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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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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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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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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Shifting Sand Acid Stain Sealed with Water Based Sealer

You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 13: Acid Staining Basement Floors. Basement floor remodels are fast becoming our number one DIY project here at Direct Colors. We talk to customers everyday about the peculiarities of basement applications and recommend products based on each project’s individual circumstances. Shawna Turner author of Direct Colors How to Guide Acid Staining Basement Floors joins us to talk about basement projects.

Continue reading “Podcast: Acid Staining Basement Floors”

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You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 7: Applying Metallic Epoxy Countertop Sealer. Metallic epoxy finishes are new to Direct Colors. There are so many color and technique possibilities with metallics we wanted to discuss the technical details of the product to help our customers better understand how to use metallic epoxy for their own countertops. Here’s Direct Colors Design Technician, Justin Richardson, to talk about applying Metallic Epoxy Countertop Sealer for indoor countertop projects.

Continue reading “Podcast: Applying Metallic Epoxy Countertop Sealer”

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You are listening to Podcast Episode 2: Tips for Acid Stain and Sealer Coverage on Outdoor Projects.  Sometimes it can be difficult to determine how much acid stain and sealer is needed for a given project. Outdoor concrete can be more rough and porous than indoor concrete so in today’s episode we’ll discuss some of the different projects and how to So let’s get started.

Continue reading “Podcast: Tips for Acid Stain and Sealer Coverage on Outdoor Projects”

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Concrete Book Holders

Shawna T: You’re listening to DIRECTCOLORS.COM/LISTEN podcast episode number 25, Take the DIY Decorative Concrete Challenge with Direct Colors! If this is your first time listening, then thanks for listening.  I’m Shawna Turner, General Manager with Direct Colors. This week we’d like to talk about getting started with those lingering concrete projects that you’d love to get done but just can’t seem to take the first step. Without question, spring is the time of year when things around the house need to be done before it gets too hot.  Don’t let the idea of doing-it-yourself overwhelm you. Our technicians are available by phone at 877-255-2656 or by email at [email protected] to answer questions and help you get started. Until then, here are a few helpful tips for first-timers to DIY decorative concrete:

#1: Start small… You don’t have to remodel the kitchen as your first project. Begin with concrete decor for the garden like statuary or a birdbath to get your feet wet and get accustomed to the products. Experience as we all know is the best teacher. We offer several how-to videos on concrete décor projects that might be useful as a starting point. We also have extensive photo galleries that include a variety projects featuring all our color products. Hopefully our customers will inspire you with their DIY skill and help you select an appropriate project for your own home.

#2:  Try some samples… If you are considering a larger project, such as refinishing a countertop, check out our samples and kits page first. We have concrete overlay samples, acid stains and pigments that you can create a sample board with to work on application technique and color selection.  If you have a flooring or outdoor concrete project, we offer individual samples and kits to test for concrete reactivity in the case of acid stain or deco gel acid stain and to generally make sure the product is a good fit for your project. Working with samples before beginning with a larger project makes a big difference in your comfort level.

#3:  Patios are our #1 project… If you want to try a flooring project, start outside. Patios are the easiest concrete project to complete and are most commonly what our customers cut their teeth on so to speak. We have some awesome step-by-step how to guides that will really boost your confidence about doing DIY projects yourself. Walkways, Driveways and Porches are also good options for first time projects. The products we recommend most frequently is acid stain and for previously colored and sealed concrete, Liquid Colored Antique. Both are great and with good application instructions, easy to do. Once you finish the outdoors, next indoor floors and countertops!

#4: Check out the How-to videos, podcasts and blog posts… Take the time to review the DIY experiences of others before proceeding. Good preparation is never wasted time. DirectColors.com and directcolors.com/listen offers a wealth of information on just about every decorative concrete project. Take advantage of what our customers and experts have put together to help make your DIY efforts go more smoothly.

#5: Free Individual Online and Phone Project Consultations…  If you still have lingering questions about the right product to use or anything else, contact the experts at Direct Colors. Believe it or not, they will take the time respond to your email or speak one-on-one with you by phone to work out the details about your project. There’s a free design consultation form online if you prefer or call at 877-255-2656 to speak with a technician M-F, 8:30am-5:00pm CST.

Shawna T: So Take the DIY Decorative Concrete challenge this year and get started on the kinds of projects that will both make your home a better place to be and increase curb appeal!

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It’s that time of year when our customers what their outdoor concrete to look its best. The question for today’s podcast is which product, acid stain or liquid colored antique concrete stain, is better for what project. Here to help us make that determination is Shawna Turner, General Manager with Direct Colors.

Continue reading “Podcast: Acid Stain or Liquid Colored Antique for an Outdoor Concrete Project?”