Applying acid stain and concrete sealer in the summer months can be challenging especially if you live in a hot temperature climate. Here are a few tips from our own General Manager, Shawna Turner, for outdoor concrete and countertop projects that will help DIYer’s get it right the first time.

Amie Nolen: Welcome to the podcast, Shawna.

Shawna Turner:  Thank you.

What are some of the challenges homeowners face when acid staining and sealing outdoor concrete in the summertime?

ST: Concrete temperature and wind conditions often determine success or failure for an acid stain project. Hot, dry conditions can cause acid stain to prematurely dry before properly reacting with the concrete. But how hot is too hot? Concrete shouldn’t be more than 75-80F for best staining results. Dry, windy conditions can wick the moisture from the concrete leaving a “blotchy” appearance behind particularly when using both light and dark colors.

What can be with our outdoor concrete besides wait until the fall?

ST:  Well, it’s not quite as bad as all that. The most important step for homeowners applying acid stain either late in the evening or early in the morning when concrete temperatures are at their lowest. As the day heats up, so does the concrete and air begins to pass through the surface. When temperatures are cooling, the concrete contracts and is therefore a better candidate for staining or sealing. Keep in mind that direct sunlight and ambient temperature are not the same. Lay a thermometer on the concrete surface and cover with a towel. If after 4-5 minutes the temperature is greater than 80°F, do not stain.

Another valuable tip is to lightly dampen not flood the concrete before applying acid stain to add moisture and prevent premature drying. Premature drying can retard color development and isn’t helpful if you’re working with multiple colors outdoors.

What about sealing specifically? I know hot temperatures can really cause problems. What should customers be looking out for?

ST: Without question, DO NOT attempt to seal in the heat of the day. Colored concrete in direct sunlight, especially dark browns and black, could be several times hotter than the ambient temperature and just a few minutes of sunlight will raise the surface temperature very quickly. If the concrete is too hot, small air bubbles will often appear either during the application or just after. The air bubbles are formed by air rising through the concrete and becoming trapped in the sealer. The bubbles will eventually collapse leaving unattractive concave spots behind. Not very attractive, especially on outdoor kitchen countertops.

Finding the right time of day to apply concrete sealer during the summer months can be a challenge. Sealers, like acid stain, should be applied when the concrete is at its lowest temperature either early in the morning or late in the evening. East facing concrete should be sealed later in the day and west facing early in the morning.

AN:  What time of year do you normally do “maintenance” on your decorative concrete?

ST: Never if I can get away with it! No, I’m kidding. I usually do my resealing in the late spring when you can get a couple of rain free days and if that fails, before winter sets in. Because I live in Oklahoma where the summers are very hot, I seldom attempt to seal my exterior concrete during the summer months. It can be done but most of the time I don’t want to get up that early.

AN: Thanks for the summertime acid staining and sealing advice. I hope everyone will listen in before beginning their projects this summer season. 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. Thanks again for joining us!

You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 13: Acid Staining Basement Floors. Basement floor remodels are fast becoming our number one DIY project here at Direct Colors. We talk to customers everyday about the peculiarities of basement applications and recommend products based on each project’s individual circumstances. Shawna Turner author of Direct Colors How to Guide Acid Staining Basement Floors joins us to talk about basement projects.

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You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 37: Acid Stain Concrete Indoors and Out! If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us.  Acid Stain Concrete is a popular option for both floors and patios but what are the acid stain pro’s and con’s and how do homeowners or businesses know if acid stain is the right choice for their project? That’s when Direct Colors can help! Here to talk about the options for acid stained concrete is Direct Colors General Manager, Shawna Turner. Welcome back to the podcast, Shawna.

ST: Thanks, Tyler.

TT:  So, what are the advantages of acid staining concrete floors and patios?

ST:  Without question acid stained concrete makes outdoor concrete look beautiful and increases your home’s overall curb appeal.  Acid Stain is a chemically-reactive stain that permanently alters the color of the concrete which is particularly beneficial for patios or other outdoor concrete exposed to weather and wear over time. As for concrete floors, I think our customers probably appreciate the ease of cleaning and low allergens the most over time, especially if they have pets. Every acid stained floor application is unique and really gives your home a stunning look without being ridiculously expensive.  Acid Stain, Sealer and Floor Wax are a very durable flooring system that will give you many years of use without refinishing or stripping.  I stripped out the carpet in my home about 7 years ago because of allergies and I was just sick of carpet in general. I used DCI Concrete Overlay to create some texture on the floor, acid stained with Shifting Sand Acid Stain, highlighted with Sorrel DCI Concrete Dye and sealed with both DCI Water Based Sealer and finally, the 550 Glossy Polyurethane. My floors still look great and I’ve never done more to clean them than a mop and a very light dishwashing soap and water solution.  A huge improvement over carpet I can tell you!

Acid Stain Concrete Floors

Acid Stain Concrete Floors

TT:  Since Acid Stain is a chemically-reactive stain, I would think the quality and condition of your concrete would be important. How do you know if acid stain is a good choice for your project?

ST:  That’s a very good question. It’s true that not all concrete is a good candidate for acid staining. Sometimes concrete floors, especially in basements and garages, are too smooth to acid stain and need to be profiled or in the case of outdoor concrete, patios are too eroded to get a good reaction with the stain. We have a comprehensive guide on our website to help DIYer’s determine if their concrete is ready for acid staining or not. The first page of the guide has a short list of questions and tests that if followed, significantly reduce the chances of problems during the process. We also have guides acid stain concrete guides specific to our most popular projects, including patios, basement floors, concrete floors and garages. We try to provide design tips and product recommendations to our customers that will help them get the best results with the least aggravation possible. Of course, doing a test area on the actual concrete first using acid stain samples does confirm whether the acid stain will react well with the concrete or not and we highly recommend testing before ordering product for the larger project.

TT: That makes good sense.  If I were a first-time DIY’er starting with a small acid stained concrete floor or patio project, what would you recommend?

DIY Acid Stain Kit

 DIY Acid Stain Kit for Homeowners

ST:  Most of our DIY homeowners begin with a patio or possibly bathroom acid stain concrete floor project. Both are manageable in size and scope for most handy individuals. With this in mind, Direct Colors created the DIY Acid Stain Kit for Homeowners that includes all the tools and products needed to complete a 200 sq. ft. indoor or outdoor acid staining project. In fact, we just recently finished a brief video describing the kit contents and how to use them. I’d encourage new customers to check out that video to get a better idea of what’s needed for the project. If you have a slightly larger patio or floor, we also have a DIY Acid Stain Kit Add-on that has the cleaner, neutralize, acid stain and sealer for an additional 200 sq. ft. available as well. That’s handy.

TT:  We haven’t really discussed sealer options but how would you choose between the sealers available in the kit?

ST:  As a general rule, I recommend using water based sealers indoors and the Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer outdoors. Water Based Sealers, either high or satin gloss, are low odor and can easily be applied even in an occupied home or basement with little ventilation. Having said that, we do have a number of customers that really want a wet-look, high gloss sealer and prefer to use our AC1315 High Gloss Solvent Based Sealer. That’s fine as long as there is excellent ventilation to the outside during application and the customer is wearing a respirator to apply. Safety first! AC 1315 can also be used outside but I’d reserve that for heavily textured, porous or stamped concrete. Our Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer is a better choice for smoother outdoor concrete, especially around pools or on any surface that could become slippery when wet and that includes garage floors.  This sealer looks great, is very durable and won’t turn your concrete into an ice skating rink when wet which is very important to most homeowners.  Now if you’d prefer a matte concrete finish, the DCI Penetrating Lithium Hardener Sealer can be used on floors or outdoor concrete and is a great deal on patios, driveways and garage floors in particular because it’s a one-time application sealer and very salt-resistant. For folks living in very cold climates, that’s a valuable selling point for sure.

TT:  That’s extremely helpful information and will no doubt inspire DIYer’s to get started with their first decorative concrete project. Don’t forget to check out our new video, Unboxing a DIY Acid Stain Kit, on our website, directcolors.com, or on youtube. If you have questions about your project, 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 Tyler Thompson and thanks again for listening!