the textures, all of the colors and just the imagination of everything: green trees, red trees and talking animals. It’s always intrigued me and I wanted to do something totally different so this is what I did.
We used a lot of different colors of the DCI Concrete Dyes: reds, olives, bright greens that we were working with as well. It turned out really nice. A lot of the colors we tried to use worked out really well and I really enjoyed using them. I used to airbrush t-shirts and cars and things like that, and this product worked similarly to that. It went on really quick and flashed really fast and it was really simple once we figured it out.
We did the red and white here in the lobby with this crazy checkerboard floor, then I ran it down the hallway with a little pink path and grass and weeds going up the walls. I also added a grass pattern to my room and did a little stone walkway around the chair.
I wanted to do something that messed with your mind, to make it as three dimensional as possible. The regular red and white checkerboard floor has been done before. There are a lot of places that have them. I wanted to add a little motion to the room so we made this floor.
Don’t use a masking tape or anything with a high adhesive. We had to use a low tack tape and we couldn’t leave the tape on there for very long.
One thing I had a problem with is I had to keep shaking the product so I went to the store and purchased a whisk, removed the handle and attached it to my drill. I could easily mix the product and continue my project.”
Basic Red and Basic White DCI Concrete Dye on White Tinted DCI Water Based Sealer
If you have questions, call one of our expert technicians at 877-255-2656 and we’ll help you select the best products and technique for your needs. If you prefer email, send in a free online design consultation and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours. Direct Colors DIY Home Improvement podcasts are produced twice monthly for your enjoyment and show notes can be found at directcolors.com/listen. Feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ , YouTube and Instagram. Thank you for joining us!
Step-by-step how-to instructions on pouring and stamping colored concrete for new construction. See how it’s done before you start your own integrally colored concrete project. Footage courtesy of Link Cowen Homes in Shawnee, OK. For…
You’re listening to DIRECTCOLORS.COM/LISTEN podcast episode number 24. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for coming. I’m Tommy Carter and today we’re talking about acid staining floors during the construction. As acid stained floors have become more popular, homeowners need to know when to acid stain and what to do to protect the finish throughout the construction process. Shawna Turner, General Manager, with Direct Colors is here to give us the scoop on new construction staining projects. Welcome, Shawna.
ST: Thank you very much
Tommy C: What’s the first thing to keep in mind when acid staining floors in a new construction home?
ST: Probably the first thing is to make sure your General Contractor knows and understands that you plan to acid stain the floors. If he or she knows in advance, they can properly direct the ready-mix company pouring and finishing the concrete as well as other building contractors to act accordingly.
Tommy C: What role does the pouring and finishing of the concrete play in successfully acid staining?
ST: If you plan to acid stain concrete, the mix should contain no more than 10% fly ash and should only be lightly machine troweled if at all. The concrete should be rich in cement content and the pores open for the stain to readily absorb and react. As long as the GC knows in advance, these requests should not be difficult or costly to implement.
Tommy C: When should a homeowner plan to acid stain their concrete during construction?
ST: The concrete should be allowed to cure for 30 days for best staining results. If at all possible, the concrete should be stained after the dry wall has been hung but BEFORE it has been mudded in. The reason this is so important is that dry wall mud is a very challenging contaminant to remove from concrete after the fact. Homeowners wishing to acid stain their floors are then forced to spend a lot to time and money cleaning that could have been entirely avoided. Spray insulation is also a problem. Spray insulation should be installed AFTER the floors have been covered with overlapping cardboard. The chemicals interfere with the staining and sealing process and are notoriously difficult to remove.
Tommy C: Just to be clear, could you give us the step by step process from acid staining to waxing?
ST: Sure. That’s a good idea. Once the dry wall has been hung, clean the floors thoroughly using a medium to heavy duty organic degreaser and water solution. All debris, particularly chalk lines, paint, oil stains, dirt and the like, has to be off the surface and out of the pores before you begin. Sanding may be necessary for stubborn debris and staining. When the floors are clean and dry, apply the stain, neutralize and clean according to the instructions. Leave the floor to dry. At this point, you really only want to apply one coat of sealer. I recommend our Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer, especially if you’re working in the winter months. It does have a strong odor during application but can be sprayed on floors freezing and above.
Tommy C: Why just one coat of sealer at this stage?
ST: Even when you cover the floors with overlapping cardboard, damage can still be done during construction. Once the work is complete and the floor cleaned, another coat of sealer can be applied to repair any existing damage and make the floor look brand new again. The sprayable satin finish or AC1315 High Gloss are both solvent-based and have the ability to re-emulsify the acrylic for a smooth final coat.
Tommy C: So what are the final steps after applying the sealer?
ST: After the sealer has been successfully applied, allow the concrete to dry for at least 10 hours before covering with overlapping cardboard. DO NOT TAPE THE CARDBOARD TO THE FLOOR. Tape will bond with the sealer and ruin the finish. Keep the floor covered until construction is complete and the baseboards are ready for placement. At this point, you’re ready to remove the cardboard, clean the floor and apply your final coat of concrete sealer. Allow for 24-48 hours ventilation and dry time before applying the concrete wax and floor polish according to the instructions.
Next step: Enjoy your Floors!
Tommy C: Thank you, Shawna, for that detailed information about acid staining floors during construction. I know it’s a common planning question with our DIY customers. Check out our blog for more on the Care and Maintenance for Acid Stained Floors and other decorative concrete flooring projects.
Tommy C: directcolors.com/listen includes podcasts on many decorative concrete topics so visit our podcast library for past episodes and check back frequently to see what’s new in the world of DIY decorative concrete! Thank you for listening.
If you have questions, call one of our expert technicians at 877-255-2656 and we’ll help you select the best products and technique for your needs. If you prefer email, send in a free online design consultation and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours. Direct Colors DIY Home Improvement podcasts are produced twice monthly for your enjoyment and show notes can be found at directcolors.com/listen. Feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ , YouTube and Instagram. I’m Tommy Carter and thank you for joining us!