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Concrete surface stains & colors or polishing methods: how to obtain a colored, polished, or stained concrete finish on concrete floors, tables, countertops or other surfaces Concrete stain products & product sources are also provided.
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At left we see brown rectangular stains that are an artifact of a previously-installed vinyl asbestos or asphalt asbestos tile floor that has been removed, the surface cleaned, polished, and then sealed.
Color and finish methods for concrete surfaces include at least the following approaches.
Concrete Coloring & Staining Methods: dyes, stains, paints
At above right is a much more rough concrete surface with voids caused by air entrainment. This concrete,discussed at CONCRETE STAINS, would not take a high gloss polish.
Polishing a new concrete mix formulated to accept a gloss finish, typically by adding marble dust, and that may have deliberate inclusions such as pebbles, stone, or even glass fragments. Below are two concrete-cast tables whose finish surface used this technique. The same method may be used on interior or exterior floors.
The addition of marble dust to the concrete permits polishing to a hard glossy finish such as the concrete table shown at below left. A second polished concrete table constructed by the same owners and workers is shown at below right where glass inclusions from bottle fragments form a dramatic but smooth-surface.
Here is a CLOSE-UP of the polished edge of this table whose composition includes concrete, marble dust and bottle glass inclusions. - Thanks to DP & LM in Guanajuato.
In some approaches a layer of formulated concrete (with marble dust for example) may be poured atop a thicker layer of standard concrete mix before the first pour has fully set and cured. The top layer permits the desired polishing while the standard concrete mix used for most of the thickness reduces the installation cost.
Colored finish surfaces on concrete floors are applied using one of these methods:
Shown above and below are sections of colored concrete flooring in the Hacienda Las Trancas, Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, Mexico. This floor was constructed in 1932 and remains in superb condition (like the author) for its age.
Watch out: be sure to consult your concrete coloring agent, stain, or dye manufacturer to assure that the sealant you select is recommended as compatible with the concrete coloring agent you used. Also be sure the surface has adequately cured, dried, and has been cleaned before applying any stain or sealant product.
Watch out: several sources we reviewed including attributed to SolCrete (below) warn that rubber-backed carpet padding or throw rugs may trap moisture, leaving a white stain on the sealed floor.
Failures & Disappointments in Concrete Stain Finishes
Below the concrete floor was "stained" using an acid treatment. The light patches in the left of the photo indicate foot-traffic wear through the acid-treated concrete surface . (Rigby 2006).
Wear on a stained concrete floor will be increased by any of the following
White Bloom On or Under Finished Concrete Surfaces
White blooming under a clear or coloured finish on a concrete surface may be caused by application of the clear coat over moisture or by the movement of moisture through the concrete from an outside water source such as groundwater under a floor slab or from plumbing leaks.
See these diagnostic articles on mineral efflorescence that can ultimately show up on finished concrete surfaces as white discoloration below a clear or translucent coating or that may appear as a crystalline or powdery deposit on the concrete surface.
Research on Concrete coloring products, stains, washes, & finishes
Concrete Coloring & Staining Products, Concrete Etching Stain Products
Continue reading at STAINS on CONCRETE or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.
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