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 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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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 DIRECTCOLORS.COM/LISTEN podcast episode number 26, Successfully Staining Older Concrete. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for listening.  I’m Shawna Turner, General Manager with Direct Colors. This week our Senior Sales Manager and Technician, Justin Richardson, joins us to talk about how to get the best staining results out of an older concrete slab. You may have seen Justin featured in two videos covering this topic on our website, Facebook and YouTube. He’s got some great ideas to share with you today so let’s get started. Welcome to you, Justin.

Justin: Hi Shawna. Thank you.

Shawna T:  What challenges should customers expect when staining older concrete?

Justin: Those challenges will vary depending on whether the project is an indoor floor or outdoor concrete. Interior slabs become harder and denser over time requiring either mechanical or chemical profiling to open the pores and allow the acid stain to readily penetrate the concrete. DCI Hard Trowel Floor Prep is a safe, easy to use product for chemically profiling concrete floors. This will give your best acid staining results on older concrete especially concrete where water does not soak easily into the concrete. Older outdoor concrete will erode over time with exposure to the elements losing some of its surface “cream” which is essential to successful acid staining. If you do have exposed aggregate or sand, that does not mean you can’t acid stain but you may want to apply topical concrete stain like our Liquid Colored Antique to enhance the color after the surface has be neutralized, cleaned and dry and before sealing. Take an honest assessment of your concrete before staining to make sure you have the products you need to do the best job possible.

Shawna T:  Which products do you most commonly recommend for older concrete projects?

Justin: There’s no reason you couldn’t use acid stain on older concrete. It’s one of my personal favorites because it permanently changes the color of the concrete and our customers use it all the time. Sample testing on the slab with proper surface preparation is very important for older concrete projects to make sure you’re going to get the color results you’re looking for. It’s more difficult to achieve a marbled acid stain look on heavily textured, weathered, or rough exterior concrete. Consider using two colors to create more color contrast and movement on the slab. If sand or aggregate is a problem, another option for really beautiful results is the Liquid Colored Antique after you’ve applied the acid stain. After completing all the acid staining steps, apply the antique to dry concrete in a contrasting color to darken the color or accentuate features like cracks enhance appearance. It’s very easy to use. Shake very well, pour into a Fence and Deck Sprayer and apply. Please see our video of a similar application on our website.

Shawna T: What application techniques would you suggest to enhance the finished look and overcome imperfections?

Justin:  I have a couple of suggestions. On interior slabs, no matter what you’ve get color variations on the concrete even if you apply a saturating even coat of acid stain. Existing imperfections in the concrete will not be hidden by acid stain but sometimes those imperfections will work to your advantage instead of against it. Our acid stains, particularly the Coffee Brown, can be diluted with water for the first coat and applied full strength for greater color and texture variation. Older, weathered concrete could definitely benefit from using Liquid Colored Antique to improve the color outcome.

Shawna T: What advice would you offer customers about sealing older concrete and which sealer would you use?

Justin:  When it comes to sealing concrete, you have options. Direct Colors offers both solvent and water based acrylic sealers. Solvents are easier to apply and always make the color “pop” more but because of odor, you have to be very careful about using them indoors. Solvents can also be applied anywhere above freezing and under 85F. Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer is our most popular outdoor sealer and Krystal Kote High Gloss Water Based for interior. Water based Sealers are preferred for indoor use for their low odor but they can’t be applied below 60F at any time. Acrylic sealers are by far the easiest sealers to apply indoors or out and comprise about 90% of the DIY homeowner market for that reason. Please check out our range of sealers on our website and consider your gloss expections as well as the location of the project carefully before selecting a sealer.

Shawna T: Any final thoughts for our DIY audience?

Justin:  Don’t let a project intimidate you. Start small with a patio or an office. Don’t rush or short cut the process. Follow the instructions and sample test on the slab you intend to stain. Take you time. It’s kind of a fun process. Take advantage of the customer services available at Direct Colors. If you prefer not to call about your project, send us a free online design consultation and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours. If you would like to call at 877-255-2656, we have technicians on duty M-F, 8:30-5pm. We’d be happy to visit with you about your project and recommend the best products for your use. We want you to be successful so get in touch!

Shawna T:  Thank you for joining us today, Justin, and for the helpful advice on staining older concrete. Many of our customers have projects like this and are afraid the results won’t justify the work or expense. I hope we’ve changed some minds with this podcast and our listeners will give patio or porch project a try!

To watch Justin’s Staining and Sealing Older Concrete How-to Videos, visit our youtube channel or the how to videos and guides page of our website, www.directcolors.com.

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!

Tommy C: You’re listening to DIRECTCOLORS.COM/LISTEN Podcast Episode 27, How-to Successfully Acid Stain Side by Side Concrete Slabs Poured at Different Times. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for listening.  I’m Tommy Carter, Sales Manager and Technician with Direct Colors. It may sound odd that concrete poured at different times would not acid stain the same but if you’ve added on to your patio, interior floors or driveway, this podcast is worth the time spent listening! Here to tell you more about why and how to get the best results from your next DIY project is Shawna Turner, General Manager with Direct Colors. Welcome to the podcast, Shawna.

Shawna T:  Thank you.

TC:  Let’s get started. So why does it matter if side by side concrete slabs are poured at different times if you’re planning to acid stain?

ST: Acid Stain is a chemically-reactive stain not just a topical colorant. The stain relies on the minerals available in the concrete surface to react properly and develop the variable, rich color acid stain is known for. Concrete is not mixed exactly the same way every time and the mineral content can vary substantially from one batch to another.  Concrete finishing, especially if a machine trowel is involved, can alter acid staining results dramatically from one floor section to another as well. Keep in mind that exposure to the elements can impact color development on older outdoor concrete slabs. In addition, concrete patches will also stain differently from the surrounding concrete and should be given special consideration before beginning a project. More to this subject than you thought, I suspect.

TC:  For sure!  What recommendations would you make for indoor floors poured separately or patched due to plumbing problems or for carpet tack holes for example?

ST: For indoor floors, making sure the profile is the same across the slab is important. Whether you choose to mechanically profile the floor using a sander or chemically profile with our Hard Troweled Floor Prep, do the same thing everywhere. I recommend reading over page one of our How to Acid Stain Concrete Guide to determine what process will yield the best results for your concrete before beginning. As for concrete patches, they can be tricky particularly if they are in a conspicuous area of the floor. Patches should be sanded flush with the floor before staining. For best results, I would stain and neutralize the rest of the floor first leaving the patch to be stained afterwards so it can be more easily color matched by carefully controlling the stain’s activation time.  Once the patch achieves the same color as the floor, neutralize the stain and move on to the cleaning step. Spray both the patch and the floor with water from a handheld spray bottle to determine when the matching color has been achieved prior to neutralizing.  Keep in mind that we offer topical stains, such as DCI Concrete Dye and Liquid Colored Antique Concrete Stain, to touch up or further accent any difficult areas so don’t worry, there’s more than one path to a beautiful floor.

TC:  That’s good news. What about outdoor concrete?

Many homes have patio and driveway slabs poured at different times. If you want the concrete to be as close to the same color as possible, I suggest applying the stain to the older slab first and leaving it to process for up to 10 hours for maximum color development. The longer concrete is exposed to the elements, the more surface mineral erosion occurs. For this reason, older concrete needs more processing time to achieve optimal color results than a newer slab. After the processing time is complete, neutralize the concrete and rinse so you can get a good look at the color. At this point, apply the stain to the newer slab and leave to process for 2-3 hours.  Using a spray bottle of water, dampen a small area of the old and new concrete and compare.  If it looks like a good match when wet, great. Neutralize and clean the entire slab in preparation for sealing. If not, let the new concrete process for another hour and repeat the test until a color match is achieved. Remember to look at the concrete only when it’s wet not dry. Dry, acid stained concrete does very little to reveal the final color as it will appear when sealed.

TC:  What happens if a color match can’t be achieved with the acid stain? What else can be done?

ST:  As I mentioned before, we have several topical stain options for indoor and outdoor use. I most frequently recommend our Liquid Colored Antique Concrete Stain for patios, driveways and other outdoor concrete. It can be used as a stand-alone concrete stain and often is or as an accent for acid stained concrete. If a satisfactory color match isn’t achievable, Liquid Colored Antique can be applied to blend the colors and create a more uniform final result. Customers often use this to color match on existing stained outdoor slabs where repairs have been made. It’s really an excellent, easy to use product that can renew color, fix problem areas and save customers a great deal of money by avoiding unnecessary tear-outs and refinishing.

TC:  That’s great to hear. Everyone likes to save time and money on home improvement and want to successfully acid stain concrete slabs. Thanks, Shawna, for the helpful tips on how to get the best results when acid staining interior floors and outdoor concrete. I’m sure this will useful information for many of our customers.

DIRECTCOLORS.COM/LISTEN 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+ and Instagram. I’m Tommy Carter and thanks again for joining us!

You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 8: Tips on Converting Patios into Indoor Living Space! If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us. Many homeowners would like to convert their existing outdoor slabs into sun-rooms and enclosed patios but there are a few things to keep in mind about the concrete once the outdoor becomes indoor living space. Shawna Turner, General Manager at Direct Colors, is here with us today to talk more about patio conversions and what to look out for.

Continue reading

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 36: Color Concrete Pavers for Patios, Walkways, Pool Decks and More! If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us.  Concrete Pavers are popular with a DIY homeowner audience because they are affordable, come in so many varieties and can be used for just about any outdoor project. Unfortunately, concrete pavers can lose their appeal becoming faded and dull with weathering and sun exposure over time. That’s when Direct Colors can help! Here to talk about the options for restoring, coloring  concrete pavers for the first time is Direct Colors General Manager, Shawna Turner. Welcome back to the podcast, Shawna.

ST: Thanks, Reagan.

RS:  What are concrete pavers most commonly used for?

Acid Stain Concrete Pavers

Smooth Acid Stained Patio Pavers

ST:  Concrete pavers can be used almost anywhere concrete could be poured. I think the most popular use would be patios and walkways, but we see them included in pool deck and driveway designs, too. Because pavers come in so many shapes and sizes these days, homeowners use them to bring a little variety to their backyards in particular. Now, not all pavers are colored and we often advise customers on what products to use for the color and finish they’re looking for. There’s also a large group of people who are making and coloring their own concrete pavers and stepping stones for all kinds of purposes.  It’s really an increasingly more common DIY home improvement project and we thought we might discuss what our customers are doing.

Acid Stained Concrete Paver Driveway - Copy

Acid Stained Concrete Brick Pavers

RS:  Great. What Direct Colors products do people generally use to color concrete pavers?

ST:  It entirely depends on the project. If you have existing concrete pavers that have lost color over the years, you’d most likely update the color using our Liquid Colored Antique Concrete Stain and seal with our Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer. The antique can be used even on previously sealed concrete which makes it ideal for outdoor refinishing projects. Sometimes it’s not necessary to add additional color to the pavers but simply to seal them and bring back their original appearance. I recommend pouring water on the pavers first to determine if the color is sufficiently revived by the water or will need more color. Wetting the concrete simulates the finish when the paver has been sealed so if you’re happy when it’s wet, you’ll likely be happy after applying a satin gloss solvent based sealer such as the Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer.

RS: What about new concrete pavers? What would you recommend?

ST:  Liquid Colored Antique Concrete Stain can be used for pavers whether new or old. It’s really a great all-around outdoor staining product. However, you can also use the concrete acid stain on new concrete pavers as well. It really looks great on smooth finish concrete pavers where you can get a more typical acid stain look just like what you’d expect on a patio or similar concrete slab. One of the advantages of pavers is you can use multiple colors to create any design you wish. We’ve seen some very creative examples over the years using both acid stain and liquid colored antique.

RS:  What about older concrete pavers that have been degraded by exposure to sun and weather?

Stained Sealed Concrete Pavers

Liquid Colored Antique Concrete Stained  Pool Deck Pavers

ST:  That’s very good question. Even if the pavers have never been previously stained or sealed, the surface may be too eroded to react well with acid stain. No question the Liquid Colored Antique would likely be the better option but I’d strongly recommend testing the acid stain on one of actual pavers if possible to be certain. A good rule of thumb for deciding if concrete is a good candidate for staining is to look for exposed sand or stone aggregates in the surface. If you can see that, especially if it’s widespread, Liquid Colored Antique would be your best bet.

RS:  You mentioned earlier that customers make and color their own concrete pavers. How does that work?

ST:  That’s right. If we have a customer making their own concrete pavers, they will typically color the pavers using concrete pigment. Sometimes several pigment colors in fact.  We have a wide variety of colors so customers can create all kinds of paver patterns and designs.  Pavers in the shape of flagstones are the most popular for walkways and patios I’d say.  You can even use the Liquid Colored Antique as a mold release for pavers or stepping stones to create an antiqued look on integrally colored pavers. Looks great.

RS:  What advice would you offer for customers who have concrete pavers but don’t know what to do with them?

Integrally Colored Concrete Pavers

Integrally Colored Concrete Pavers

ST:  Well, the first thing I would suggest is that if you’re happy with your pavers as they are and would like to keep them in good condition for as long as possible, seal them with our DCI Penetrating Lithium Hardener Sealer. This is a one-time only application that works best on smooth or lightly textured pavers and protects from salt as well as the freeze thaw cycle. It won’t change the color of the pavers but it will preserve them for many years to come. Our solvent based sealers are commonly used to add some shine to flagstones and deepen existing color.

I’d also say that there’s no reason to live with faded and unattractive concrete pavers or tear them out for that matter. Many years ago I had a customer call me from Arizona about his pink concrete pavers. Now there’s nothing wrong with pink but he insisted they used to be brick red but the sun had faded them to pink and his family wasn’t happy. We used the Crimson and Cinnabar Liquid Colored Antique to restore his pavers and made sure they were regularly sealed from that point forward.  We offer samples for all our products and pavers make it very easy to test colors until you get just what you want.

Coloring and Sealing Concrete Paver patios, walkways or pool decks is a relatively inexpensive way to improve the overall look of your home and significantly increase curb appeal without investing a great deal of time, effort or money. What’s better than that?

RS:  Thanks, Shawna.  Who knew there were so many options for concrete pavers – new and old! 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 Reagan Smith and thanks again for joining us!

 

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