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Concrete Basement Flooring Options

Fast, Easy Basement Floor Color Options

You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast episode 31: Fast, Easy Basement Floor Color Options.  We’re talking about finishing basement and interior concrete floors in the fastest, easiest and more cost effective way possible. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for listening.  I’m Tommy Carter, Sales Manager and Technician with Direct Colors.

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Flip Houses for Less

Remodel and Flip Houses for Less

You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 32: Remodel and Flip Houses for Less with Decorative Concrete.  If this is your first time listening, then thanks for listening.  I’m Tommy Carter, Sales Manager and Technician with Direct Colors.

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Azure Blue Acid Stain Color

Bathroom Remodeling is a Snap Acid Stains

You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 33:  Bathroom Remodeling is a Snap with Decorative Concrete.  If this is your first time listening, then thanks for listening.  I’m Tommy Carter, Sales Manager and Technician with Direct Colors.

Tommy:  If you’re thinking of starting a home remodeling project but are overwhelmed by the idea of tackling your whole house, why not begin in the bathroom? Bathrooms are an ideal size for a first time project and our General Manager, Shawna Turner, is here to discuss why and tell us how to get started. Welcome Shawna.

ST:  Thanks, Tommy.

Tommy: So why is a bathroom remodel such a good introductory project for homeowners?

ST: As you mentioned before, it is often the smallest room in the house so refinishing the floors or bathroom vanity doesn’t seem like such a daunting task. We had a customer a few years ago with a particularly challenging bathroom remodeling project. He had basically gutted the room and was starting from scratch. The floor was heavily stained and in such terrible condition that after some discussion, Mr. Thomas decided to use a concrete overlay to create a brand new floor surface.  A wise decision in this case. The floor was less than 50 square feet so he only needed one box for the project and after watching our videos and reading over the how to application guide, he felt ready to proceed. I think the results speak for themselves.

Bathroom Floor Remodel
DCI White Concrete Overlay with Diluted Coffee Brown Acid Stain

Tommy:  How would you say decorative concrete compares to other interior design options?

ST:  It’s true that there are a lot of options out there. I know Mr. Thomas appreciated the ways in which he could customize his overall design outcome. For example, he chose our white DCI Concrete Overlay and followed with various dilutions of Coffee Brown Acid Stain. Though we offer white in both our overlay and countertop mix, white concrete can be difficult to find locally. Mr. Thomas selected that option because it provided the color contrast that complemented the other elements of the bathroom well. Here’s the review he later posted on Direct Colors Facebook page:

“I had what I called, “a botched job” at an attempt to stain my floor. I panicked and contemplated vinyl flooring. I called your toll free number and you recommended that I start over with a concrete overlay and apply diluted acid stain in various ratios based on my intended design. I really appreciate your patience. The floor came out far better than I could have ever imagined. My wife and I owe it all to the great advice from Justin and Shawna of Direct Colors Inc.”

I also think that people like to be creative and have something beautiful in their homes that they actually did themselves. Acid staining in particular offers our customers a one of a kind finish and that’s very appealing.

Poured Bathroom Vanity Countertop
Poured Bathroom Vanity Countertop with Black Acid Stain Designs

Tommy: What about countertops? Remodeling existing countertops or adding a new poured concrete top in a bathroom also seems like a manageable project for homeowners.

ST:  That’s absolutely true.  We offer products for both options and concrete countertops offer endless customization options for any bathroom design. In fact, I think refinishing bathroom vanities is one of our most popular projects at the moment. Vanities are typically smaller than kitchen countertops and require less time as well as money to remodel. Our concrete overlay does a wonderful job of putting a brand new finish on a properly prepared surface that allows our customers to start over in the bathroom with any look they wish – affordably.  It’s important to point out that remodeling doesn’t have to break the bank and using decorative concrete products is definitely working smart for bathroom floors and countertops.

Tommy:  What’s the top selling Direct Colors product for refinishing bathroom vanities?

ST:  Without question, it’s the metallic epoxy. If it is a bathroom vanity project, the countertop refinishing kit is perfect because each kit covers up to 50 square feet and that’s about the size of your average bathroom countertop.  If you’re really thinking about using a metallic epoxy for a countertop project, I recommend watching Ken Lazenby with Ken’s Custom Design on our website, directcolors.com or on YouTube. He has several excellent how-to videos that do a great job of demonstrating the process step-by-step.

Metallic Epoxy Countertop Products
DCI Metallic Epoxy Countertop Refinishing Kit

Tommy:  Any final thoughts for our listeners about taking on a bathroom remodeling project with our products?

ST:  I’d say plan everything out carefully before you begin. Direct Colors has hundreds of project photos categorized by product or project in the case of concrete countertops. Make a note of what pictures appeal to you. Use the search bar on the website. Type in bathroom, remodeling or countertop to see all the relevant blog posts, featured projects and products that might be of interest to you. All of our product how-to guides and videos are available online so read up on the application details to help decide is this is the right direction for you. Lastly, call us  to speak to a technician directly or send in a free online design consultation by email if you prefer to discuss the specifics of your project. We’re here to help and are happy to do so.

Tommy: Thanks, Shawna. That’s sound advice and if you’re a homeowner with a remodeling project call me, Tommy, at 877-255-2656 and we’ll determine the best products and technique for your needs.  If you’d prefer to send us an email, visit /resources/design-consultation/ and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours.

Direct Colors DIY Home Improvement podcasts are produced twice monthly for your enjoyment and show notes can be found at directcolors.com/listen. Feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed.  You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ , YouTube and Instagram. I’m Tommy Carter and thanks again for joining us!

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Concrete Crafts

Podcast: Concrete Crafts, Art and Décor

You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 38: Concrete Crafts, Art and Décor with Direct Colors Stains, Pigments and Sealer! If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us.  Concrete crafts, art and décor are becoming more and more popular with our customers, especially decorative concrete professionals, that make their living from the beautiful work they create. We are always amazed at what these fine artisans are able to produce with our stain, pigment and sealer products. Here to talk about some of the unique concrete craft projects she’s encountered and how our products contributed to the process is Direct Colors General Manager. Welcome back to the show, Shawna

ST:  Thank you, Tyler.

TT: So, is it true that the winner of this year’s End of Summer Facebook Photo Contest was a concrete artist?

ST:  That’s correct. Rebekah Dreisbach won the 2018 contest with her concrete vases. She used our 230 Black Concrete Pigment to create this really stunning marbled effect.  In fact, she had this to say in a Facebook review about her project earlier this summer:

“I stumbled upon Direct Colors randomly and I am so happy that I did. I started marking DIY Pinterest style concrete planters and decided to try and start a business making them. The quality of my work grew like crazy overnight with concrete pigment. I went to my first craft show this spring and got a wholesale order from one of the most sought after boutique shops while there. I do not think that would have happened without the dye. It allows me to create marbling and intense contract in my products that stands out from anything I’ve seen on the market. The customer service here is incredible. I had a lot of questions about the products that I was interested in and they spent a good amount of time on the phone making sure I got exactly what I needed.”

We were so proud to be a part of this and look forward to seeing what happens next for our winner!

TT:  Are you seeing a trend where concrete crafts and art is becoming more main stream?

ST:  I think so. In the past, concrete was only seen as a building material that came in one color! Now that high quality concrete overlays, pigments and stains, we have fine artists using our materials to make wall art worthy of a gallery exhibition. We had two concrete artists enter our contest this year, Donna Stewart Art and William Hall Art, with outstanding submissions. I’m both awed and wowed at what they can do and honestly, even after all the years and projects I’ve seen, I still can’t believe it. Donna works with our acid stains on overlay and William our concrete pigments. Each has displayed their work in gallery shows and all we can say is WOW!

TT: You’ve mentioned professionals using Direct Colors’ products for their work what about amateurs making something for their homes or gardens?

ST: No question concrete crafts are much more popular with the public and we’re seeing a wider variety of DIY concrete crafting ideas on Pinterest, Instagram and similar websites. There really are some fascinating projects out there and we enjoy working with our customers to get the results they’re looking for. A few months ago a customer sent a design consultation to our technicians about a décor project she wasn’t sure how to color. She had purchased pre-fabricated concrete otter statues. After discussing the project with her, we recommended both our concrete acid stain and Deco Gel acid stain to achieve the effect she described.  She was so pleased with the outcome that she later submitted her project for this year’s End of Summer Photo Contest.

Probably, the most common project customers use our products for are store bought statuary. Acid stain and Deco Gel acid stain are great options for coloring concrete statuary, especially water fountains and birdbaths because acid stain is a longest lasting color option available. We have another podcast on acid staining and sealing statuary I’d recommend to our listeners interested in concrete crafts or décor. Unfortunately, not all store bought statuary is created alike. Some are made with higher quality concrete than others so we always encourage our customers to do a test area on the statue base to make sure the material with react properly with the acid stain.

Having said that, more and more people are casting their own stepping stones, pavers and other décor using integrally colored concrete. What that means is adding powdered concrete pigment to the concrete before pouring for a solid color throughout. Pigment is super easy to use and if you’re trying to create a patio design with pavers, for example, it does give you the freedom to choose your own colors and create exactly what you want. We did a podcast on concrete pavers earlier this year if listeners would like to hear about that sort of project.

TT:  That’s great. Any closing thoughts about concrete crafts or art projects?

ST:  I’d just say that if you’re an artist, whether professional or not, and you’re thinking of working in a concrete medium, give it a try. I think you’ll be surprised about how relatively easy it is to work with and how many creative color options there are available on the market today. Our decorative concrete experts are always available to answer questions about our products and are happy to help. We hope all you budding concrete artisans out there will give us a call or send in an email about your next project!

TT:  Thanks, Shawna.  We hope our listeners will give concrete crafts a try. Sounds like a lot of fun! If you have questions, call one of our expert technicians at 877-255-2656 and we’ll help you select the best products and technique for your needs.  If you prefer email, send in a free online design consultation and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours.

 

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Winterize Outdoor Concrete

Podcast: Winterizing Outdoor Concrete

You’re listening to podcast episode 5: Winterizing Outdoor Concrete.  In this podcast, Direct Colors offers tips and recommendations on getting your outdoor concrete, countertops and concrete decor ready for the cold weather season. Time to winterize your outdoor concrete! If this is your first time listening, then thanks for listening and welcome to DirectColors.com/Listen!

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Titanium Dioxide White Pigment

Podcast: How to Get Brilliant White Concrete Tips

You’re listening to DIRECTCOLORS.COM/LISTEN podcast episode number 28, How Do I Get Brilliant White Concrete?  If this is your first time listening, then thanks for listening.  I’m Tommy Carter, Sales Manager and Technician with Direct Colors. We receive a lot of requests for white concrete countertops. White is a popular color for kitchen tops as well as bathroom vanities but it’s not always easy find the materials you need to make a truly white countertop. Direct Color’s General Manager talks about how to get the most brilliant white color for your indoor and outdoor concrete projects! Thanks for joining us today, Shawna.

ST:  Thank you.

TC:  So, why is it so difficult to get a white concrete color?

ST:  In order to get a brilliant white color, you’ll need to begin with either a white concrete countertop mix or concrete overlay. Unfortunately, white concrete mixes are often hard if not impossible to find locally. Often, gray Portland concrete mixes are all customers can find in their area. At best, gray concrete mixes will yield an ashen gray or light gray color even when a white concrete pigment has been added.

Direct Colors does offer both a white countertop mix and concrete overlay if you’re refinishing an existing countertop. We do recommend adding our TiO2 White Concrete Pigment to the mix for the most brilliant white finish possible.

TC:  Just to be clear, can a customer use a gray countertop mix and get a white color?

ST:  No, a truly white color can only be achieved using a concrete mix containing white Portland cement. As I mentioned, white concrete pigment can be added to gray concrete mix to create an ashen color (Ash TiO2-5lb.) but not a white (Pearl TiO2-5lb). Our TiO2 White Concrete Pigment is a powdered pigment and should be mixed into the either the countertop mix or overlay prior to applying.

TC:  What options do our customers have for making an existing countertop white?

ST:  Well, they have quite a few options for both indoor and outdoor projects. For an existing gray concrete countertop, for example, I’d recommend trying our white tinted concrete sealer. If they prefer a more solid look, this might be the fastest and least expensive option. Once the tinted sealer has been applied, topcoat the countertop with either a polyurethane or epoxy finish for best results. Keep in mind that epoxy would not be an option for an outdoor project.

Now, if they’re interested in a little metallic shimmer, they consider adding a Pearl metallic pigment in the epoxy countertop sealer for an extra a touch of class. It’s our most popular color on bathroom vanities. We offer complete kits for countertops including each of the products mentioned as well.

TC: Sounds great. We have several photos of countertops finished with a metallic epoxy on our website, don’t we?

ST: That’s correct. In the Direct Colors Concrete Countertop Photo Gallery.

TC:  What about refinishing a Formica countertop?

ST:  That’s by far the easiest and most affordable way to get a white kitchen countertop if you are starting with Formica. Direct Colors offers a white concrete overlay. TiO2 white concrete pigment color packs can also be added to overlay for a brilliant white finish. For our DIY customer, we have several how-to videos available for preparing, overlaying and sealing countertops that demonstrate the technique and products.

TC: Finally, what about sealers. What’s the best sealer for white concrete countertops?

We encourage customers with white countertops to apply a polyurethane sealer for greater durability, chemical and stain resistance. Direct Colors offers High Gloss, Glossy and Matte polyurethane sealer options for indoor or outdoor countertops. If using an epoxy, keep in mind that the sealer will yellow over time when exposed to direct sunlight. Epoxy countertop sealers should never be used outdoors but should be used with caution on indoor white countertops where direct sunlight might be an issue.

TC: Thanks for all that information. We hope this podcast will help customers find the products they need for white countertops and other concrete projects. DIRECTCOLORS.COM/LISTEN DIY Home Improvement podcasts are produced twice monthly for your enjoyment and show notes can be found at DIRECTCOLORS.COM/LISTEN. Feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed.  You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram. I’m Tommy Carter and thanks again for joining us!

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Coffee Brown Concrete Acid Stain Color

Podcast: Converting Patios into Indoor Living Space

You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 8: Tips on Converting Patios into Indoor Living Space! If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us. Many homeowners would like to convert their existing outdoor slabs into sun-rooms and enclosed patios but there are a few things to keep in mind about the concrete once the outdoor becomes indoor living space. Shawna Turner, General Manager at Direct Colors, is here with us today to talk more about patio conversions and what to look out for.

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Malayan Buff Concrete Acid Stain

Podcast: Successfully Acid Stain Side by Side Concrete Slabs Poured at Different Times

Tommy C: You’re listening to DIRECTCOLORS.COM/LISTEN Podcast Episode 27, How-to Successfully Acid Stain Side by Side Concrete Slabs Poured at Different Times. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for listening.  I’m Tommy Carter, Sales Manager and Technician with Direct Colors. It may sound odd that concrete poured at different times would not acid stain the same but if you’ve added on to your patio, interior floors or driveway, this podcast is worth the time spent listening! Here to tell you more about why and how to get the best results from your next DIY project is Shawna Turner, General Manager with Direct Colors. Welcome to the podcast, Shawna.

Shawna T:  Thank you.

TC:  Let’s get started. So why does it matter if side by side concrete slabs are poured at different times if you’re planning to acid stain?

ST: Acid Stain is a chemically-reactive stain not just a topical colorant. The stain relies on the minerals available in the concrete surface to react properly and develop the variable, rich color acid stain is known for. Concrete is not mixed exactly the same way every time and the mineral content can vary substantially from one batch to another.  Concrete finishing, especially if a machine trowel is involved, can alter acid staining results dramatically from one floor section to another as well. Keep in mind that exposure to the elements can impact color development on older outdoor concrete slabs. In addition, concrete patches will also stain differently from the surrounding concrete and should be given special consideration before beginning a project. More to this subject than you thought, I suspect.

TC:  For sure!  What recommendations would you make for indoor floors poured separately or patched due to plumbing problems or for carpet tack holes for example?

ST: For indoor floors, making sure the profile is the same across the slab is important. Whether you choose to mechanically profile the floor using a sander or chemically profile with our Hard Troweled Floor Prep, do the same thing everywhere. I recommend reading over page one of our How to Acid Stain Concrete Guide to determine what process will yield the best results for your concrete before beginning. As for concrete patches, they can be tricky particularly if they are in a conspicuous area of the floor. Patches should be sanded flush with the floor before staining. For best results, I would stain and neutralize the rest of the floor first leaving the patch to be stained afterwards so it can be more easily color matched by carefully controlling the stain’s activation time.  Once the patch achieves the same color as the floor, neutralize the stain and move on to the cleaning step. Spray both the patch and the floor with water from a handheld spray bottle to determine when the matching color has been achieved prior to neutralizing.  Keep in mind that we offer topical stains, such as DCI Concrete Dye and Liquid Colored Antique Concrete Stain, to touch up or further accent any difficult areas so don’t worry, there’s more than one path to a beautiful floor.

TC:  That’s good news. What about outdoor concrete?

Many homes have patio and driveway slabs poured at different times. If you want the concrete to be as close to the same color as possible, I suggest applying the stain to the older slab first and leaving it to process for up to 10 hours for maximum color development. The longer concrete is exposed to the elements, the more surface mineral erosion occurs. For this reason, older concrete needs more processing time to achieve optimal color results than a newer slab. After the processing time is complete, neutralize the concrete and rinse so you can get a good look at the color. At this point, apply the stain to the newer slab and leave to process for 2-3 hours.  Using a spray bottle of water, dampen a small area of the old and new concrete and compare.  If it looks like a good match when wet, great. Neutralize and clean the entire slab in preparation for sealing. If not, let the new concrete process for another hour and repeat the test until a color match is achieved. Remember to look at the concrete only when it’s wet not dry. Dry, acid stained concrete does very little to reveal the final color as it will appear when sealed.

TC:  What happens if a color match can’t be achieved with the acid stain? What else can be done?

ST:  As I mentioned before, we have several topical stain options for indoor and outdoor use. I most frequently recommend our Liquid Colored Antique Concrete Stain for patios, driveways and other outdoor concrete. It can be used as a stand-alone concrete stain and often is or as an accent for acid stained concrete. If a satisfactory color match isn’t achievable, Liquid Colored Antique can be applied to blend the colors and create a more uniform final result. Customers often use this to color match on existing stained outdoor slabs where repairs have been made. It’s really an excellent, easy to use product that can renew color, fix problem areas and save customers a great deal of money by avoiding unnecessary tear-outs and refinishing.

TC:  That’s great to hear. Everyone likes to save time and money on home improvement and want to successfully acid stain concrete slabs. Thanks, Shawna, for the helpful tips on how to get the best results when acid staining interior floors and outdoor concrete. I’m sure this will useful information for many of our customers.

DIRECTCOLORS.COM/LISTEN DIY Home Improvement podcasts are produced twice monthly for your enjoyment and show notes can be found at DIRECTCOLORS.COM/LISTEN. Feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed.  You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram. I’m Tommy Carter and thanks again for joining us!

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Blue and Green Acid Stain

Podcast: Guidelines for Using Blue and Green Acid Stain on Outdoor Projects

You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 3: Guidelines for Using Blue and Green Acid Stain on Outdoor Projects. Join us as we chat with Direct Colors General Manager, Shawna Turner, about guidelines for using blue and green concrete acid stains on outdoor projects.

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Staining Older Concrete

Podcast: Staining Older Concrete

You’re listening to DIRECTCOLORS.COM/LISTEN podcast episode number 26, Successfully Staining Older Concrete. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for listening.  I’m Shawna Turner, General Manager with Direct Colors. This week our Senior Sales Manager and Technician, Justin Richardson, joins us to talk about how to get the best staining results out of an older concrete slab. You may have seen Justin featured in two videos covering this topic on our website, Facebook and YouTube. He’s got some great ideas to share with you today so let’s get started. Welcome to you, Justin.

Justin: Hi Shawna. Thank you.

Shawna T:  What challenges should customers expect when staining older concrete?

Justin: Those challenges will vary depending on whether the project is an indoor floor or outdoor concrete. Interior slabs become harder and denser over time requiring either mechanical or chemical profiling to open the pores and allow the acid stain to readily penetrate the concrete. DCI Hard Trowel Floor Prep is a safe, easy to use product for chemically profiling concrete floors. This will give your best acid staining results on older concrete especially concrete where water does not soak easily into the concrete. Older outdoor concrete will erode over time with exposure to the elements losing some of its surface “cream” which is essential to successful acid staining. If you do have exposed aggregate or sand, that does not mean you can’t acid stain but you may want to apply topical concrete stain like our Liquid Colored Antique to enhance the color after the surface has be neutralized, cleaned and dry and before sealing. Take an honest assessment of your concrete before staining to make sure you have the products you need to do the best job possible.

Shawna T:  Which products do you most commonly recommend for older concrete projects?

Justin: There’s no reason you couldn’t use acid stain on older concrete. It’s one of my personal favorites because it permanently changes the color of the concrete and our customers use it all the time. Sample testing on the slab with proper surface preparation is very important for older concrete projects to make sure you’re going to get the color results you’re looking for. It’s more difficult to achieve a marbled acid stain look on heavily textured, weathered, or rough exterior concrete. Consider using two colors to create more color contrast and movement on the slab. If sand or aggregate is a problem, another option for really beautiful results is the Liquid Colored Antique after you’ve applied the acid stain. After completing all the acid staining steps, apply the antique to dry concrete in a contrasting color to darken the color or accentuate features like cracks enhance appearance. It’s very easy to use. Shake very well, pour into a Fence and Deck Sprayer and apply. Please see our video of a similar application on our website.

Shawna T: What application techniques would you suggest to enhance the finished look and overcome imperfections?

Justin:  I have a couple of suggestions. On interior slabs, no matter what you’ve get color variations on the concrete even if you apply a saturating even coat of acid stain. Existing imperfections in the concrete will not be hidden by acid stain but sometimes those imperfections will work to your advantage instead of against it. Our acid stains, particularly the Coffee Brown, can be diluted with water for the first coat and applied full strength for greater color and texture variation. Older, weathered concrete could definitely benefit from using Liquid Colored Antique to improve the color outcome.

Shawna T: What advice would you offer customers about sealing older concrete and which sealer would you use?

Justin:  When it comes to sealing concrete, you have options. Direct Colors offers both solvent and water based acrylic sealers. Solvents are easier to apply and always make the color “pop” more but because of odor, you have to be very careful about using them indoors. Solvents can also be applied anywhere above freezing and under 85F. Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer is our most popular outdoor sealer and Krystal Kote High Gloss Water Based for interior. Water based Sealers are preferred for indoor use for their low odor but they can’t be applied below 60F at any time. Acrylic sealers are by far the easiest sealers to apply indoors or out and comprise about 90% of the DIY homeowner market for that reason. Please check out our range of sealers on our website and consider your gloss expections as well as the location of the project carefully before selecting a sealer.

Shawna T: Any final thoughts for our DIY audience?

Justin:  Don’t let a project intimidate you. Start small with a patio or an office. Don’t rush or short cut the process. Follow the instructions and sample test on the slab you intend to stain. Take you time. It’s kind of a fun process. Take advantage of the customer services available at Direct Colors. If you prefer not to call about your project, send us a free online design consultation and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours. If you would like to call at 877-255-2656, we have technicians on duty M-F, 8:30-5pm. We’d be happy to visit with you about your project and recommend the best products for your use. We want you to be successful so get in touch!

Shawna T:  Thank you for joining us today, Justin, and for the helpful advice on staining older concrete. Many of our customers have projects like this and are afraid the results won’t justify the work or expense. I hope we’ve changed some minds with this podcast and our listeners will give patio or porch project a try!

To watch Justin’s Staining and Sealing Older Concrete How-to Videos, visit our youtube channel or the how to videos and guides page of our website, directcolors.com.

If you have questions, call one of our expert technicians at 877-255-2656 and we’ll help you select the best products and technique for your needs.  If you prefer email, send in a free online design consultation and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours. Direct Colors DIY Home Improvement podcasts are produced twice monthly for your enjoyment and show notes can be found at directcolors.com/listen.  Feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed.  You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ , YouTube and Instagram. Thank you for joining us!

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Acid Stain Floors During Construction

Acid Staining Floors During Construction

You’re listening to DIRECTCOLORS.COM/LISTEN podcast episode number 24. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for coming. I’m Tommy Carter and today we’re talking about acid staining floors during the construction. As acid stained floors have become more popular, homeowners need to know when to acid stain and what to do to protect the finish throughout the construction process. Shawna Turner, General Manager, with Direct Colors is here to give us the scoop on new construction staining projects. Welcome, Shawna.

ST: Thank you very much

Tommy C: What’s the first thing to keep in mind when acid staining floors in a new construction home?

ST:  Probably the first thing is to make sure your General Contractor knows and understands that you plan to acid stain the floors. If he or she knows in advance, they can properly direct the ready-mix company pouring and finishing the concrete as well as other building contractors to act accordingly.

Tommy C: What role does the pouring and finishing of the concrete play in successfully acid staining?

ST: If you plan to acid stain concrete, the mix should contain no more than 10% fly ash and should only be lightly machine troweled if at all. The concrete should be rich in cement content and the pores open for the stain to readily absorb and react. As long as the GC knows in advance, these requests should not be difficult or costly to implement.

Tommy C: When should a homeowner plan to acid stain their concrete during construction?

ST: The concrete should be allowed to cure for 30 days for best staining results. If at all possible, the concrete should be stained after the dry wall has been hung but BEFORE it has been mudded in. The reason this is so important is that dry wall mud is a very challenging contaminant to remove from concrete after the fact. Homeowners wishing to acid stain their floors are then forced to spend a lot to time and money cleaning that could have been entirely avoided. Spray insulation is also a problem. Spray insulation should be installed AFTER the floors have been covered with overlapping cardboard. The chemicals interfere with the staining and sealing process and are notoriously difficult to remove.

Tommy C: Just to be clear, could you give us the step by step process from acid staining to waxing?

ST:  Sure. That’s a good idea. Once the dry wall has been hung, clean the floors thoroughly using a medium to heavy duty organic degreaser and water solution. All debris, particularly chalk lines, paint, oil stains, dirt and the like, has to be off the surface and out of the pores before you begin. Sanding may be necessary for stubborn debris and staining. When the floors are clean and dry, apply the stain, neutralize and clean according to the instructions. Leave the floor to dry. At this point, you really only want to apply one coat of sealer. I recommend our Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer, especially if you’re working in the winter months. It does have a strong odor during application but can be sprayed on floors freezing and above.

Tommy C: Why just one coat of sealer at this stage?

ST: Even when you cover the floors with overlapping cardboard, damage can still be done during construction. Once the work is complete and the floor cleaned, another coat of sealer can be applied to repair any existing damage and make the floor look brand new again. The sprayable satin finish or AC1315 High Gloss are both solvent-based and have the ability to re-emulsify the acrylic for a smooth final coat.

Tommy C: So what are the final steps after applying the sealer?

ST: After the sealer has been successfully applied, allow the concrete to dry for at least 10 hours before covering with overlapping cardboard. DO NOT TAPE THE CARDBOARD TO THE FLOOR. Tape will bond with the sealer and ruin the finish. Keep the floor covered until construction is complete and the baseboards are ready for placement. At this point, you’re ready to remove the cardboard, clean the floor and apply your final coat of concrete sealer. Allow for 24-48 hours ventilation and dry time before applying the concrete wax and floor polish according to the instructions.

Next step: Enjoy your Floors!

Tommy C: Thank you, Shawna, for that detailed information about acid staining floors during construction. I know it’s a common planning question with our DIY customers. Check out our blog for more on the Care and Maintenance for Acid Stained Floors and other decorative concrete flooring projects.

Tommy C: directcolors.com/listen includes podcasts on many decorative concrete topics so visit our podcast library for past episodes and check back frequently to see what’s new in the world of DIY decorative concrete! Thank you for listening.

If you have questions, call one of our expert technicians at 877-255-2656 and we’ll help you select the best products and technique for your needs.  If you prefer email, send in a free online design consultation and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours. Direct Colors DIY Home Improvement podcasts are produced twice monthly for your enjoyment and show notes can be found at directcolors.com/listen.  Feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed.  You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ , YouTube and Instagram.  I’m Tommy Carter and thank you for joining us!

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Malayan Buff Acid Stain sealed with Penetrating Sealer Concrete Bird Bath

Sealing Concrete Fountains and Birdbaths

You’re listening to Direct Colors Podcast Episode 1: Coloring/Sealing Concrete Fountains and Birdbaths. We answer frequently asked questions about how to color and seal concrete fountains and birdbaths. Making the right color and sealer choice is essential for both success and longevity. Find out more from the Decorative Concrete Experts!

Continue reading “Podcast: Concrete Fountains and Birdbaths”

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Calculating Pigment for Grout

Calculating Pigment for Grout, Stucco, Mortar and Plaster

You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 19: Calculating Pigment for Coloring Grout, Stucco, Mortar and Plaster. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us.  Many of our customers are interested in coloring grout, stucco, plaster and mortar but have a difficult time finding the right colors, especially blues, and small enough quantities. Direct Colors General Manager, Shawna Turner, is here to talk more about calculating for and mixing custom colors in these materials. Welcome Shawna.

Amie Nolen: Calculating pigment for so many different cement-based mixes sounds complicated. Is it?

Shawna Turner:  It definitely can be. The difficult part is the fact that very few manufacturers report the product contents on the side of the bag. Usually the technical data sheet will include the amount of cement in the mix but that’ s not always available so we often are forced to make an educated guess that many vary somewhat from product to product.

AN: Why is the amount of cement in the mix so important for getting the color right?

ST: Concrete pigment creates color by coating the cement particles with color so other ingredients are a less important part of the color equation. The pigment needed to achieve a specific color from our color charts is based on the amount of cement only rather than the total weight of the mix. Each mix is comprised of a 3:1 ratio of sand to cement and/or lime. If lime is also added to the mix, the cement and lime should be added together for the purposes of calculating pigment load. Whether you are mixing your own material or using a pre-bagged concrete ready mix, having this basic information can help you to determine how much pigment you need for a project. Because grout, stucco, plaster and mortar are cement, sand and possibly lime mixes containing no aggregate, colors can appear somewhat different in fact than they are on color charts. Testing is incredibly important when working with these materials and will help avoid mistakes.

AN:  There are several concrete calculators on the website. Which calculator should a customer use for these mixes as opposed to concrete?

ST: The calculator most useful for coloring grout, stucco, mortar and plaster is called the Custom Batch Calculator. The Custom Batch Calculator requires two pieces of information – the weight of cement and/or lime in your mix and the pound rating for the color chosen from our concrete pigment color chart. We recommend calculating both for batch size as well as the overall project. For example, if you planned to use one 80lb. bag of stucco mix and wanted to integrally color the stucco to Cornflower. You’d enter 20 lbs. for the cement/lime content and a “1” for the pound rating to calculate the amount of pigment needed for the project which is just under a quarter of a pound (.21 lbs.) per bag.

If you’re calculating for a sample, the pound output from the calculator is likely to be unhelpful so we’ve provided a link to other calculation options at the bottom of the page. For example, say you have about 5 lbs. of cement/lime in your mix and the amount of pigment needed for the chosen color, Royal Blue, is 0.1595 lbs. 0.1595 lbs. is a difficult number to work with so converting lbs. to teaspoons for such a small batch is very useful. Using a conversion website easily found with a search engine, we’ll need 15 teaspoons to achieve Royal Blue in 5 lbs. of white Portland mix. Calculating from lbs. to grams is also a good option. Gram scales provide more exact measurements, especially when measuring small amounts, and can be used for any small or medium sized project.

We also have a step-by-step video describing how to use the concrete pigment calculators that our customers have found very helpful in determining how much pigment to order for an upcoming project.

AN:  What about sealing? Is it necessary in all instances?

ST:  Outdoor stucco applications should be sealed with an acrylic or penetrating densifier sealer to protect the color integrity from the elements. Some customers prefer a light shine and the easy application our Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer offers, especially for stucco projects. Our  DCI Penetrating Lithium Sealer Hardener has a matte finish is perfect for grout projects where gloss isn’t all that desirable. This sealer enhances overall concrete durability and is a one-time application which is super. Sealing for interior projects isn’t necessary but acrylic sealers will deepen color appearance and add some gloss.

AN:  Thanks for making pigment calculations for grout, stucco, mortar and plaster mixes easier to understand. If you have questions, call one of our expert technicians at 877-255-2656 and we’ll help you select the best products and technique for your needs.  If you prefer email, send in a free online design consultation and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours.

Direct Colors DIY Home Improvement podcasts are produced twice monthly for your enjoyment and show notes can be found at directcolors.com/listen.  Feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed.  You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ , YouTube and Instagram. Thanks again for joining us!

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Prepping for Acid Stain

Podcast: Prepping Concrete for Acid Staining

You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 21: Prepping Concrete for Acid Staining. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us.  Prepping concrete for acid staining before getting started is critical to success but how this is done can make or break a project. Here to discuss how to and how not to prepare concrete for acid staining is Shawna Turner, General Manager for Direct Colors.

Amie Nolen:

It seems like surface preparation is the most important step of the process. Can this be a big problem for customers if they don’t do it right?

Shawna Turner:  Absolutely.  Not all concrete can be acid stained but most can if the concrete is properly profiled using the correct product or method before staining. Determining which method or product is best can be the biggest challenge.

AN:

Could you explain what it means to profile the concrete?

ST:  Sure. Profiling the concrete simply means to change the surface texture to allow for better acid stain penetration. Profiling can be accomplished by either a chemical or mechanical means. Chemical profiling using an acid stain approved etcher such as our DCI Hard Trowel Floor Prep will open the pores without interfering with the later acid staining process. Mechanical profiling would involve a concrete sander or grinder which might be used on extremely smooth or heavily contaminated floors. For example, floors with glue, paint and drywall mud over most of the concrete should probably be mechanically profiled using a grinder because the cost of a chemical strip would be greater than the cost of renting the machine.

AN:

What products should not be used to profile concrete?

ST:  That’s a pretty easy question to answer. If the etcher is intended for use with anything other than acid stain, don’t use it. That would include water based stains, sealers, epoxy coats, paint and anything else not specifically called acid stain. Acid based cleaners and etchers used in conjunction with other coatings actually dissolve the minerals in the surface of the concrete necessary to support the reaction between an acid stain and the concrete. Without those minerals, the acid stain will sit on the surface and be washed away later in the cleaning process. So if you have previously cleaned your concrete using a muriatic acid and water solution, the slab will either not stain at all or stain very unpredictably depending on how the solution was originally applied and how strong it was. I really can’t emphasize enough that you’ve bought a concrete etching product from a local big box store, don’t use it if you want to acid stain later. Really that’s the bottom line.

AN:

Ok. That is straight to the point. How would a customer know aside from obvious surface contaminants that their concrete needs profiling in the first place?

ST:   Most indoor concrete and some outdoor poured in the last 10-15 years was likely finished using a machine trowel. We discuss this in some detail on the first page of our How to Guide for Applying Acid Stain. A simple water test will often reveal whether water will readily absorb into the concrete or bead on top. If beading does occur, the surface needs to etched using our DCI Hard Trowel Floor Prep before acid staining. Basement and garage floors are generally the smoothest floors in the house and will more likely than not require etching prior to staining.

So what happens next for customers that have used an acid based etching or cleaning product on their concrete?

ST: I would recommend either Tinted Concrete Sealer or a Tinted Concrete Sealer and DCI Concrete Dye combination to create more color variation and movement on the floor similar to an acid stain finish. If you’re working with outdoor concrete, I suggest our Liquid Colored Antique and Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer. We have a wide color selection and it is extremely easy to apply.

I’ve used this product at home on my walkways and patio and have been very happy with it. If you are in some doubt as to whether your concrete will stain or not, try an acid stain sample bottle and make sure. It’s always a good idea to test the quality of your concrete regardless and it never hurts to try. You’ll find acid stain samples and samples of all our products on our website.

AN: Thank you, Shawna, for setting us straight on prepping concrete for acid staining. No doubt this will help a number of homeowners avoid a costly DIY mistake. For more information on acid staining floors and outdoor concrete, visit Direct Colors Design Blog or Featured Projects pages.

If you have questions, call one of our expert technicians at 877-255-2656 and we’ll help you select the best products and technique for your needs.  If you prefer email, send in a free online design consultation and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours.

Direct Colors DIY Home Improvement podcasts are produced twice monthly for your enjoyment and show notes can be found at directcolors.com/listen.  Feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed.  You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ , YouTube and Instagram. Thanks again for joining us!

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Outdoor Concrete Kitchen Pizza Oven

Podcast: Tips for Pouring Acid Stain Ready Concrete

Not all concrete is created equal. Increasingly, ready mix companies are including additives like fly ash in the concrete that can interfere with the acid staining process. With more and more people interested in pouring acid stain ready concrete, we’ve got a few tips and recommendations to make that process easier and more successful. I’m joined by Shawna Turner, General Manager, with Direct Colors to find out best practices for pouring acid stain ready concrete. Welcome, Shawna.

Shawna Turner:  Thank you.

Amie Nolen:

What’s the first thing a customer needs to do to get started?

ST:  The first thing to do is have a conversation with your general contractor (GC). Make sure he or she understands your plan to acid stain and what that means for the overall construction process.  Preparing to acid stain begins before the concrete is poured so it should be discussed with the general contractor in the planning stage.

AN:

You mentioned preparing to acid stain before pouring the concrete. What does that mean?

ST:  Well, not all concrete is created equal.  Depending on where you live, concrete can contain additives and/or fly ash that negatively impact the acid staining process so it’s imperative that you know what’s going in your concrete BEFORE it’s poured.  How do you do that?  Either the homeowner or their contractor needs to call the ready mix company pouring the concrete to ask for the mix design details. The concrete should not include retarders, accelerators or more than 10% fly ash if it is to be successfully acid stained later. None of these additives are essential but are often used when temperatures are very hot or cold and to cut costs in the case of the fly ash. I’d also avoid using a topical curing compound unless it is self-dissipating and will evaporate within two weeks of application.

AN:

That’s very helpful information. What about finishing the concrete?  I know that’s also an important part of the process.

ST:  You’re right. Finishing the concrete properly will yield better final staining results. The best option for indoor floors or patios is either a hand-troweled or light machine trowelled finish.  Stamping or texturing concrete is fine too if you’re working outside.  The objective is to avoid making the concrete so smooth that acid stain can’t readily absorb into the pores. If the stain can’t absorb, the chemical reaction will not occur and the stain will simply wash off during the cleaning process. No one wants that to happen. Overly smooth concrete can be corrected using our Hard Trowel Floor Prep product after the fact if needed.

AN:

When should a customer plan to acid stain the concrete?

ST:  We usually don’t recommend acid staining until the concrete is fully cured or achieves a uniform light gray color. That could occur anytime after 20-28 days depending on weather conditions.  The concrete will need to be protected throughout the construction process. Overlapping cardboard works best to cushion blows and absorb spills should they occur. Spills and other contaminants on unprotected concrete only make the home or business owners job that much harder when it’s time to stain. Again, remind your GC to talk to every contractor about not marking the floor or making a mess. Covering the floor can make a big difference but nothing’s better or more effective than a conscientious contractor.

AN:

In the case of interior floors, at what point in the construction process would you acid stain?

ST:  The best time to uncover, clean, acid stain and seal the floors is after the dry wall has been hung but has not yet been mudded in. Dry wall mud is notoriously difficult to get off of concrete. Staining and sealing before that step is the better option for sure.  Once the floors have been stained, neutralized and cleaned, apply one coat of sealer. I prefer the Sprayable Satin Finish Concrete Sealer because it’s so easy to apply and dries quickly. Six hours after application cover again with overlapping cardboard and continue with construction.

AN:

At what point should the finishing coats of sealer and wax be applied?

ST:  Just before the baseboards are installed, remove the cardboard, clean thoroughly and apply another coat of sealer. The second coat of sealer will repair most minor scratches on the surface and add additional luster. 24-48 hours later apply three coats of concrete wax and allow to dry for 24 hours before moving in furniture. A polyurethane sealer could also be applied after the second coat of sealer if desired. Wax would no longer be necessary in that case. I highly recommend our how to guide on care and maintenance of acid stained floors. Please give that a read before moving in to avoid unnecessary damage to the floors.

AN:  Thanks for this essential staining advice for new construction floors. If you have questions, call one of our expert technicians at 877-255-2656 and we’ll help you select the best products and technique for your needs.  If you prefer email, send in a free online design consultation and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours.

Direct Colors DIY Home Improvement podcasts are produced twice monthly for your enjoyment and show notes can be found at directcolors.com/listen.  Feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed.  You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ , YouTube and Instagram. Thanks again for joining us!

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White Stained Concrete Floors

Podcast: What to Do About Carpet Tack Holes on Concrete Floors

You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 10: What to Do About Carpet Tack Holes on Concrete Floors. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us.  We often receive questions about how to fix or hide carpet tack holes on concrete floors. Even with the greatest care, it’s difficult to avoid some damage when removing carpet tack strips from the concrete. Fear not! Direct Colors has a solution that will repair carpet tack holes and actually improve the final floor finish. We sat down with Direct Colors General Manager, Shawna Turner, to find out how to resolve this common decorative concrete problem.

Continue reading “Podcast: What to Do About Carpet Tack Holes on Concrete Floors”

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Podcast: What is the Best Outdoor Concrete Stain and Sealer?

You are listening to Direct Colors podcast, episode 12. I’m Amie Nolen and today we’re talking with Direct Colors General Manager, Shawna Turner, about the best way to renew color on outdoor concrete and pool decks.

AN:My stamped concrete looked great when it was first installed but now the color has faded and the finish is dull. What can I do to restore the color again?” We get this question a lot. Stamped or textured concrete is often integrally colored with contrasting color accents and sealed. Over time, especially if the concrete goes unsealed for a significant period time, the concrete loses some of its topical color once the sealer begins to break down. Shawna Turner joins us to talk about how to make stamped concrete look new again. Welcome Shawna.

AN: What would you recommend for exterior decorative concrete that hasn’t been sealed for a several years?

ST: First, I would see what the concrete color looks like when it’s wet. If the color is satisfactory when the concrete is wet, you most likely just need to seal the concrete using a quality concrete sealer. Most acrylic concrete sealers last between 2-3 years depending on the climate before re-application is needed.  It’s important to know what kind of sealer was originally used if at all possible.  To avoid undesirable chemical reactions, solvent based sealers should be resealed using a solvent based sealer and the same for water based products. Something else to keep in mind is if your concrete happens was sealed with polyurethane, the surface must be scuffed or abraded before another coat of polyurethane can be applied. If you attempt to re-coat without sanding first, the new sealer will peel right off the concrete. No fun for sure.

Now, if you still think the color isn’t right even when it’s wet, then our Liquid Colored Antique Concrete Stain is the product for you. We formulated this product in response to customer demand for a stain that would renew stamped and textured concrete even if it has been previously sealed. The color flows into the lowest parts of the stamp impression, adding natural looking highlights. Our antique stain can also be used on smooth or broomed concrete for a rich, more solid color appearance. I’ve used the antiquing on my outdoor concrete at home. I love it. So easy to use and maintain.

AN: How do you apply the stain and which concrete sealer would you typically use for outdoor concrete?

ST: While we do offer individual samples and sample kits for testing or small projects that would generally be applied with a foam brush, Liquid Colored Antique is always sprayed from a fence and deck sprayer preferably from Ace Hardware True Value for larger projects. The key to success with this product is to shake it very, very well before pouring from the container and to shake it periodically during application just to make sure the product remains in solution at all times. The application itself is very straight forward. Spray even saturating coats onto the concrete until the desired color is achieved. As for the best sealer choice for this product, I always use the Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer on outdoor concrete. It works great in conjunction with the concrete stain and it’s a safe, non-slip choice for most patios and pool decks.

AN: So why are you such a fan of this product?

ST: Most of all I appreciate the how easy it is to use and beyond the initial surface prep, how quickly I can finish a project using the stain. Once the concrete is clean and dry, you simply spray down the product and allow for 6-8 hours dry time before sealing. There’s no additional cleaning or rinsing in between. Really a joy to work with when you need to get something completed quickly. I love all the color options too. Sometimes I combine colors, use multiple colors or both. It’s really a very flexible, user friendly material.

AN: Are there any projects that might require a little closer scrutiny before applying the liquid colored antique and sealer?

ST: Yes, concrete stamped and accented with powdered release at the time of installation can sometimes become a problem a few years down the line, especially if left unsealed for a while. The powdered release, usually darker than the concrete itself, flakes away leaving an unsightly speckled pattern behind.  Unfortunately, repairing the damage using an antique stain is sometimes only a temporary fix and the problem often continues. So what can be done? First, power wash the concrete to remove as much of the loose colorant as possible. Sand those areas where significant color loss has occurred to prevent more damage and apply the Liquid Colored Antique to the dry, clean concrete. Properly preparing the concrete prior to application and sealing well with a high quality concrete sealer will reduce the chance of future damage.

AN: Thank you for the helpful DIY tips on renewing color on outdoor concrete and pool decks. Sounds like it’s easy than we first thought! If you have questions, call one of our expert technicians at 877-255-2656 and we’ll help you select the best products and technique for your needs.  If you prefer email, send in a free online design consultation and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours.

RELATED:

Restore Faded Outdoor Concrete Color

Best Way to Stain Outdoor Concrete Patio

Outdoor Concrete Stain and Outdoor Concrete Sealer

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You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast

Episode 11: How to Remove Oil Stains from Concrete.

If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us. One of the biggest challenges to acid staining garage floors, driveways and patios is oil stains in the concrete. Motor or vegetable oil and animal fats if the spill is around the barbeque can be very challenging to remove and unless properly removed will prevent acid stain, concrete stains or sealer from penetrating the concrete. Shawna Turner, General Manager, at Direct Colors joins us to talk about how to successfully dissolve oils in the concrete surface before staining and sealing. Let’s get started.

Continue reading “Podcast: How to Remove Oil Stains from Concrete”

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Metallic Epoxy Countertop

Podcast: Marble Effects on Concrete Countertops with Ken Lazenby

You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 6: Marble Effects on Concrete Countertops. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us. Getting just the right look on countertops can be a challenge so we thought we’d consult with a professional to see what tricks he might have up his sleeve. We sat down with Ken Lazenby with Ken’s Custom Designs based in Krebs, OK to talk about how he creates marble effects on concrete countertops. Learn how he makes builds and creates his concrete countertops.

Continue reading “Podcast: Marble Effects on Concrete Countertops with Ken Lazenby”

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Poolside Bar Countertop and Swim Up Banana Bar Top Colored Concrete Stan Designs

Applying Acid Stain and Concrete Sealer During Summer

Applying acid stain and concrete sealer in the summer months can be challenging especially if you live in a hot temperature climate. Here are a few tips from our own General Manager, Shawna Turner, for outdoor concrete and countertop projects that will help DIYer’s get it right the first time.

Amie Nolen: Welcome to the podcast, Shawna.

Shawna Turner:  Thank you.

What are some of the challenges homeowners face when acid staining and sealing outdoor concrete in the summertime?

ST: Concrete temperature and wind conditions often determine success or failure for an acid stain project. Hot, dry conditions can cause acid stain to prematurely dry before properly reacting with the concrete. But how hot is too hot? Concrete shouldn’t be more than 75-80F for best staining results. Dry, windy conditions can wick the moisture from the concrete leaving a “blotchy” appearance behind particularly when using both light and dark colors.

What can be with our outdoor concrete besides wait until the fall?

ST:  Well, it’s not quite as bad as all that. The most important step for homeowners applying acid stain either late in the evening or early in the morning when concrete temperatures are at their lowest. As the day heats up, so does the concrete and air begins to pass through the surface. When temperatures are cooling, the concrete contracts and is therefore a better candidate for staining or sealing. Keep in mind that direct sunlight and ambient temperature are not the same. Lay a thermometer on the concrete surface and cover with a towel. If after 4-5 minutes the temperature is greater than 80°F, do not stain.

Another valuable tip is to lightly dampen not flood the concrete before applying acid stain to add moisture and prevent premature drying. Premature drying can retard color development and isn’t helpful if you’re working with multiple colors outdoors.

What about sealing specifically? I know hot temperatures can really cause problems. What should customers be looking out for?

ST: Without question, DO NOT attempt to seal in the heat of the day. Colored concrete in direct sunlight, especially dark browns and black, could be several times hotter than the ambient temperature and just a few minutes of sunlight will raise the surface temperature very quickly. If the concrete is too hot, small air bubbles will often appear either during the application or just after. The air bubbles are formed by air rising through the concrete and becoming trapped in the sealer. The bubbles will eventually collapse leaving unattractive concave spots behind. Not very attractive, especially on outdoor kitchen countertops.

Finding the right time of day to apply concrete sealer during the summer months can be a challenge. Sealers, like acid stain, should be applied when the concrete is at its lowest temperature either early in the morning or late in the evening. East facing concrete should be sealed later in the day and west facing early in the morning.

AN:  What time of year do you normally do “maintenance” on your decorative concrete?

ST: Never if I can get away with it! No, I’m kidding. I usually do my resealing in the late spring when you can get a couple of rain free days and if that fails, before winter sets in. Because I live in Oklahoma where the summers are very hot, I seldom attempt to seal my exterior concrete during the summer months. It can be done but most of the time I don’t want to get up that early.

AN: Thanks for the summertime acid staining and sealing advice. I hope everyone will listen in before beginning their projects this summer season. If you have questions, call one of our expert technicians at 877-255-2656 and we’ll help you select the best products and technique for your needs.  If you prefer email, send in a free online design consultation and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours.

Direct Colors DIY Home Improvement podcasts are produced twice monthly for your enjoyment and show notes can be found at directcolors.com/listen.  Feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed.  You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ , YouTube and Instagram. Thanks again for joining us!

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Coffee N' Crafts Concrete stained and sealed floor with tinted concrete sealer

Podcast: Tinted Concrete Sealer for Fast, Easy Affordable Floor Renovation

You’re listening to Direct Colors Podcast Episode 39 – DCI Tinted Concrete Sealer for Fast, Easy Affordable Floor Renovation. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us. We’re excited to be joined today by a local contractor, Cat Palmer with TCB Construction in McLoud, OK. Cat’s specialty is giving second life to damaged, distressed and downright ugly concrete floors. We frequently feature her floor renovation projects on our Facebook page and website. She’s here to tell us about the products she uses and the magic touch she brings to her work. Let’s hear from her how she gets the job done! Welcome to the podcast, Cat.

CP: Thanks for having me on today.

ST: Tell us a bit about yourself and your company, TCB Construction.

CP: In 2003, I started my business as “Creating Concrete Designs” focused on decorative flooring; however, with much success and growth a name change was necessary to accommodate all the services TCB Construction now offers.

ST: So, Cat, you’re known for taking on troubled concrete floors and turning them around. Tell us how you do your floor renovation projects.

CP: Years of practice (haha)… but I do have a special eye for turning troubled concrete floors around. I’m not afraid to turn troubled floors into a beautiful statement. I like the challenge, and with each one I grow in knowledge in the field. In this line of work, one must be willing to try new things, and not afraid to tackle any job, no matter if it’s a new slab of concrete, an old dilapidated and cracked floor, or a horrible mess that needs major rehabilitation. My knowledge of the many different chemicals and materials, and how they work together, is also a key to our success.

Tinted-Sealer-Floor-Renovation

Floor Renovation Projects Featuring Tinted Sealer and DC Concrete Dye

ST: What recommendations do have for DIYers with difficult floor or patio remodeling projects to help them get the best possible results?

CP: Everyone has a dream picture they find on the web; however, you have to keep in mind no two floors will ever be exactly the same when recreating. My advice is go in simple and follow the steps “exactly to a T”. Always test the concrete slab before moving forward with deciding on product to use. If a concrete slab already has product down, be sure you remove any product and clean the substrate thoroughly before adding any decorative concrete products and chemicals. Omitting critical surface prep steps can create bigger issues to overcome later. If you have ideas about the finished look, such as a picture from the Direct Colors Photo Galleries, share that with the Direct Colors staff or with your contractor to help them select the right products and give the best application advise possible for your project.

ST: What are you favorite Direct Colors products to work with?

CP: There are three different Sealers that I like working with. The water based sealer is odorless and it’s an easy application. I love the shine that the AC 1315 high gloss sealer gives but I do not recommend just anyone use this sealer, especially if one is going to be staying in the home during the project.

Concrete can be mixed cheaply with additives added which can result in spackling and chipping of the concrete in due time; but, the durability and appearance of the DCI Lithium Penetrating Hardener Sealer adds great protection and strength to the concrete and brings a great natural look to the surface protecting the concrete for many years to come.

When working with different color applications, for example, Tinted Water Based Sealer and DCI Concrete Dyes. Each product comes in an array of colors and when used correctly delivers a beautiful outcome for any slab of concrete. Tinted Sealer and Concrete Dye color applications are my go-to for any concrete slab.

ST: Finally, there aren’t a lot of women working professionally in the decorative concrete contracting. What words of wisdom would you offer to women considering working as a contractor for a living?

CP: Be confident in your knowledge and skill. I think woman make better Decorative Concrete Artisans because they are more in-tuned to the necessary prepping steps and how valuable these steps are to the outcome of the project.

Be prepared to take a chance. Hold your head high, hands on your hips and know that your decorative concrete artistic skill is a gift! They can always reach out to me or Direct Colors for support. Always ask first, if not sure. I love the support I get from the staff at Direct Colors. After 15-years, my knowledge has reached a level of Master Artisan; however, it is just as challenging as it was in the beginning. I Love this about this profession always creating a new floor master piece or correcting a trouble floor. Every job opportunity with Decorative Concrete is as it was in the beginning, gut wrenching until the final sealer goes on. If you follow the necessary steps, and be precise, taking a chance can only be good and you will grow in knowledge and confidence with each floor completed. Concrete Art – turning concrete into a beautiful floor!

ST: Thanks for those words of wisdom both on turning around difficult concrete floor renovation projects and to women considering decorative concrete contracting for a living. If you have questions, call one of our expert technicians at 877-255-2656 and we’ll help you select the best products and technique for your needs. If you prefer email, send in a free online design consultation and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours.

Direct Colors DIY Home Improvement podcasts are produced twice monthly for your enjoyment and show notes can be found at directcolors.com/listen. Feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ , YouTube and Instagram. I’m Tyler Thompson and thanks again for joining us!

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Sealed Waxed Concrete Countertop

Care and Maintenance for Concrete Countertop Sealers

You’re listening to Direct Colors Podcast Episode 14 – Care and Maintenance for Concrete Countertop Sealers. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us. Our customers often ask us how they can best take care of their concrete countertop sealers and keep them looking great. We’ve given some thought to this question and here to tell us more is Direct Colors General Manager, Shawna Turner. Continue reading “Podcast: Care and Maintenance for Concrete Countertop Sealers”

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Podcast: Tips for Successfully Sealing Outdoor Countertops

You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 16: Tips for Successfully Sealing Outdoor Countertops. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for listening. After investing a great deal of time and effort into your countertop project, you want the last step to go smoothly. You may not realize that there are differences between successfully sealing indoor countertops and sealing outdoor countertops but there are and here to tell us all about it is Shawna Turner, General Manager for Direct Colors. Continue reading “Podcast: Tips for Successfully Sealing Outdoor Countertops”

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How to Remove Oil Stain from Concrete

How To Remove Oil Stains From Concrete Garage Floors

One of the most common challenges encountered when Acid-Staining Garage Floors is the effective removal of motor oil in the driveway—the same issues arise with vegetable oil and animal fats that spill around outdoor grills and eating areas. Depending on the severity of the spill, oil that builds up over time can be very challenging to remove. Unless properly cleaned, oil will prevent Acid Stain, Concrete Stains and Sealer from penetrating the concrete.

First Things First

Because oil penetrates deeply into concrete, it’s essential to clean up a spill the moment it happens. Once oil enters porous concrete, nothing else can penetrate or adhere to its’ surface. If nothing is done to clear the oil, acid stain won’t take to the concrete and the sealer will likely bubble up or flake off after application. Not the desired outcome.

How To Know If You Have Oil at the Concrete Surface

The best way to determine if you have a stain requiring additional cleaning is to spray water across suspected areas. Spotting either of the following means you likely have an oil stain:

  • Water “beads up”
  • Water displays a “rainbow sheen”

Sometimes an old oil stain is visible but nothing remains at the concrete surface. If it passes the water test, it should be ready to stain.

Cleaning Oil From Your Concrete

Clean the concrete with a solution of Concrete Cleaner & Degreaser and water. Observe after cleaning whether water is beading up over any oil spill area. If there is no indication of a spill that needs attention, rinse the concrete thoroughly, allow to dry and proceed with staining.

If some evidence of beading or oil sheen persists, we recommend the following procedure:

  • Purchase a bag of “oil absorbent,” such as Oil Dri™
  • Create a mound of the material to cover the spill area
  • Pour a solvent like, “Odorless Mineral Spirits” or “Xylene” over the mound and leave until completely dry (Solvents can be purchased at your local DoitBest Hardware Store)
  • Once the solvent has evaporated, sweep the oil-dry away and dispose of responsibly
  • Clean again with the degreaser and water solution, rinse and look for beading

Successful removal will not reveal a perfect looking concrete slab; instead, some signs of staining will remain beneath the surface. In most cases this should not affect acid staining.

What If I Continue to See Water Beading & Rainbows?

Sometimes it will take more than one application to remove the oil from the concrete surface altogether. Repeat the steps until the beading and sheen disappear. The process may need to be repeated up to 4 times if the oil stain is particularly large or very old. Vegetable oil, oddly enough, is one of the most difficult oils to dissolve and sometimes requires mechanical abrasion using a floor sander and a 50-100 grit pad to resolve finally.

What To Do About Unsightly Oil Stains That May Be Ready to Color But Can Still Be Seen in the Concrete?

  1. Use our guide to Complete The Floor Prep Work before placing an order for coloring product.
  2. Select an Acid Stain or Antiquing Stain Color that will help mask the appearance of the oil so it will be less noticeable overall.

Keep in mind that with a few exceptions, most concrete is not visible below patio furniture, barbecues, or other things that make oil stains less apparent when you begin “living” on the concrete.

If you have more questions, or for more helpful DIY tips, call one of our expert technicians Toll Free at: (877) 255-2656 or (405) 275-6657

If you prefer email, send in a Free Online Design Consultation and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours.

You can also follow Direct Colors on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

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You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 37: Acid Stain Concrete Indoors and Out! If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us.  Acid Stain Concrete is a popular option for both floors and patios but what are the acid stain pro’s and con’s and how do homeowners or businesses know if acid stain is the right choice for their project? That’s when Direct Colors can help! Here to talk about the options for acid stained concrete is Direct Colors General Manager, Shawna Turner. Welcome back to the podcast, Shawna.

ST: Thanks, Tyler.

TT:  So, what are the advantages of acid staining concrete floors and patios?

ST:  Without question acid stained concrete makes outdoor concrete look beautiful and increases your home’s overall curb appeal.  Acid Stain is a chemically-reactive stain that permanently alters the color of the concrete which is particularly beneficial for patios or other outdoor concrete exposed to weather and wear over time. As for concrete floors, I think our customers probably appreciate the ease of cleaning and low allergens the most over time, especially if they have pets. Every acid stained floor application is unique and really gives your home a stunning look without being ridiculously expensive.  Acid Stain, Sealer and Floor Wax are a very durable flooring system that will give you many years of use without refinishing or stripping.  I stripped out the carpet in my home about 7 years ago because of allergies and I was just sick of carpet in general. I used DCI Concrete Overlay to create some texture on the floor, acid stained with Shifting Sand Acid Stain, highlighted with Sorrel DCI Concrete Dye and sealed with both DCI Water Based Sealer and finally, the 550 Glossy Polyurethane. My floors still look great and I’ve never done more to clean them than a mop and a very light dishwashing soap and water solution.  A huge improvement over carpet I can tell you!

TT:  Since Acid Stain is a chemically-reactive stain, I would think the quality and condition of your concrete would be important. How do you know if acid stain is a good choice for your project?

ST:  That’s a very good question. It’s true that not all concrete is a good candidate for acid staining. Sometimes concrete floors, especially in basements and garages, are too smooth to acid stain and need to be profiled or in the case of outdoor concrete, patios are too eroded to get a good reaction with the stain. We have a comprehensive guide on our website to help DIYer’s determine if their concrete is ready for acid staining or not. The first page of the guide has a short list of questions and tests that if followed, significantly reduce the chances of problems during the process. We also have guides acid stain concrete guides specific to our most popular projects, including patios, basement floors, concrete floors and garages. We try to provide design tips and product recommendations to our customers that will help them get the best results with the least aggravation possible. Of course, doing a test area on the actual concrete first using acid stain samples does confirm whether the acid stain will react well with the concrete or not and we highly recommend testing before ordering product for the larger project.

TT: That makes good sense.  If I were a first-time DIY’er starting with a small acid stained concrete floor or patio project, what would you recommend?

ST:  Most of our DIY homeowners begin with a patio or possibly bathroom acid stain concrete floor project. Both are manageable in size and scope for most handy individuals. With this in mind, Direct Colors created the DIY Acid Stain Kit for Homeowners that includes all the tools and products needed to complete a 200 sq. ft. indoor or outdoor acid staining project. In fact, we just recently finished a brief video describing the kit contents and how to use them. I’d encourage new customers to check out that video to get a better idea of what’s needed for the project. If you have a slightly larger patio or floor, we also have a DIY Acid Stain Kit Add-on that has the cleaner, neutralize, acid stain and sealer for an additional 200 sq. ft. available as well. That’s handy.

TT:  We haven’t really discussed sealer options but how would you choose between the sealers available in the kit?

ST:  As a general rule, I recommend using water based sealers indoors and the Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer outdoors. Water Based Sealers, either high or satin gloss, are low odor and can easily be applied even in an occupied home or basement with little ventilation. Having said that, we do have a number of customers that really want a wet-look, high gloss sealer and prefer to use our AC1315 High Gloss Solvent Based Sealer. That’s fine as long as there is excellent ventilation to the outside during application and the customer is wearing a respirator to apply. Safety first! AC 1315 can also be used outside but I’d reserve that for heavily textured, porous or stamped concrete. Our Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer is a better choice for smoother outdoor concrete, especially around pools or on any surface that could become slippery when wet and that includes garage floors.  This sealer looks great, is very durable and won’t turn your concrete into an ice skating rink when wet which is very important to most homeowners.  Now if you’d prefer a matte concrete finish, the DCI Penetrating Lithium Hardener Sealer can be used on floors or outdoor concrete and is a great deal on patios, driveways and garage floors in particular because it’s a one-time application sealer and very salt-resistant. For folks living in very cold climates, that’s a valuable selling point for sure.

TT:  That’s extremely helpful information and will no doubt inspire DIYer’s to get started with their first decorative concrete project. Don’t forget to check out our new video, Unboxing a DIY Acid Stain Kit, on our website, directcolors.com, or on youtube. If you have questions about your project, call one of our expert technicians at 877-255-2656 and we’ll help you select the best products and technique for your needs.  If you prefer email, send in a free online design consultation and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours.

Related:

Concrete Acid Stain Color Guide

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