Most people are turned off on the idea of getting their concrete floors stained because they are worried that they will eventually get unsightly wear patterns in the high traffic areas. While this is true because the sealer will eventually wear away that is protecting the stain; there are a few things you can do that will help prevent wear patterns.
The easiest thing to do is to follow the Pareto Principle, this basically means that 20% of the floor will receive 80% of the wear. So if you simply find the 20% of the floor that will receive the most wear you can use area rugs to prevent wear to the stained concrete floors.
The second option to preventing wear patterns is to regularly apply wax to the floor. This will acts as a sacrificial coating preventing the wear of the sealer and stain. The only bad thing about having to wax the floor is typically you will want to wax the whole floor, but as the Pareto Principle tells us only 20% of the floor will need wax. If you only wax 20% of the floor you will most likely see a noticeable shine difference.
In conclusion it is best to use area rugs in the 20% of the floor that receives the highest amount of traffic. Then you will have 100% of the floor looking good for a long period of time.
Here we are using a small stand up grinder fitted with a 24 seg diamond cup wheel to grind thin-set off concrete. This is a fast and effective way to remove thin-set. After you remove it you can then stain the concrete, or put another flooring material down.
If concrete is not poured and finished properly the surface of the concrete will start to dust. The dust is typically caused by too much water in the concrete or the concrete finishers added water to the surface when finishing. This will make the top surface of the concrete weak and with traffic the concrete will start dusting.
The dust created from concrete will make the surface a slipping hazard and also will affect breathing of the occupants that are in the building. Even if the concrete is covered with carpet the surface will continue to dust and can cause allergies. The dusting will also cause flooring failures that are glued down to the concrete.
The easiest way to dust proof concrete is to apply a lithium silicate densifier. In extreme cases were the surface of the concrete is also delaminating, the weak surface will need to be ground off before applying the densifier.
Concrete stains fade overtime usually because they are not maintained with a sealer (unless you used an interior stain for exterior).
If you leave concrete unsealed and as people continuously walk on the surface, the concrete will erode overtime. You can see this by looking at very old concrete and noticing that you are unable to see the broom finish that was once applied to the cream surface, instead you see the aggregate in the concrete.
When the concrete has been stained (which colors the cream of the concrete), and the cream of the concrete starts to erode, so will that stain. To prevent this from happening we apply a surface sealer on top of the concrete. Then the sealer will become the wear surface instead of the concrete, protecting the stain.
Once the sealer has been eroded, it is important to apply another coat of sealer to protect the concrete. If you don’t the concrete along with the stain will erode or fade.
For interior stained surfaces, it is easier to prevent the stain to fade because you apply the sealer to protect the stain, but then you apply multiple coats of wax to protect the sealer. You should never have to re-seal the concrete in this situation because all you have to do when the stained floor look dull is apply more coats of wax, which are easier to apply then the sealer.
Painting concrete is a great way for DIY’ers to add color to concrete. Most people see painted concrete porches that look very bad because the paint is peeling off from the concrete. This can be easily prevented by taking the necessary steps to prep the concrete floor before applying the concrete paint.
Before you paint the concrete floor you should evaluate the concrete and take notice of any major cracks or spalls in the concrete, and how smooth the surface of the concrete is. If the concrete does not have any cracks or spalls but fells pretty smooth, the concrete should then be acid washed to achieve a concrete profile similar to 80 grit sand paper. Profiling the concrete is the most important step for achieving a successful painting job.
Once you have prepared the concrete floor you can then begin painting the surface. I always like to cut in the edges and then roll the middle section. Putting thinner coats of paint is always better then putting the paint on thick. Thinner coats helps the paint soak into the concrete for better adhesion. Sometimes you can thin the first coat of paint so it will soak into the concrete deeper. Always fallow the manufactures directions, not all products have the same installation directions.
Polished concrete is a great flooring option for high traffic areas. When polishing concrete there are no sealers or waxes put on the concrete that can wear away. Polished concrete uses progressively finer and finer diamond pads until the concrete is very dense. Decorative concrete stains can be applied to add extra appeal to the concrete floor.
Polished concrete with the use of a newer technology penetrating sealer is great for in side homes, residential garages, retail stores, commercial spaces, and even exterior concrete.
Here are a few pictures of a garage floor stained, polished, and sealed.
This job consisted of removing glued down wood flooring, grinding Saltillo tile, grinding concrete, resurfacing an inclosed exposed aggregate patio, resurfacing the concrete and Saltillo tile to make a continuous floor, staining the concrete grey, and sealing the floor.
Before Removing Wood Floor
After Removing Glued Down Wood Flooring
After Resurfacing Concrete
After Concrete Floor Stained Grey & Sealed
Before Saltillo Tile Resurfaced
After Saltillo Tile Resurfaced, Stained, & Sealed
Before Wood Floors Removed
Removing Glued Wood Floors
Bedroom Resurfaced, Stained, & Sealed
Before Resurfacing Exposed Aggregate Concrete
After Exposed Aggregate Resurfaced, Stained & Sealed
If stained concrete is not maintained properly you will start to get wear patterns in the high traffic areas. As people keep walking on the stained concrete floor it will eventually erode and the stain will get dull. A lot of times these areas can be re-stained depending on:
if there is no remaining sealer on the concrete (if water soaks into the concrete)
if the sealer that was previously used was a solvent based acrylic
When you re-stain concrete you want to use a solvent based dye (if the sealer used was a solvent based). These will actually soak into a sealer if it is a solvent based acrylic sealer. After you have re-stained the concrete floor you will then need to re-apply a coating of sealer.
If you are looking at changing the color of the stained concrete floor completely, and your not sure what type of sealer was used on the stained concrete floor, the best and safest way is to remove the sealer either by grinding the sealer off or using a chemical stripper. Grinding will also remove a lot of the unwanted stain in the concrete giving you a nice clean surface to re-stain the concrete floor.
Grinding concrete involves using an abrasive, mostly diamonds to grind the concrete surface down. There are many different grits (the size of the diamond smaller the number the larger the diamond) that can be used to grind concrete depending on how much of the surface needs to be ground down. You can have concrete ground down inside or outside.