Concrete floors can be stained in a variety of colors and patterns, even after vinyl flooring is removed. Stained concrete floors outlast typical floor coverings such as tile and carpet. The stains and dyes used on concrete penetrate and react to the lime content in concrete. Stained concrete floors stand up to the heavy use that a busy family can subject to them from traffic and children playing. Stained concrete floors are easy to care for, requiring only damp mopping and occasional polishing.
Mastic and glue that remains on a concrete floor after the removal of vinyl flooring requires complete removal. Any remaining on the floor will prevent concrete stains from penetrating and bonding to the concrete floor. Thorough and complete cleaning will result in a much better appearance when the stain is applied. The hard work, time and attention to the details of cleaning is the most important step in floor preparation.
To begin, scrape up as much of the remaining glue and mastic as possible. Then vacuum the concrete floor to remove debris, paying particular attention to corners and edges.
Scrub the floor using a floor scrubber with an aggressive nylon pad and a solution of trisodium phosphate (TSP) and hot water. Use a wet-dry vacuum to remove the solution from the concrete floor as you progress. Do not allow the solution to dry on the floor. The concrete floor may require scrubbing several times with the TSP solution for complete removal of all the mastic.
The use of muriatic acid is not recommended; the acid reacts with and depletes the lime content in the surface of the concrete. The lime content of the concrete is the element that stains and dyes penetrate and adhere to.
Stubborn areas of mastic can be removed by applying a paste of dehydrated lime mixed with denatured alcohol. Apply the paste to the mastic and allow it to dry. Remove it by scrubbing with a stiff-bristled brush. Use a vacuum to pick up the dust and mastic.
Rinse the area several times with clean water and allow the concrete floor to dry.
Stains for concrete are either acid or acrylic based. Acid-based stains are limited in color choice and may result in a less satisfactory finish on older concrete floors. Acrylic-based stains are available in a larger range of color choice and give a more even appearance to the concrete floor.
Both types of stain are applied by spraying, requiring masking and covering anything that could be damaged by overspray.
Stained concrete floors dry with lighter and darker areas. These variations in tone create interest and beauty. Stains do not produce the one-tone finish that paint does.
Contrasting colors of stain applied over the initial stain produces a different color effect. The designs and patterns that can be accomplished are limited only by imagination. Areas such as an entryway masked off and stained in a contrasting color create interest.
Polish and Shine
Protect the beauty of stained concrete floors with the application of two or three coats of polish. This polish is acrylic based and gives a hard, clear shine.
The polish is applied with a micro-fiber mop. Soak the mop with the polish before beginning to apply the polish to the floor. Apply the polish in thin, even coats.
Polish should be reapplied to the floor every few months, depending upon the traffic on the stained concrete floor.
Periodic machine buffing produces a deeper depth of shine to the floor.
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