Saturday, November 26, 2011

We Do Acid

I can't wait to see what kind of traffic the title of this blog draws. Over the past week we have tackled the acid staining of our concrete floor.

Parts of the project were as easy as I thought they would be, and other parts were much more difficult. I'll start from the beginning.

We used kona brown colored stain from Butterfield - mainly because I could get it locally. Most experts recommend doing a test spot in an inconspicuous area. So we did. Our test spot revealed a color we liked and gave us the confidence to continue.

We started by moving everything out of the room.
This is the first time we could see this much of the floor in months. Then we masked off the walls with some leftover landscaping plastic.
Next, we cleaned the floor and cleaned the floor and cleaned the floor. We used a CHO concrete cleaner that also came from Butterfield. I would not recommend this cleaner unless you have really old or dirty concrete. The cleaner needs to be neutralized with a solution of baking soda and water, which was the start of our problems. We must have scrubbed and wet vac'd the floor a half dozen times trying to clean up the remaining residue.  If I had it to do over again, I would use something like 'simple green' or another degreaser style detergent.

Once we were finally done cleaning the concrete, it was time to do some acid. I mean stain the floor. We used a hand pump sprayer, just like a garden sprayer. The manufacturer warns you not to use a sprayer with metal parts. I don't know what will happen, but I envision a MacGyver style explosion. Laying the stain down is pretty simple. You just work your way out of the room and let it dry.

Here is another mistake I made that you don't have to. Make sure your stain is completely dry before you neutralize it. It will save you some clean up time. The stuff that is still a bit wet contaminates your clean up solution and makes cleaning up take longer. It may also make some designs you aren't happy with. After it is completely dry, you need to neutralize it with a solution of baking soda and water. Then you need to work your tail off trying to clean up the baking soda residue with clean water - before the residue drys on the surface.

We ended up doing a second coat, mostly to hide some of the mistakes I made when I washed my stain off too early - but partially because we wanted a darker shade.
When all is stained you need to seal your creation.
The sealer we used was also from Butterfield. It is solvent based and very nasty stuff. Get in, get it sealed and get out. Make sure to follow the directions on the can. For example, ours said that it is highly flammable and temperature sensitive. Two things that could have made everything go horribly wrong. We used two coats of sealer followed by three coats of Halloway House floor finish. Even though mistakes were made, we couldn't be happier with our floor.
This last picture is a teaser for the next blog post.