Concrete Polishing / Staining
The Pavilions at the Angus Barn – Raleigh, NC
TRANSFORM PLAIN and DRAB Concrete Slabs, old or new, both Inside and Out!
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Chemical staining creates a one of a kind floor that can not be duplicated. The overall effect lends a warm, inviting feeling with exquisite drifts of translucent color shadings like that of natural stone. Each concrete surface will accept the stains differently based on chemical makeup, age, porosity, mix design, texture, ambient conditions and initial color of the substrate. The stains react chemically at the surface, penetrating and leaving unique permanent color effects. This is a stain, not a film build coating, it will never peel, crack or chip.
Depending on application techniques acid stains can produce a vibrant or muted, multi- hued mottled look satisfying a variety of tastes and styles. Preferably, an inconspicuous area for testing samples is a good idea. Volume of stain needed and color options can be considered at this point. Although, due to the nature of this process, the samples sometimes prove to be deceptive and final results can vary in color. Remember, this reaction is unique to each concrete surface, expect color tones to be consistently inconsistent. Once stained and sealed, a permanent, low maintenance work of art has been created to be admired by many! Be prepared to rejoice the outcome whatever it might be! There are several standard colors available which can be intermixed, layered or diluted to achieve different looks. Please see our color samples page. If a more consistent look is desired, there are other options and products that can be used, but nothing else will produce the character or alluring sensation of an acid stained floor.
The key to success with stained concrete is working with a subcontractor who has extensive practical experience with both the staining of concrete and working with general contractors. We understand your issues. We are professional artists by training and experience. We are also fully licensed and bonded professional subcontractors and have worked on a very wide variety of new and remodel construction jobs. We would be happy to refer you to some of the contractors with whom we have worked who can vouch for our professionalism and integrity.
If acid staining is in your plans for a project, we encourage you to involve us as early as possible to be sure the slab is properly specified. Job scheduling needs to account for stain-penetration time, post-stain cleaning and drying times, and clear seal and waxing times. Even a tiny 100 square-foot job will take four days, due to these factors. It is also important to know how to protect the floor when the other trades are on the site.
Polished concrete is concrete that has been treated with a chemical densifier and ground – honed with progressively finer diamond impregnated grinding tools resulting in a matte, satin or high gloss sheen. Concrete can be colored with dyes, acid stain or other water based colorant systems. The concrete can also be left uncolored for greater durability and less maintenance. Examples of this can be seen at retailers such as Home Depot, Lowes, Costco and Sam’s club. Typically, concrete is not considered polished before 400 grit, and it is normally finished to either the 800, 1500, or 3000 grit level. Stains and dyes are often applied to enhance polished concrete as well as other options such as scoring, creating radial lines, grids, bands, borders, logos and other designs.
Polished concrete is considered a good sustainable design flooring option because it makes use of the materials already present. Most modern buildings are built on a concrete slab; polishing the exposed concrete eliminates the energy and material consumed by applying a floor covering. It is something to consider when building or modernizing towards a more green solution.
Polished concrete floors are low-maintenance, as they are more durable and easier to clean than many flooring options. Its relatively high coefficient of friction can make it non-slippery. Polished concrete reduces dust mite and allergen problems, and does not support mold growth. Anecdotal evidence suggests highly reflective polished concrete reduces lighting needs and improves natural lighting, but as yet there has not been a study to confirm this. Polished concrete flooring is hard wearing and will not chip or dent like softer surfaces such as timber. Mopping with warm soapy water once a week is the only maintenance required. A concrete floor that has been hardened and polished will have an extremely long life expectancy compared to other flooring.
Concrete dyes are becoming more and more popular now that they have become mainstream. The dyes are much more predictable “color wise” than their Acid stain counterparts. They can also be layered and controlled.
How Concrete Dyes Work
Essentially, concrete dyes are translucent, penetrating color solutions. Unlike acid-based stains, they do not react chemically with concrete. Instead, they contain very fine coloring agents that penetrate into the concrete surface.
Most dyes are packaged in concentrated form, allowing flexibility in the end color. They can be used full strength to attain greater depth of color or diluted with water or solvents to produce paler shades or simply a light wash of color. You can also intermix different colors of dye to produce your own custom hues.
When to Use a Concrete Dye
Concrete dyes can further enhance your chemical staining projects and open up a whole new set of design options. The primary reason for using dyes is flexibility to obtain colors not possible with chemical stains. When concrete dyes are combined with chemical staining, there are no limitations from a predetermined color palette.
But dyes have a multitude of other applications as companions on chemical staining projects. Artisans have used them to:
- Enhance stain colors in areas of a slab where the stain is not reacting with the concrete and the color needs to be intensified.
- Add visual texture and depth to a concrete surface or cementitious topping.
- Shift color from subtle earth tones to vibrant hues.
- Build layers of color.
- Soften areas where the chemical stain has produced an overly bright tone.
Concrete Dye Limitations
Dyes, like chemical stains, are intended to enhance rather than disguise the surface. They will not hide cracks, blemishes, or other flaws. Nor will they mask an underlying color. Dyes are transparent, so you really can’t do any color correction with them.
You should also expect variations and inconsistent color with dyes, even when applying them to the same surface. But most people find these variations desirable because they result in a more natural, mottled appearance.
Concrete Dyes – Surface Protection and Maintenance
Although dyes are formulated to penetrate into the concrete, it is still necessary to protect dyed and stained surfaces from wear and contaminants by applying a sealer.
We also apply several coats of floor finish, or wax, to protect the sealer from wear. The sacrificial wax coating acts as a shock absorber to scuffs, scratches, and grime. Plus, it is easy to buff out a coat of floor finish and then reapply more if necessary. As long as the owner is diligent about ongoing maintenance and doesn’t allow the floor finish to wear down to the sealer, dyed and stained concrete surfaces will last indefinitely.
We provide concrete staining and concrete polishing installations serving the Raleigh – Durham area.