Decorative Concrete FAQ’s

Can’t My Carpet or Just be Remove for Modern Concrete Floor Staining?

Like many, you have a great idea. You’re tired of looking at your existing carpet. And who could blame you? Quite frankly, there are few things worse than old, stained, musty carpet. You know there’s concrete under that flooring, so why not just yank up the carpet and doctor the concrete a little for some sweet, modern concrete flooring? Well, it sounds like a good idea, but there’s really more to it than all that. See, pulling up that carpet is only part of the job (the easiest part). What you’re going to find underneath is likely a less-than desirable looking slab of concrete. It will be full of paint over spray, stains, cracks, chips…you know, everything EXCEPT what you want. And you can’t simply throw a stain on it and hope for the best. Oh, and we failed to mention how much of a pain it is to remove the tack strips.
So given that, it is best to apply a new concrete coating called Micro-topping. Micro-topping will then be Stained & sealed giving you a beautiful Seamless maintenance free Floor.

Can My Concrete Be Stained?

The most important factor when determining whether your concrete is a good candidate for staining is the condition of the surface. Both types of stain (Acid or Water-based Stains) can be applied to virtually any concrete surface. In order for the concrete stain to effectively color the concrete, the surface must be porous. But if there are barriers on the surface of the concrete like paint, clay, caulk, grime, glues, coatings, curing membranes, or sealers the stain won’t be able to penetrate and effectively stain the concrete material. Sprinkling water on the concrete surface a simple test you can perform to determine its porosity. If the water beads up and stays on the surface, then so will a concrete stain. If the water soaks in to the concrete then it is reasonably certain that concrete stain will also be able to penetrate the surface and successfully color the concrete material.

Can my New Concrete be Stained?

On new concrete, stain manufacturers recommend letting the concrete cure for at least 30 days before applying a stain and to avoid the use of curing compounds. On existing concrete, it’s important to keep in mind that stains are intended to enhance rather than disguise the surface. They will not mask cracks, blemishes, discoloration, or other flaws. In some cases, that can be an advantage and work well with the design. For example, if you’re going for an aged or rustic look, stains can accentuate minor blemishes and cracks and add greater distinction.

What Does Stained Concrete Cost?

We bid each and every job on an individual basis. No two jobs are exactly the same and so total cost is difficult to predict. Some of the main factors that determine the cost of a stained concrete floor are:

  • Size of the job (the larger the job the lower the price per square foot)
  • Surface preparation requirements (debris removal, floor prep, mechanical grinding, masking, covering, etc.)
  • Complexity of design (number of stain colors, patterns, etc.)
  • Scoring pattern options (designs are limitless)
  • Type of sealer (Polyurethane, Epoxy, etc…)

It is safe to say that in general a standard one color stain application with sealer and minimal surface prep will run between $3 and $5 per square foot. More elaborate decorative stained concrete projects can cost much more due to the amount of time and required skill level involved. Custom features such as multiple colors, designs and borders, scoring (saw-cutting), stenciling, and logos or patterns can increase the cost of a stained concrete floor. When comparing the cost of stained concrete with alternative flooring materials, such as carpet, tile, or hardwood, it is important to factor in longevity and replacement costs. Stained concrete will last for decades when properly installed and sealed and rarely needs replacement. It isn’t susceptible to mold or water damage and doesn’t trap allergens. With proper maintenance your stained concrete floors can last a lifetime.

What is the best method for fixing cracks in concrete prior to applying a decorative overlay?

The term “fixing cracks” is a bit misleading since there is no way to “fix” cracks in concrete, only fill them. The proper term to use when treating cracks prior to placement of a decorative overlay is “bridging.” This is accomplished by filling or covering the crack with a rigid material so it becomes flush or slightly higher in elevation than the surrounding surface. (Avoid soft, flexible crack fillers.)

What are different Types of Concrete Overlays?

Stamp overlays: A stamped overlay offers all the aesthetic benefits of conventional stamped concrete. The overlay mix is applied and then imprinted with stamping mats or texturing skins duplicate the beauty and texture of natural stone, brick, slate, wood planking, and other materials. Overlay thicknesses range from 1/4 to 3/4 inch, depending on the depth of the imprint.

Spray-down systems: These versatile systems offer a wide array of finish options. Usually they are sprayed evenly onto concrete with an air-powered hopper gun, but they can also be applied as a splatter coat to create a textured, slip-resistant surface or “knocked down” with a trowel to create a smoother finish. A popular decorative technique is our popular “Flagstone” pattern technique. We can produce designs ranging from decorative borders and medallions to tile patterns.

Micro-toppings and skim coats: These ultra-thin decorative toppings are applied by a trowel or squeegee in layers as thin as 20 mils, or a mere 0.02 inch. They can go on silky smooth and taken down to a feather-edge. Or you can apply several coats to create a textured broomed or troweled finish. They can be integrally colored & STAINED in a wide range of unique & interesting color variations.

How will my Stamped Concrete patio/driveway colors be applied?

Do we do “Stamping & Staining”? We get this question from time to time. “Stamping & Staining” is not a correct form or application for Stamping Concrete. True process for Stamped concrete is done by using Color Hardeners to top surface of concrete. We are big proponents of color hardener! Using color hardener produces a stronger, brighter, denser & more durable concrete surface than using integral color alone. It not only expands your color palette, but also reduces color-related callbacks and produces a better surface finish. A Colored Powdered Release Agent is applied as a secondary or multiple colors to create an Antiqued natural & rustic look. Stains can then be applied for a more realistic look.

Some contractors tend to avoid color hardener & will apply integral colorants in ready mix for different reasons: 1st, some contractors don’t understand how color hardener works, and thus are afraid to use it. Contractors that use this process are less skilled & educated on stamping process. Using integral pigments limits your color options and puts you at the mercy of the ready-mix company in regard to color inconsistency throughout the project.

How much do Concrete Countertops Cost?

Concrete counter-tops are a custom “ONE OF A KIND” product, designed by artisans. Although they are often compared to mainstream materials such as granite or marble, they really are a custom craft product, hand-created, and unique to each customer. Concrete counter-tops are not low-budget items, but rather are typically installed in high-end, custom homes and offices. It’s important to understand that there are many factors that contribute to the price of designing, building and installing concrete counter-tops which account for the range in the cost. Pricing is composed of counter-top construction, shipping (if required), and installation. Standard concrete counter-tops are built 3/4″- 1-1/2″ thick and range from $65-$150 per square foot. Installation charges are often not included in this initial estimate. The true cost of the counter-top is not in the concrete itself, but rather in the artisan’s creativity and time for creating special details, unique designs, transportation, and installation. Concrete counter-tops are typically specified by architects, designers and homeowners that want a completely one-of-a-kind product. Because of this desire, the cost of concrete counter-tops can vary widely.

Here are a few items that add to the cost of concrete counter-tops:

  • Irregular or curved shapes
  • 2″ thick concrete
  • Integral drain boards
  • Custom Edges
  • Back splashes
  • Custom Lighting

Are Decorative Concrete Floors Expensive?

The initial outlay for decorative concrete may exceed the cost of a low- to mid-priced floor covering, such as carpeting, vinyl tile and wood laminates. When compared with high-end floor coverings, such as wood, ceramic tile, slate and marble, decorative concrete is often an economical alternative. Plus, skilled concrete artisans can duplicate the look of these pricier materials. The life expectancy of a concrete floor will far surpass that of most floor covering materials. That means in the long run you can save money because you’ll never need to rip out and replace worn or damaged flooring.

Are Concrete Floors Cold?

Yes, concrete can be cold, but no more so than ceramic tile or natural stone flooring. In summer and in hot climates, a cooler floor can be an advantage and can actually help lower air-conditioning costs.

Are Concrete Floors Slippery? Will my Stained concrete floor be slippery?

They can be, especially when wet, but no more so than vinyl, linoleum, marble or ceramic tile floors. Kept clean and dry, concrete floors are generally no slicker than plain concrete surfaces. And they tend to be less slippery than waxed linoleum or polished marble.

Will my Stamped Concrete patio/driveway be slippery?

No we use a non-skid additive in our sealer & apply to ALL exterior surfaces.