Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Technical Aspects of Concrete Staining

At Concretestaining.com by Neal Nickel in Austin, TX, we treat concrete floors like unstained wood floors. Anything that could or would discolor, bleach, or stain a wood floor could affect a concrete floor. That is why homeowners, builders, and other subcontractors need to learn the technical aspects of concrete staining to minimize damage to the surface before and after the staining and sealing process.

Please note that we do not pour the concrete slab. We provide essential materials that apply to new construction and coordination of projects. Contact us before pouring your concrete slab so we can send you important technical information.

  • We Share Technical Information to:

    • Concrete Subcontractors (The Most Important)
    • Owners and Builders
    • Framers and Other Subcontractors
  • Concrete Floor Care:

    • The majority of our clients prefer a five-sack mix (3500 psi). Do not use sprayed or dusted-on surface curing compounds.
    • Limit the use of fly ash if possible.
  • Important Reminders:

    • Ensure your concrete subcontractor has enough help to keep ahead of the pour.
    • Do not walk on the slab before the surface is completely dry.
    • Power trowel the surface to achieve a hard, slick, marble-like finish. Some like to burn it. It depends on how dark the client wants the floor.
    • The slab must have a heavy, rock salt finish to achieve a limestone-like, slip-resistant surface outdoors. Make sure your concrete slab has the salt on hand.
    • Concrete is a porous material and is susceptible to discoloration. Do not write on the slab with anything other than a pencil. Metal objects, such as nails, will rust. Also, beverages, grease, food, adhesives, caulks, poly seals, paints, solders, oils, fluxes, wax pencils, and permanent markers will modify the stain.
    • Pressboards and other forms of lumber, as well as insulation and plastic, will modify the moisture content of the concrete, creating a color shift. Resins from the wood will also stain.
    • Warn everyone that the floor will be stained. Do it verbally. Do it often. Signs don’t work.
    • Finish work is a critical time. Paints can bond with the sealer on the concrete floor. It’s a nasty and expensive job to repair.
    • Areas of the floor that are stained must be completely protected. Use Masonite or hardboard (4×8 sheets) to protect it. Overlap the edges; do not tape to the floor. Adhesives in the tape strip the stealer off the floor. Painters can use 24-hour tape and craft paper along the edges and drop cloths to protect the field. The tape must be picked up after a day.
  • Application Procedure

    With new construction, we generally come in right after the dry-in, before sheetrock, masonry, and stucco. Scoring can be done before the walls are up if you wish to have the pattern run under the walls. Otherwise, borders can be cut to mirror the path of the house’s walls. It gives the floors a more finished look. If you choose this, the scoring can be done simultaneously with the staining.

    We need to have electricity and clean water to complete the process. Usually, we score first, then clean and prep the floor for staining (the biggest part), then stain. The final step is the sealing process. Most houses take 4–5 days, depending on drying time. Sometimes less.

    Floors must be covered after staining and sealing to protect them during the final stages of construction. Call us for recommendations.

  • Existing Concrete

    Existing concrete that has been covered with tile or carpet is problematic. Adhesives used to hold these coverings often prevent the stains from penetrating evenly. Carpet tacking leaves divots that need to be patched. These types of projects are bid individually and are costlier.

  • Sealers

    We use the manufacturer-recommended (Kemiko) wax sealers for most of our projects. The wax hardens with time and is most durable for the toughest households. Often a popular choice for vacation homes, these sealers provide a semi-gloss finish and are easy to care for.

    For commercial and restaurant projects, we recommend a silicone-based product that is impervious to the types of chemicals and high traffic problems occasioned by these situations. However, the use of this product does limit color choices.

    We do not recommend the two-step lacquer or acrylic finishes. Although it produces a high gloss and looks great initially, it wears off quickly in high traffic and is high maintenance. It must be redone periodically and may be costly in the long run.

  • Ask Our Concrete Staining Experts

    For more information about concrete staining, feel free to contact us. Our experts are here to assist you with all your concrete staining needs.