Avoiding the Most Common Problems When Using Concrete Colors

Decorative concrete has rapidly become a popular option for everything from residential to retail settings. Offering the ability to assume practically any texture, pattern, design, or shape, decorative concrete is the ideal option for whatever look it is that you wish to achieve. Unless you prefer the industrial look of gray slate, there is also no reason not to enhance concrete with color. Concrete colors can help transform any concrete surface into a work of art. With that said, however, there are a few tips to keep in mind when working with concrete colors.

Have a Vision in Mind First

Concrete Colors

Concrete Colors

First, in planning to work with concrete colors, begin by thinking of what it is that you wish to achieve. Too often, many people focus too much on the specific product. Coloring mediums can produce vastly different results, so decide on what it is that you want in the final design and then choose your concrete color products based on that. It is also important to avoid relying solely on the color charts. Remember that the final color of your individual project may vary based on a variety of factors, including the amount of water used in the concrete mix, sand color, and cement color. Color can and often does vary significantly in surface-applied treatments depending on the original color and condition of the base concrete. This is particularly true when working with reactive chemical stains. Avoid the temptation to take a shortcut by eliminating trial applications. Performing a trial application when working with concrete color treatment can give you a better idea of what to expect. Concrete colors present unlimited options to help you create a unique look. With some care and precision, you can create a design you will love for many years to come.

How to Prevent Sealer Problems with Decorative Concrete

Applying a concrete sealer

When concrete sealer does not perform as it should, the root of the problem can typically be traced back to over-applying the product, applying the sealer in improper conditions, or allowing multiple coats of sealer to build up on the slab before they have dried. There are other issues that you might face when applying sealer to decorative concrete, including the following:

Bubbles in the Sealer

The presence of bubbles within the sealer is often an indication of over-application or off-gasing. For best results, sealers should be applied in multiple thin layers. In the event that there is any air displacement or off gassing, a thin application will make it possible for the bubbles to move quickly through the film and pop. Ideally, it is best to apply sealer to decorative concrete in two thin coats rather than one heavy coat. The first coat should serve as a primer, most of which will be absorbed into the surface of the concrete. It is only when the second coat is applied that you will begin to see an even finish and glossy color enhancement.  Another trick of the trade is to apply sealer when a concrete slab is cooling (in the evening)- heat from a hot day will cause the concrete slab to warm, expand and “breath out” while a cooling slab will shrink and “breath in”.

Flaking or Peeling Sealer

If you have noticed that the decorative concrete coating is flaking or peeling or seems to have a white appearance, the problem is likely due to applying the sealer to a surface that is too wet,  fresh or moist.   This results in the sealer failing to absorb and bond with the surface of the concrete, causing the sealer to float or sometimes trap a film of water underneath it.  Over-application can also cause this type of problem. To avoid this problem, it is important to follow coverage rate directions meticulously and make certain the surface is properly prepared and completely dry before applying the sealer.

Expert Tips for Preparing a Floor for Concrete Stain

Concrete stain is a technique used to upgrade the appearance of a concrete floor.  By using an acid stain to achieve a chemical reaction between the acid and the minerals found in concrete or a water-based stain that will simply deposit it’s color into the pores of the concrete.  The colors that can be produced from a concrete stain are incredibly beautiful, natural, and surprising. With concrete stain, concrete flooring can change dramatically in appearance without incurring major costs and inconvenience. Moon Decorative has a range of SS Specialty products to fit every possible interior or exterior design seamlessly, such as SS Rainbow Stain, an acrylic stain that seals porous and cementitious-based substrates. And everything is available through our online store, where you also get a chance to view demo videos and go over technical data. One of the main reasons for wanting to stain a concrete floor is to provide a finished floor surface by utilizing the existing concrete already poured and there.  If you to uplift a room from dull and dirty to colors like tan, wheat, black, red, green, aqua blue, vintage umber, or even the color of cola you can choose a reactive acid stain.

 

Here are some expert tips for prepping a floor for concrete stain

  • Clean, re-clean then clean again: A proper stain job starts with a clean and ready surface.  Removal of glues, paints, caulking, mastic, or other contaminants is critical to a quality stain job.  A great way to see if the floor is clean and clear of contaminants is to mist it with water and see if the floor darkens.  If an area is still sealed the floor will not get dark and the water will bead up.
  • Avoid acid washing a slab prior the acid staining: Do not use acid to wash the concrete.  The acid will wash away the chemicals required for an acid stain to take. Instead use SS Surf Prep to open up the pores of the concrete and properly prepare the slab to accept the stain.
  • Test an area: After the floor is clean and prepared for stain, test an area in an inconspicuous  and install the stain and sealer just as you would on the actual floor.  This will ensure you will be happy with the results.
  • Use the proper patch material:  If an area of the floor needs repair and patching, use an acrylic-modified product that will accept concrete stains, avoid epoxy patch that will repel stain.  Even with the best patch job you must be aware that concrete patches will be apparent after staining and this is simply a part of concrete staining an existing slab.
  • Tape and protect all walls and equipment with paper not plastic: It would seem that spraying liquid onto paper is not smart, but if sprayed properly the small amount of acid stain that hits the paper should absorb and dry fairly quickly.  If you were to use plastic for protection you would notice that even a small amount of liquid that hits the plastic beads up and drips down.  This causes a dark drip pattern around the room and doesn’t look professional.

The Leader In Decorative Concrete Products and Training

Concrete Products

Concrete Products

Moon Decorative is where you have access to high quality concrete products, expert training and DIY resources, and the largest online store for concrete products and systems, all under one roof! As a firm that values quality in production, distribution, and training, Moon Decorative has helped thousands of clients and customers get the solutions they needed when it comes to Decorative Concrete.  Our one of a kind online store allows you to buy concrete products, tools, mixers, and other related materials. Featuring thousands of products, our online store is the largest of its kind and allows you to conveniently buy high grade concrete products online! Don’t believe the hype – Visit our online store today!

Our Product Range

Moon Decorative offers the most comprehensive range of concrete products and systems in the United States. Our in-house concrete products, SS Specialties as commonly known, offers you the chance to have affordable and durable concrete products that can provide a great return on your investment. Our product range includes (but is not limited to): As your premier concrete solutions provider, we are proud to serve you with over two decades of expertise backed with an exceptional ecommerce shopping experience like no other.

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Take a Concrete Class and Learn How To Install Vertical Concrete

Vertical Concrete

You know about the advantages of stamped concrete when it comes to working horizontally, but there’s another exciting way of working with stamped concrete – why not think about using vertical concrete? Moon Decorative even offers an exciting new vertical concrete class called Yes, Concrete Can Go Vertical! You can add drama to vertical surfaces by using vertical concrete stamped overlays. Essentially, you use a cement wall overlay material in order to build up a vertical surface and extend it outward. This material can be applied over wood, masonry, drywall, or even existing painted drywall – pretty much anything that’s vertical – and it will go on a bit more than three inches before it begins to sag. Once applied, it can be stamped or hand-sculpted, so the possibilities are practically endless. You’ll learn more about this when you take the concrete class. You probably know about the flexibility you get with manufactured stone. You get even more versatility with vertical stamped concrete, because you can create the stone patterns in any shape and size you like. You can combine sculpting and carving with stamping to create a really unique effect, so if you’re a creative craftsperson, you can get stunning results. As with all vertical concrete mixes, vertical overlays are fire, water and weather resistant, and can be stamped and tinted to mimic far more expensive building materials. It can be used outside for just about anything, or indoors to refinish fireplaces, backsplashes, walls and more. For renovations or for brand new projects, the effects that can be created using vertical stamped concrete are exciting. So, should we get to work? The concrete class, Yes, Concrete Can Go Vertical! lasts for a day and a half. Over that time, you’ll learn the uses of SS Vertical Mix, one of the many concrete products available from Moon Decorative. You’ll be building boulders that will be used in water features, and you’ll learn how to prep the SS Vertical mix, reinforce, apply the mix, stamp it, carve, and color. This is a great opportunity not just to learn a new technique, but to meet and socialize with other decorative concrete aficionados. We guarantee a good time, and on the full day of class, we’ll even provide you with lunch. Check out the course offerings for dates, times and pricing. We look forward to seeing you in concrete class!

Specialty Concrete Products Protect Your Countertop, Reducing the Need for Repair

Concrete Countertop Sealer

You’re proud of your enCOUNTER concrete countertop, and you want to make sure that it looks beautiful for many years to come. The good news is that’s very possible. Concrete countertops are extremely durable, and can take a fair bit of abuse before they become damaged. The bad news is, almost any material can scratch or chip. The best way to protect your enCOUNTER system is with specialty concrete products like enSPARTIC or enPOXY concrete countertop sealers/coatings. enSPARTIC provides a clear, high-gloss coating that cures in very little time, saving time and labor over polyurethanes and epoxies. It’s for indoor use on surfaces that have been properly prepared, and with its bonding strength and superior penetration, it will deliver years of protection from wear, abrasion and impact. enPOXY is a 2-part epoxy system that is extremely heavy-duty, and provides a food-grade surface that resists bacterial growth. It’s very durable, but takes longer to cure than enSPARTIC. Either of the specialty concrete products will offer outstanding protection, but as we’ve said, anything can scratch. If you do end up with scratches on your countertop, you may be able to repair them yourself, assuming that the scratches are just in the sealer. All you need to do is apply some sealer to the affected areas. If there are a lot of scratches, the entire countertop will likely have to be resealed. Of course, touch-ups have to be done properly otherwise you can make the surface look even worse. You’ll need a fine brush, a steady had, and a single-component sealer. If you use too much, just remove the excess with a paper towel. Once the sealer is dry, you can use fine sandpaper to smooth out the surface – that way the repair won’t look overly visible. You could also use nail buffing pads. If your countertops have taken a lot of abuse, you might want to consider calling in a professional who is well-versed in the use of specialty concrete products. As we’ve mentioned, you could attempt to reseal the entire surface of your concrete countertop, but realistically, this is less of a DIY project than spot repair. It’s more complex, and unless you’re particularly handy, you’ll probably be better off leaving it to a pro. Fortunately, a reseal job isn’t usually all that expensive, and once it’s done, you’ll get many more years of enjoyment from your concrete countertops.

Specialty Concrete Products and Finishes for Countertops

enCounter Concrete Countertop by Tony Tyner

With all the different finish options available for your enCounter professional countertop, and the specialty concrete products that are available, there’s simply no need for anyone to have boring countertops. Concrete artisans can create stunning effects by stamping, grinding, or polishing the countertop surface, and can even add objects to the concrete for a really unique treatment. Let’s talk about some different finishes, and then we’ll tell you about an exciting new addition to the specialty concrete products lineup. Polished finish To achieve a glossy, polished appearance, countertop installers use 800-1500 grit diamond polishing pads. 5-grit would be used to expose aggregate. Monochromatic Finish This is simply an unpolished finish. Grinding would only be done if aggregate needed to be exposed. Pressed or Veined Finish This is a method of finishing the countertop that’s best left to highly skilled artisans. The process involves packing a stiff, wet concrete mix into the mold by hand, and then not vibrating the mix and slurry. In this way, a void is created, and with the right coloring in numerous slurry coats, creates a veined or pressed appearance. Whatever type of finish you select, you’re going to want to make sure it’s protected. There are several specialty concrete products that can ensure protection. These sealants ensure that the concrete countertop will repel stains before they have the chance to actually penetrate into the concrete. As countertops age, they will begin to develop a patina regardless of how well they’re sealed and waxed. This isn’t necessarily an undesirable thing, as the patina often adds depth to the countertop. Many people find that they actually prefer the appearance of a nicely aged concrete countertop. What’s New in Specialty Concrete Products for Countertops? We’re very excited about the new DYE-namic concrete countertop acetone dye. It’s the first dye product that can be used both indoors and out. It’s made up of fine-ground color particles in a solution that penetrates your concrete countertop. It can be used alone, or applied over other colors to create multicolored, variegated, multi-shaded designs that are one-of-a-kind. You’ll love the effect, and how easy it is to use – it takes about a third of the time you’d need for acid or water based stains, and it requires no neutralizing or time-consuming cleanup before sealing. It’s another great way to add a unique touch to your concrete countertop!

Stamped Decorative Concrete Overlays

Stamped decorative concrete overlay on stairs

  Adding a rock, stone or brick texture to your existing concrete is possible with Stamped Decorative Concrete Overlays.  These thin topping systems can be found on patios, driveways, pool decks and restaurant patios across the world.  The beauty of a stamped overlay is that it can be installed on your old damaged and cracked concrete to give it new life, without the need to jack hammer it up and re-pour an entire new slab. From herringbone brick to flagstone and slate textures you can really make an impact on your home or businesses’ decor with stamped concrete overlays. Color options will also make your new overlay pop and really stand out. Choose from almost an unlimited array of patterns, textures and color options to create your own personal style and look. Call us at Moon Decorative and we will be happy to help. Or better yet, come into our store and see over 30,000 square feet of ideas. Here you will find lots of examples of Stamped Decorative Concrete Overlays.        

Pool decks coatings that provide function and custom style

Swimming Pool Resurfacing

    When the time comes to choose your pool deck surface you will want to select a pool deck coating that will not only last the test of time but will endure the fluctuating trends in pool design and decor.        

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