As can be seen in the
photos below, acid staining transforms an ordinary concrete slab into
a unique and beautifully imperfect floor. No two floors are
ever alike because every slab absorbs the color differently. Because
the original concrete may have been poured from different batches
even if poured at the same time, color differences may be evident from
one room to the next – or even from one side of the same room to the
other! The stain process will render varying degrees of intensity
creating multi-hued color variations that looks perfectly aged.
Therefore one should expect variability, not uniformity. Staining
achieves beauty in an "Old World" imperfect way.
Without getting too technical, the acid staining
process is effected by creating a chemical reaction within the
concrete. Acid in the solution opens up the pores of the concrete, and
metallic salts, also present in the solution, react with lime, an
ingredient of cement. Because it actually creates the color IN
the concrete as opposed to ON the concrete, it will not peel
and the color is permanent. It may fade or dull slightly, but it is
there for the life of the concrete.
Scoring or cutting shallow lines in the
concrete, often in a large square or diagonal "tile" pattern, is an
attractive option for acid stained floors. The score lines can
be grouted (i.e. filled) if desired, but are usually left open, for
mortar grout is one of the things most consumers find least attractive
- and troublesome! - about tile.
Additionally, Surface Systems uses a special saw blade designed for
scoring which creates a square groove. This effect is much more
that produced by an ordinary narrow blade, which produces a shallow "V" type of cut.
Acid stained surfaces are usually sealed to
enhance the color and to prevent staining of the unwanted
kind, e.g. from spills and such. There are pros and cons to the
different types of sealers. Solvent-based sealers increase the depth
and intensity of the color and are fairly glossy. When the application
calls for a solvent-based sealer, we suggest
using a 100% acrylic ‘breathable’ sealer specially formulated for use
on stained concrete.
On the other hand, concrete dyes also
provide permanent translucent penetrating color to the concrete.
Unlike acid stain, dye does not chemically react with the concrete,
and thus can be more predictable. They are generally more vivid
in color as well, but can be diluted to soften or lighten the tone.
They can be combined with other colors to produce custom hues in
mottled and variegated effects. Dyes can also be applied to
produce a more monotone effect.
Once the desire color effects have been
achieved, the floor is sealed, usually with two coats of solvent-based
sealer. Following that, we strongly recommend a wax application
to serve as a "sacrificial layer" for foot traffic to extend and
maximize the life of the sealer.
We also offer a water based urethane which
offers a softer sheen and perhaps a more natural look with less
intensification of the color. Urethane sealers are more durable than
acrylics. Acrylics are less expensive and easier to apply and re-apply
than urethanes. Most competitive bids will contain an acrylic sealer
but they are not always the best for the job.
Please note that all sealers are subject to wear
and do need to be reapplied over time, depending on the type
originally applied, amount of wear, care, etc. Our professional staff
can suggest the proper sealer for your project.
Regardless of your architectural style, when
properly done acid staining or dyes blend well into almost any setting. The
professionals of Surface Systems stand ready to assist you in creating
a beautiful, durable and affordable floor in your home or business!