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Trowel & Error
What’s new in decorative concrete? That was a popular question that came my way multiple times during the recent World of Concrete. I realize my name is out there, but I’m a long way from having a crystal ball to be able to predict what the future of our industry holds.
This issue of blotchy and inconsistent color and gloss created by a sealer is not that uncommon. There are multiple factors that can create this appearance, but the two most common are application — how the sealer was applied — and surface — what the sealer is being applied to in regard to density and porosity.
The decorative industry grew up on the “one size fits all” high-gloss sealer which was the go-to coating for decades. While high gloss is still widely used, low-gloss and natural finishes in the decorative concrete industry have been gaining momentum as homeowners, architects and designers seek more ecofriendly, green and natural-looking sealing options.
My contractor placed blue painter’s tape on the concrete for a few days to mark the placement of cabinetry. The tape was removed and the concrete was sealed with two coats of 25 percent solids acrylic sealer and two coats of acrylic finish. A few days later the concrete was discolored and had evidence of where the tape had been placed. No surface damage to the concrete was evident.
Is it possible to smell sealer months after application? Someone asked me this regarding a stained and sealed floor in a Colorado residence.
In a recent week, I’ve had two overlay projects with cracking. The first project had lots of short random cracks, the longest about 3 inches long. We noticed them the afternoon of the same day the overlay was applied.
Applying stains and sealers with spray equipment may strike the decorative concrete contractor as a convenient, speedy solution, not terribly complicated.
Acid-stained concrete has been popular for decades. The process of acid staining is well documented, as are the key precautionary items to look for before and during application. When I first started troubleshooting decorative concrete problems around 2001, I got a lot of calls involving acid stains. oday, I might get these calls a few times a year. Thanks to real-world experience, continuing education and better specifications, issues with acid stains have been greatly reduced.
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