New Look for an Office Floor
Featuring Direct Colors Concrete Overlay and Acid Stain
Our office floor needed a new look. We were tired of the warehouse “bare bones” floor and thought that refinishing the concrete would be an opportunity to showcase a few of our best flooring products. For this project, we’ve chosen the following Direct Colors products:
• DCI Concrete Overlay
• Concrete Pigment (Burnished Copper 553-4lb.)
• DCI Liquid Tool Release
• Concrete Acid Stain
• Krystal Kote Water Based Sealer
• Commercial Wax and Floor Polish
Surface Preparation: As with any concrete overlay application, good surface prep is critical. After decades of use our unfinished floor is in need of a thorough cleaning. If you have a significantly contaminated surface, rent a concrete grinder to remove the top layer of concrete and start with the fresh concrete underneath. Overlay requires a clean, abraded surface to properly bond to for best results. We used a wet-dry vacuum to pick up any loose debris after grinding, washed the floor using a light organic degreaser and water solution and rinsed thoroughly before allowing to dry. Get this part right and the rest is smooth sailing.
Mixing the Overlay: Concrete Overlay has a pot life of approximately 30-35 minutes. Adding cold rather than room temperature water will extend the pot life by up to 15 minutes so mix only what you can trowel down in that time. We had one person mixing and one person applying for our 400 sq. ft. project. Using a 5 gallon bucket, a birdcage mixing paddle and a drill motor, we combined the water, mix and concrete pigment. We selected Burnished Copper (543-4lb.) which has been a popular color for us over the years. Pigment color packs are available to make the measuring process easier. We applied an 1/8″ coat and added up to a gallon of water for a thin pancake batter consistency. More of less could be used if applied a thinner or thicker coat. Mix thoroughly on a low speed for 3-5 minutes before applying.
Applying the Overlay: Spray your pool trowel with DCI Liquid Tool Release and begin troweling down the overlay to the desired depth. If you’re overlaying a floor over 200 sq. ft, consider using a gauge rake for a more even coat depth across the slab. Finish with a Magic Trowel for a smooth coat or continue with the pool trowel for more texture. Mist the overlay with water to extend working time if required. We opted for using the pool trowel for a textured finish and allowed the overlay 15 hours drying time before moving on to the next step.
Acid Staining the Overlay: Once the overlay was dry, we were ready to get started with our “experimental acid staining technique.” What experimental technique you might ask? Well, we sprayed down English Red Acid Stain and then placed a plastic drop cloth on the concrete randomly bunching up sections to create different patterns on the floor. The acid stain was left to process on the floor overnight and the drop cloth removed the next morning. The floor was neutralized, washed/lightly scrubbed with a water and degreaser solution and rinsed thoroughly. We had a look while the floor was still wet after cleaning and the design though somewhat unpredictable was definitely interesting. One essential piece of equipment for any interior acid stain floor project is a wet/dry vacuum. If you do not have floor drains, don’t forget the wet/dry vac and a squeegee!
Sealing the Office Floor: We wanted a low odor, glossy sealer for the office floor. Solvent based sealers are far from low odor and really aren’t appropriate for an office environment. We elected to apply the Krystal Kote Water Based Sealer with trim pad applicator. The sealer was very easy to get down and we applied two coats. Each coat was given at least 14 hours to dry before applying the next. See the application instructions for all the details.
Waxing the Office Floor: After allowing the sealer to cure overnight, we applied three coats of commercial concrete wax and floor polish 3-4 hours apart using the same floor trim pad. Soaking the applicator in warm water and shaking out the access prior to applying the sealer really does cut down on streaking and is well worth doing. We let the floor cure for several hours before moving the office furniture back in. We recommend 10-12 hours but sometimes that’s not entirely possible so 6 hours will do, especially if you have fans set up to aid in drying. For best results on high traffic floors, use a high speed buffer 12 hours after the final wax coat. Buffing is not essential but does increase surface durability and shine.
Good Floor Maintenance in Office Setting: Office floors tend to be higher traffic and probably dirtier than residential floors so what can be done to keep them looking their best. First thing is to put a mat under rolling chairs. Repetitive motion, especially in a very small area, will eventually do damage so an ounce of prevention in this case goes a long way. Secondly, regularly scheduled cleaning and wax re-application in the high traffic areas makes a big difference. Most floors require additional coats of wax once every three months. Note when high traffic areas appear dull and apply more wax to avoid unattractive wear spots in future.