You’re listening to Direct Colors Podcast Episode 39 – DCI Tinted Concrete Sealer for Fast, Easy Affordable Floor Renovation. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us. We’re excited to be joined today by a local contractor, Cat Palmer with TCB Construction in McLoud, OK. Cat’s specialty is giving second life to damaged, distressed and downright ugly concrete floors. We frequently feature her floor renovation projects on our Facebook page and website. She’s here to tell us about the products she uses and the magic touch she brings to her work. Let’s hear from her how she gets the job done! Welcome to the podcast, Cat.

CP:  Thanks for having me on today.

ST: Tell us a bit about yourself and your company, TCB Construction.

CP:  In 2003, I started my business as “Creating Concrete Designs” focused on decorative flooring; however, with much success and growth a name change was necessary to accommodate all the services TCB Construction now offers.

ST:  So, Cat, you’re known for taking on troubled concrete floors and turning them around. Tell us how you do your floor renovation projects.

CP: Years of practice (haha)… but I do have a special eye for turning troubled concrete floors around. I’m not afraid to turn troubled floors into a beautiful statement. I like the challenge, and with each one I grow in knowledge in the field. In this line of work, one must be willing to try new things, and not afraid to tackle any job, no matter if it’s a new slab of concrete, an old dilapidated and cracked floor, or a horrible mess that needs major rehabilitation. My knowledge of the many different chemicals and materials, and how they work together, is also a key to our success.

Tinted-Sealer-Floor-Renovation

Floor Renovation Projects Featuring Tinted Sealer and DCI Concrete Dye

ST:  What recommendations do have for DIYers with difficult floor or patio remodeling projects to help them get the best possible results?

CP: Everyone has a dream picture they find on the web; however, you have to keep in mind no two floors will ever be exactly the same when recreating. My advice is go in simple and follow the steps “exactly to a T”. Always test the concrete slab before moving forward with deciding on product to use. If a concrete slab already has product down, be sure you remove any product and clean the substrate thoroughly before adding any decorative concrete products and chemicals. Omitting critical surface prep steps can create bigger issues to overcome later. If you have ideas about the finished look, such as a picture from the Direct Colors Photo Galleries, share that with the Direct Colors staff or with your contractor to help them select the right products and give the best application advise possible for your project.

ST:  What are you favorite Direct Colors products to work with?

CP:  There are three different Sealers that I like working with. The water based sealer is odorless and it’s an easy application. I love the shine that the AC 1315 high gloss sealer gives but I do not recommend just anyone use this sealer, especially if one is going to be staying in the home during the project.

Concrete can be mixed cheaply with additives added which can result in spackling and chipping of the concrete in due time; but, the durability and appearance of the DCI Lithium Penetrating Hardener Sealer adds great protection and strength to the concrete and brings a great natural look to the surface protecting the concrete for many years to come.

When working with different color applications, for example, Tinted Water Based Sealer and DCI Concrete Dyes.  Each product comes in an array of colors and when used correctly delivers a beautiful outcome for any slab of concrete. Tinted Sealer and Concrete Dye color applications are my go-to for any concrete slab.

ST: Finally, there aren’t a lot of women working professionally in the decorative concrete contracting. What words of wisdom would you offer to women considering working as a contractor for a living?

CP:  Be confident in your knowledge and skill. I think woman make better Decorative Concrete Artisans because they are more in-tuned to the necessary prepping steps and how valuable these steps are to the outcome of the project.

Be prepared to take a chance. Hold your head high, hands on your hips and know that your decorative concrete artistic skill is a gift! They can always reach out to me or Direct Colors for support. Always ask first, if not sure. I love the support I get from the staff at Direct Colors. After 15-years, my knowledge has reached a level of Master Artisan; however, it is just as challenging as it was in the beginning. I Love this about this profession always creating a new floor master piece or correcting a trouble floor. Every job opportunity with Decorative Concrete is as it was in the beginning, gut wrenching until the final sealer goes on. If you follow the necessary steps, and be precise, taking a chance can only be good and you will grow in knowledge and confidence with each floor completed. Concrete Art – turning concrete into a beautiful floor!

ST: Thanks for those words of wisdom both on turning around difficult concrete floor renovation projects and to women considering decorative concrete contracting for a living. 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 Tyler Thompson and thanks again for joining us!

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.

Amie Nolen:

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.

AN:

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.

AN:

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.

AN:

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.

AN:

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.

AN:

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.

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 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.

Amie Nolen:

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.

AN:

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.

AN:

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.

AN:

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

Prepping Concrete for Acid Staining

So what happens next for customers that have used an acid based etching or cleaning product on their concrete?

ST: I would recommend either Tinted Concrete Sealer or a Tinted Concrete Sealer and DCI Concrete Dye combination to create more color variation and movement on the floor similar to an acid stain finish. If you’re working with outdoor concrete, I suggest our Liquid Colored Antique and Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer. We have a wide color selection and it is extremely easy to apply.

 

Acid Staining Prepped Concrete

Acid Staining Prepped 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.

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 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!

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!

 

 

 

You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 35: Decorative Concrete Floors and Patios for Pole Barns and Metal Buildings. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for listening.  Continue reading

You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast episode 31: Fast, Easy Basement Floor Color Options.  We’re talking about finishing basement and interior concrete floors in the fastest, easiest and more cost effective way possible. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for listening.  I’m Tommy Carter, Sales Manager and Technician with Direct Colors.

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You’re listening to DIRECTCOLORS.COM/LISTEN podcast episode 30, Advantages of Decorative Concrete Floors after Flooding or Water Damage.  If this is your first time listening, then thanks for listening.  I’m Tommy Carter, Sales Manager and Technician with Direct Colors.

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