Thursday, July 16, 2009
Staining concrete with environmentally friendly products
There is a two week break from classes in my woodworking school right now, so I'm taking this opportunity to get some work done on the two small rooms that will eventually become an office and a small exhibition gallery. Although the linoleum floors are only a few years old, they look like ass. Apparently, a former tenant thought it was OK to use this room for tasks like washing car parts.
No amount of scrubbing would eliminate the stains, so I stripped the linoleum off, revealing the concrete below. The adhesive underneath was nearly impossible to remove. My research suggested hot water and a scraper. I did this in the first room, and although it took a while, I got most of it off the floor.
Right around the time when I was deciding what to do next, someone on this blog suggested a soy-based product for staining the concrete. See, I was considering an acid etching method that was very toxic, and that's the last thing these lungs of mine need. When I finally located a company in town that carries the soy products, I made an appointment with them.
One of the coolest things about their products is that they're very safe - no fumes, no caustic chemicals. They have a stripper that you can actually apply with your bare hands. Sweet.
Of course, I'd love to show you a can of it, but I didn't have my camera with me. But you can see the stripped floor below. (With my classy office desk.)
That stripper worked like a charm. Of course, I wish I had known about it earlier, so I wouldn't have spent so long scraping the first room.
After stripping the adhesive, it was recommended that I use a heavy duty degreaser, to remove any last remnant of the stripper. Again, I chose to use a eco-friendly product, and chose one of those citrus based products from my local hardware store. Once the floor was degreased, I did a thorough rinsing (maybe four or five times) with plain water, sucking it all up with my wet-vac.
You could have eaten your lunch off the floor by the time I was done with it.
Since there were a lot of colors to choose from, the owners of the company dropped off some samples for me.
These samples are only two ounces, and will stain about eight square feet of concrete.
I was hoping for a color that would hide the sawdust that is sure to be tracked through these rooms.
Once my hands were coated with colors, I couldn't take any pictures. But the interesting thing about this products is that you can apply it, and if you don't like the color, you can wash it right off the concrete. So after testing these colors, I chose the dark brown color, the sample on the far left.
The next step was to mask off the floor, where the room starts.
I started by applying the stain with a sponge, on my hands and knees. I can't tell you how old that got.
So I grabbed a sponge mop and applied it differently in the next room. The hell with eco-friendly, I need something that knee-friendly.
You're supposed to wipe it on, and wipe off the residue, as this is a penetrating stain product.
Wiping it was a little time consuming, as the product had dried on the surface. I used that same sponge mop to rinse it off the floor. The color of the concrete was fairly light, but it needed to dry overnight before I would be able to decide if it needed another coat.
The next morning? Ugh, to was way too light for the effect I wanted, so I applied another coat to each floor. The second coat really added some depth of color
All that's left is to apply a sealer. But that will have to wait, because I'm headed to the convention center here for the huge AWFS show that started yesterday. There will be acres of tools and hardware and lumber products to see - what more could a girl want?