How to Stain Concrete: Stain your way from gloom to glam

Let’s get one thing straight. Plain, gray concrete is best used in military bunkers. Other than that, it’s downright boring. What can you do to spice up your concrete patio, concrete counter-tops, and concrete floors? There’s one solution: stain it. Staining concrete takes time and effort, but the results are beautiful.

concrete stain
Image taken from www.thatisconcrete.com.

Types of Concrete Stain

If you’re a parent, the word “stain” probably doesn’t make you think of something beautiful or decorative. Nonetheless, concrete staining is a great way to turn a slab of gray into luxurious concrete with color or shine. Concrete experts generally use one of two ways to stain concrete: acid and water-based stains. Each one has a specific purpose, but which one should you use?

Acid Concrete Stains

  • Acid stains are made up of metallic salt minerals dissolved into a water-acid mixture. The acid causes a chemical reaction during the curing process that permanently changes the concrete surface color and texture.
acid stained concrete porch
Acid stained porch in Colorado. Image taken from www.denverconcretecompany.net.

Non-Acid Concrete Stains

  • Non-acid stains treat concrete differently than an acid stain. Instead of altering the structure of the concrete, non-acid stains create a layer over the concrete surface, filling pores and leaving behind a flat, smooth finish.
non-acid stained concrete
Non-acid stained concrete. Image taken from www.super-krete.com.

Concrete Staining Process

Do Your Prepwork

According to industry experts, the best way to stain concrete is as follows:

  • Thoroughly clean and prepare concrete
  • Apply concrete stain
  • Clean up and neutralize concrete stain
  • Seal concrete for lasting protection

In order to stain concrete, the concrete must be cured to its proper strength. This can take up to 48 hours, but with concrete curing products, this time can be nearly cut in half. Concrete Blankets help keep concrete at stable temperatures above 50°F, curing 2.8 times faster than open air curing. This is especially helpful when staining concrete in places where temperatures are variable or close to freezing. Make sure your concrete creation cures correctly.

Once it is cured, you can move on to the concrete staining process. Begin washing down the concrete surface. You don’t want any food crumbs or shoe scuff marks to get in the way of the stain, so make sure to give it a good scrub down. Also remove any layers of glue, sealers or curing membranes that might prevent the stain from coming in full contact with the concrete. Finally, apply a concrete acid cleanser to the project surface to ensure the concrete is as porous as possible. Once it has dried, rinse the concrete with water. Some concrete manufacturers, like Quikrete, even make their own cleaners, etchers, and de-greasers so you know you are using the best DIY staining products on your concrete.

Let The Staining Begin

After the concrete is no longer wet from rinsing, use a brush or roller to spread the stain across the project surface. If it’s a puddle you can splash in (don’t), it’s too thick. If it disappears right after applying it (i.e. it absorbed into the concrete), you need more.

Once your initial layer is down, allow 24 hours of drying before applying another layer of stain, even if it’s the same stain color.

Most concrete stains have difficulty drying in cold temperatures. If you must do a concrete staining project in the dead of winter, a Concrete Curing Blanket can save the day, allowing the stain to dry within a controlled environment.

Protect Your Project

You’re so close to being done! After the stain has dried, use a sealer or wax to protect the stain from dirt or grime that could change the color or texture over time. You’ll need to regularly clean the concrete surface, but don’t use powerful chemicals like bleach, vinegar or ammonia. Such solutions can damage stained concrete. And you wouldn’t want that, would you?

concrete stain
Image taken from www.kronion.pw.

Finally, bask in your work. Enjoy the fruit of your labors and invite friends and family over to see your decoratively stained concrete.

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Concrete Curing Blankets

Cold Weather Concreting

Imagine arriving at the job to find a fresh layer of ice and snow on your pour site. The weather forecast shows continual sub-freezing temperatures, and you are worried about getting the concrete stage done so your crew can keep the project on schedule. Even if you manage to successfully pour your slab, what will the end result be? It will take forever to cure, or not finish curing at all. The result may be a fragile, partially cured piece of concrete, riddled with defects from thermal stress.

It’s no secret that curing concrete in cold weather is a tricky endeavor. Mother nature can catch even the best trained crew off guard during the winter, and cause costly construction delays.

Conventional Concrete Warming Products

To avoid completely shutting down work during the winter, some construction crews turn to conventional concrete warming products and practices.

Insulation

Concrete hydration is an exothermic process and does create some heat. This heat can be trapped (to some degree) with the use of insulating blankets or straw. However, when pouring concrete in cold weather, providing thermal insulation is only half the battle. Insulation alone does not create heat and will not provide enough surface contact to effectively trap heat on really cold days.

Forced Air Heaters

Some crews build temporary enclosures over their pour site and use heaters to force hot air over the slab. This radiant heating method spends more time and energy heating the air around the concrete instead of heating the concrete itself. During the winter, a lot of heat can also be lost through the bottom layer of the slab into the sub-grade. This uneven heat will cause the top layer of concrete to cure much faster than the bottom, leading to shrinkage and a weak cure.

Calcium Chloride

Using accelerators, like calcium chloride, in your concrete mix is a two edged sword. It can certainly reduce winter cure times, but it also contributes to a variety of defects. Calcium chloride can cause corrosion of steel reinforcements in your concrete. It can also increase volume shrinkage, scaling, efflorescence, and discoloration.

Electric Concrete Curing Blankets

When you combine heating power with the protection of insulation, a world of possibilities opens on your job site. Not all blankets are created equal, and Powerblanket’s concrete blankets are a cut above the rest. We specialize in total temperature control that gets you and your crew back to work.

How Powerblanket Products Work

Heat Transfer Through Conduction

Powerblanket saves you time, energy, and money by putting the heat precisely where it is needed. By simply placing down our concrete curing blankets, you are harnessing the power of conduction and heating your concrete directly. Fresh concrete must stay above 50°F for 48 hours in order to hydrate and cure to a strong finish. Direct conductive heat gives you peace of mind and takes the hassle out of curing temperature maintenance.

concrete curing blankets

More Surface Area Contact

During wet, windy, and cold winter conditions, surface contact between your heat source and your concrete is critical. Our concrete curing blankets have 10x more surface contact than other blankets. More surface contact means even and controlled heating so your concrete cures uniformly.

Weather Proof Insulation

concrete curing blankets

Simply put, thermal insulation reduces the transfer of heat between objects. Our heavy duty, weather-proof insulation provides a protective barrier from the elements and reduces heat loss. Our insulation doesn’t just trap the exothermic heat generated by the hydration process. We combine insulation with efficient heating elements to direct heat downward right into your concrete slab instead of losing it to the winter air.

Powerblanket Benefits

 

concrete curing blankets

Faster Cure

Winter conditions notoriously slow down or sometimes stop concrete from curing. Our concrete curing blankets cure 2.8x faster than conventional insulated blankets. Faster cure times allow your crew to move on to the next building stage and help your project finish on schedule.

Maintain Moisture During Hydrating Process

Moisture loss during hydration weakens the cure of your concrete. Our blankets protect your slab from the elements during the hydration process and allow the necessary chemical reactions to finish.

Easy to Install and Remove

Forget bulky heaters, finicky straw, and time consuming enclosures. Simply place our concrete blankets down and let them do the work for you. They are easy to remove and store for future needs so they can continue to save you time and money down the road.

Stronger Cure

Powerblanket ensures your concrete is durable and built to last. By using our concrete curing blankets you can produce a 3,925 psi rating in just 72 hours.

Prevent a Freeze Cycle

Freezing during the early stages of curing can greatly reduce the integrity of the concrete by as much as 40%. Powerblanket heated concrete blankets not only generate and evenly distribute heat but retain that heat over longer periods of time allowing the concrete to avoid damaging freeze-thaw cycles during curing.

Reduce Downtime and Increase Profits

Fewer tasks hold up a construction site like concrete troubles. Save yourself from expensive repairs and re-pours by having the right temperature control products on hand before disaster strikes. Curing your concrete quickly and strongly allows your crew to meet deadlines and move onto the next building stage.

Thaw Ground and Warm Sub-grade

Our concrete blankets can serve multiple purposes on your site. By placing them down before a pour, you can thaw frozen ground and heat your sub-grade. This not only protects your concrete from losing heat into the ground it also reduces thermal cracking that occurs when warm concrete is poured directly onto a frigid surface.

ACI Certified

We are dedicated to providing high quality and reliable concrete solutions and all of our concrete blankets are cold weather certified by the American Concrete Institute.

Powerblanket Guarantee

With total temperature control from Powerblanket, there is no off season. We keep your crew working and your job site productive all winter long. Contact us to find the right concrete solution for your needs at 866.945.4203 or [email protected]

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