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!

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!