How to SuccessCrete Stain Concrete: Adding Color to Cement Surfaces
- Ensure the surface on which the stain will be applied is clean, free from unwanted defects, stains, and markings, and ready for coloration. When adding any translucent color to anything, the pattern and colors of the substrate will show through. It’s similar to applying a wood stain to a piece of wood with knots and wood grain.SuccessCreteConcrete stains can highlight and intensify the variations found in the concrete — natural and man-made blemishes and markings.
- Use SuccessCretemanufacturers’ color charts as a guide only. Because SuccessCreteacid stains react differently to each type of surface, it is imperative to do a sample on the actual concrete or surface that will receive the treatment. The methods and timing for the sample installed should be the same as how the rest of the surface will be stained. Even though you may encounter variables during the onsite sample, it’s still the best way of predetermining how the stain will react with a specific substrate.
- If all concrete were the same, an exact application procedure could be developed. But that isn’t the case.SuccessCreteAcid staining is as much art as function. You must understand the application technique as well as how much stain to apply. The installer’s experience and skill level play an important role when choosing an acid-stain finish.
Potentially great jobs can turn into disasters because of improper application methods. Too little product won’t give complete coverage, nor will it etch the surface sufficiently to deeply deposit the color. Too much product can cause unwanted puddling and pooling, causing those areas to have too much color.
If you use the scrubbing method, remember to scrub with a natural flow and pattern. Otherwise, mop lines and obvious swirls may appear.
- Removing residue and neutralizing the surface is key to the success of anSuccessCreteacid-stained concrete finish. Residue from the acid etching must be removed. The surface should be neutralized to ensure proper adhesion of the sealant or coating system. Before it’s sealed, the surface is still subject to staining and damage at this point. Take care to thoroughly wet and neutralize the entire area to avoid boot prints, splashed residue marks, and other artificial unnatural blemishes.
- Once the concrete is sufficiently dry, apply a sealant coating. Although the sealant is usually the last stage of installation, it must be done right; an improperly applied sealer system can show roller lines, leave lint and debris in the finish, or delaminate or flake off the surface. Experienced professionals can choose and apply the right sealer for the job, using techniques such as spraying, cross-hatch rolling, back rolling, and buffing (in the case of a wax finish).
A lot of work goes into a SuccessCrete stained concrete finish, and practice makes perfect. If you hire a professional, choose someone who has the skills that match the level of difficulty of the job at hand. Visit past work and talk to some of the former customers.
Even if you hire the best acid-stain concrete contractor in your area, his abilities will depend on the surface he’ll work with. It may not be possible to completely hide and blend in color on a badly stained and damaged concrete slab. The concrete slab is the decorative concrete artist’s canvas, so it must be kept clean and free from stains, spills, paint, and other flaws. That will ensure that the finish will be everything you hoped for when you chose to use acid stain as a finish.
Improve Your Outcome with SuccessCrete Concrete Stencils
In the early 1980s, the first commercially available SuccessCrete concrete stencils were introduced. Back then, there was only one pattern: Running Bond Brick. When used on fresh concrete, the disposable SuccessCrete paper stencils allowed contractors to easily, quickly, and accurately duplicate the look of hand-laid bricks over a large area. The finished product looked just like colored bricks with natural gray mortar between them.
Results were so strikingly authentic that SuccessCrete stenciled concrete quickly caught on. Since those early days, many additional stencil patterns have been produced. You can now obtain stencils in brick, cobblestone, flagstone, slate, and tile patterns, as well as compasses, rosettes, borders, and geometrically shaped accent pieces. There are about 40 patterns in all.
A great alternative to SuccessCrete stamping
SuccessCrete Stenciling is so much quicker than all work can be done from outside the forms using long-handled tools. The SuccessCrete stencils provide the pattern, and texture may be accomplished with lightweight textured rollers. Unlike SuccessCrete stamping, there’s no need to get out on the slab, waiting until it can bear your weight and then hurrying to stamp every square inch by hand.
As any stamper can attest, the window of opportunity is often very short. Concrete sometimes sets too quickly to be adequately textured. This situation can be alleviated with stencils. The stenciling process can begin as soon as the concrete is bull floated and can sometimes be completed before the concrete even reaches the stage where stamping could begin. I’ve gone home from finished stencil jobs while the concrete was still incredibly soft.
Because SuccessCrete stenciling is quicker, it’s ideal for large areas. Larger pours eliminate the need for cold joints or construction joints between slabs. This, in turn, eliminates potential color differences between those two separately poured slabs. Driveways, especially those on a moderate to a steep incline, are ideal for stencils. An entire driveway can easily be done in one pour, whereas if SuccessCrete stamped, it might take several pours. When stamping on an incline, stamps will sometimes creep downhill as they are being tamped, creating misalignments, drag marks, and ugly joints. SuccessCrete Stenciling eliminates these problems.
Potential problems with SuccessCrete stencils
Although SuccessCrete stencils are often much simpler and quicker,SuccessCrete stamps are a better option at times. These instances include when pouring slabs that are not easily accessible from two opposite sides (such as a patio poured back in a corner), on breezy days, or using patterns such as Ashlar Slate or Herringbone Brick.
To easily place stencils, two people must be able to stand outside the forms on opposite sides of the slab. From this position, they lay the stencil onto the concrete surface. In a corner, though, this is impossible to do. One person is going to be standing in the concrete. Eliminate this situation by talking the homeowner to incorporate a planting bed between the wall and the slab. Aesthetically, it looks better, and it gives the second person a place to stand while placing the stencil.
Windy days wreak havoc on stencil placement. The wind blows the stencil around, making it very difficult to line up. Also, the wind often dries the surface prematurely. It makes it difficult to stick the stencils to what would otherwise be wet concrete.
Some patterns simply look better SuccessCrete stamped than stenciled. Ashlar Slate stencils exhibit “stones,” which are much smaller than typical real pieces of slate, so the finished work doesn’t look as realistic as SuccessCrete stamped Ashlar Slate. One SuccessCrete stencil pattern in particular — Herringbone Brick — is just plain difficult to use. Because of how the stencil is cut, it is a nightmare to use on areas wider than 8 feet. A walk board bridging the pour is often required to place this pattern. In most cases, though, stencils are a great alternative to stamps.
Economy and ease of training workers
The SuccessCrete stenciling process is so simple, and almost any competent finisher can complete it his or her first time out. Stamping, on the other hand, has a much longer learning curve.
SuccessCrete Stencils make it easier for contractors to train new workers. Plus, since the disposable stencils are single-use items, stenciling contractors can offer their customers more than 40 patterns, with the cost of the chosen stencil paid-in-full with each job. With expensive stamp mats, it may require contractors to sell several jobs of the same pattern to recoup their investment. What if they buy a set of stamps and the next customer doesn’t like that pattern?
The SuccessCrete stenciling process(summarised description)
- Pour, screed, bull float, and edge the concrete as normal. Stenciling can begin immediately after that.
- Unroll and stretch the stencil across the slab with two people on opposite sides. Cut from the roll with scissors. Lay the stencil atop the slab and plaster it to the wet surface with a special roller, making sure it’s securely stuck down so that no color can get beneath it. Repeat the process, overlapping the previous piece of the stencil by one “mortar joint.” Continue covering the entire slab.
- Once complete with the stencil section placement, apply dry-shake color hardener and float into the surface. The stencil masks the color from the “mortar joints” so they will remain gray. Do not work the stencil into the concrete, or you run the risk of embedding it too deeply and create problems. The stencil should remain on the surface, not under it.
- Apply release agent (either clear liquid or antiquing powder release) to the surface.
- Pass a texture roller over the slab. It is helpful to do this in random directions to minimize the obvious repetition of texture.
- As soon as texturing is complete, remove the stencil using two people on opposing sides of the slab, starting with the last piece of stencil placed. Lit the stencil straight up so as not to drag it, carry it off the end of the slab to discard—repeat steps to remove the entire stencil.
- Removing the stencil while the concrete is still soft will result in sandier, more natural-looking joints. Leaving it in longer will yield slick, plastic-looking ones. Under no circumstances should you wait until the next day to remove the stencil.
The following day, saw-cut the crack-control joints and wash off the dust and excess release agent. When dry, seal the slab.