Q. What are your recommendations for succussful concrete placement and staining?
A. 1. Your slab's moisture barrier should consist of a "minimum" 10 mil poly. It is vital to tape together overlaps, also tape off open poly around plumbing, as well as any other openings that would allow moisture to continuously migrate into the slab. Moisture can cause coatings to fail and bring minerals such as salt, to the surface. Concrete should be poured as at least a 3500-psi straight mix, with no fly ash, sealers, or curing compounds.
2. We recommend a 4.5 to 5 inch slump, keeping your water-cement ratio low. Caution workers against adding water during slab placement.
3. Never add calcium to your concrete mix for any reason.
4. Concrete must be troweled smooth, but not burned with special attention being paid to hand troweled areas around walls, floor outlets, plumbing, etc. Rough concrete will never gloss, and will give you a different (usually lighter) color result. Footprints left in concrete during placement are permanent, as are cracks, trowel marks, and other features.
5. Wet cure concrete only. Plastic used for curing will leave designs in your concrete that you may not like.
6. Framers should use "blue" chalk only. Other chalk colors will leave permanent lines.
7. Never leave anything on the slab while it is curing, including lumber, equipment, etc., or you will see a resulting imperfection in the concrete.
8. Advise workers not to eat, drink, or spit on your floor. Caution plumbers, HVAC workers and painters to use drop cloths to protect the concrete. "Resulting stains will be permanent."
9. Never apply any type of adhesve (tape, etc.) directly to the concrete. Adhesives will restrict the chemical reaction of the stain, and will also pull color and coatings from the floor.
Q. When is the best time to score and finish floors?
A. Concrete should be scored prior to framing to secure the lowest price. If borders are desired, scoring must take place after framing. Floors will be sealed and finished at the end of construction when all other trades are done.
Q. Can rough texture in the concrete be sanded smooth to look like the rest of the floor?
A. No, that is why good placement techniques are so critical.
Q. Will chemical stains hide cracks, trowel marks, or other imperfections?
A. No, chemical stains are translucent like a highlighter pen. They will color the concrete, but hide nothing.
Q. Do chemical stains have a consistant color?
A. No, color results are not predictable and will vary from concrete to concrete. Mottling and variations in color and intensity will be the norm.
Q. Will chemical stains match the color chart?
A. Not usually. Stain charts, or even pictures, are a starting point to choose a color, but how stains react on your concrete may be different.
Q. When is the earliest new concrete can be scored?
A. Scoring can take palce two days after the slab is placed. Staining will usually take place after the roof is completed. "For scored borders framing must be completed."
Q. When is the floor coating applied?
A. Usually near the end of construction so that the floors can remain covered and protected until other trades are finished.
Q. Should I be concerned if I see cracks?
A. All concrete will crack, and some degree of cracking will show on virtually every slab. Minor shrinkage cracks or cracks that appear prior to cables being tightened are normal. Wide structual cracks may indicate a foundation concern.
Q. Why would someone choose polished concrete flooring?
A. Polished concrete can not only be attrative, but very practicle due to it's durability and low maintenance. Polished floors rely on the hardness of the concrete for durability which is not compromised by coatings.
Q. Can holes in the concrete be patched?
A. Yes, however repairs will always appear as a patch. Repairs will color different and have a different texture.
Q. Can you stain old floors that have carpet, vinyl, or wood on it?
A. Yes, we do it all the time.