Acid Staining and Sealing Outdoor Concrete During the Summer

You are listening to LISTEN.DIRECTCOLORS.COM podcast: episode 2. Today we’re talking about Tips for Acid Stain and Sealer Coverage on Outdoor Projects. So let’s get started.

Hey, everybody, Amie Nolen here. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for coming. I’m here with Direct Colors General Manager, Shawna Turner.

Amie Nolen: Hi Shawna. Our how to guide tells customer each gallon of acid stain will cover approximately 200 sq. ft. on most concrete but what about rough, porous outdoor concrete? How would you advise our customer to plan for patio, driveway or similar projects?

Shawna Turner: Well there is a big difference between outdoor concrete and indoor concrete and you can see it yourself at your own home or business. Indoor concrete is finished much more smoothly, generally often machine troweled while very little outdoor concrete is machined troweled. Sometimes a porch or a patio may be machined troweled, but never a driveway or walkway or similar concrete such as a pool deck for example. So when concrete is rougher and more porous, it’s generally finished for safety. People don’t want to fall down when it rains so it is a little bit rougher and more porous. As a result, rougher concrete decreases the coverage area for your typical gallon of acid stain. As a general rule, I would advise customers to purchase an extra gallon of acid stain beyond what the calculations suggest for those outdoor concrete projects, just to be on the safe side when you’re working with more porous concrete. Of course all of Direct Colors acid stains can be cut with water and that’s another option to consider as long as the concrete is in good condition and hasn’t been eroded over a long period of time due to its age. You should get good reactivity from most all the colors that we offer. Please do give us a call at 877-255-2656 if you have any questions about diluting the stains and the colors you’ll get as a result. We do include a comprehensive how-to guide for applying acid stain with every purchase as well.

AN: What about concrete sealers? How does porosity affect sealer coverage rates?

ST: Porosity is a factor again with concrete sealers. The way that a concrete sealer typically works, with respect to acrylic sealers, which is really what most people use for exterior concrete: The first coat of sealer is absorbed into the pores of the concrete and leaves very little on the surface. So if you have a more porous piece of concrete, you’re going to need more sealer to complete that first coat. The second coat generally begins to develop the gloss or make a deposition of acrylic on the surface of the concrete and that’s really when you begin to see the effects of the sealer and how it accentuates the acid stain and gives you that as to clean surface so with concrete sealers. Like the acid stain, if you’re working on an outdoor piece of concrete, particularly a driveway or a pool deck or patio, please do go ahead and purchase an additional gallon of sealer to be on the safe side. If you’re working with the solvents such as the Sprayable Satin Finish or the AC1315 High Gloss, I would recommend spraying it until it is gone. Keep in mind that high gloss sealers should only be applied on rough concrete that won’t become slippery when wet or used in conjunction with an anti-slip grit additive.

AN: Any tips on acid staining and sealing in the summer months? How does the heat affect the application process?

ST: For those of us who are living in areas of the United States that do get very hot during the summer, this is a major issue. with respect to acid staining and indeed with sealing, you really need to be applying the product very early in the morning or very late in the evening depending on whether the concrete you’re working with receives early morning sun or afternoon sun. Concrete off-gasses when it gets hot. The products are going to dry very quickly and you aren’t going to get the best results possible from either of the two products during the heat of the day. With respect to acid staining, often our customers, when it is windy or warm, will lightly dampen the concrete using a garden hose (not drowning the concrete) to give the acid stain more active time on the slab. Now dampening the concrete can lighten the color somewhat so that’s the reason for avoiding the drowning of the concrete. But it will have a very insignificant affect overall. But dampening the concrete during the summer is a great way to begin your acid staining project, be it in the morning or in the late afternoon, as is appropriate to get the best possible results. Now with regard to sealing, you have no option other than to seal early in the morning or late in the evening depending on when sun hits that concrete. Concrete goes every day through a cycle of heating and cooling. As the concrete heats, gasses are emitted and that can really interfere with how your sealer goes down on the concrete. Often it will result in bubbles that aren’t very attractive when they pop. To avoid that, you would apply your sealer as the concrete is in the cooling cycle and gasses are not being emitted. That will make a huge difference in how the sealer adheres, how it appears on the surface, and simply how successful overall the application is. So if those two things can be kept in mind, you’re well on your way to a successful summer concrete project.

AN: Hey, thanks so much, Shawna.

ST: Thank you!


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