As a flooring company, we get to work on pretty exciting concrete flooring projects. Many of which are concrete staining. We’ve seen staining become popular among home and property owners in recent years. Our residential clients prefer to stain their outdoor concrete floors including patios. With this, boring floors quickly turn into beautiful surfaces that could last a lifetime with proper care.

While stained concrete can serve for several generations, it’s not immune to damage. It still gets discolored, scuff marks, scratches, and even cracks. This happens because of bad cleaning practices, poor maintenance, and over time use. We’ve also learned that some stain installers don’t do their work well, making the floors more susceptible to damage in a few months. To avoid the last problem, hire flooring experts at Southern Illinois Epoxy to do the installation for you. A good flooring professional should be insured, certified, and have a good track record.

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You Can Restore and Renew Damaged Stained Concrete Patio

Not all hope is lost when your stained concrete gets any form of damage. You can still manage to restore the elegance of your patio floors using several methods. Sometimes all you should do is to apply a fresh coat of wax to it. Other times it’s an overhaul project that takes a few days to renew the outdoor patio. Here’s what we put into a patio concrete restoration process at Southern Illinois Epoxy.

Materials, Tools, and Equipment You Need to Restore Your Patio

Every flooring project requires specific materials, tools, and equipment to make it a success. Renewing your outdoor concrete patio is not an exception. Here’s a list of the requirements to restore your floor.

  • An acid stain
  • A concrete sealer
  • An anti-slip additive
  • Rags
  • Pieces of chalk
  • Liquid sprayers
  • Cardboard to prevent oversprays
  • A nap roller
  • A stiff-bristled broom
  • A cutting saw
  • Protective gear
  • Power hose cleaner (heavy-duty)
  • A straight board
  • A crack filler

Resealing the Scratches

Not all floors have a finish coating. So if your floor isn’t finished, the scratches might be affecting the sealer. If this is the case, all you need to do is reapply a thin layer of sealer to restore it. An effective reapplication process will require cleaning the scratches with a solvent first. Some of the common solvents we use are xylol and xylene. These solvents are toxic and flammable and so requires caution during use. It’s worth mentioning that the tools you use to do the sealing should be resistant to the solvent. After you’re through with the resealing process, apply a coat of finish.

Fix Scratches on Stained Concrete Floors

Step 1: Start With Cutting Kerfs in the Concrete Patio

Kerfs are for aesthetic purposes. You can use them to create patterns on floor surfaces during staining. Your patio might already have kerfs because it was stained before so you won’t need to redo the process. Some clients prefer not to cut kerfs on their patio because they accumulate dust over time and can be a pain to maintain. If that’s the case for you, skip this step and proceed with the second step.

To cut perfect kerfs, draw the floor using the pieces of chalk, against a straight board. You can use a tape measure to get perfect measurements of your kerfs. Then take your saw and cut along these lines. Whatever you cut should be wide enough to fit cardboard and deep enough to hold the cardboard there. To avoid the dust that would result from the cutting, mist your saw with water.

Step 2: Prep the Concrete Surface by Deep Cleaning it

Your floors must be prepared first before you renew them. If you don’t take the effort to clean your concrete floors, you make it hard for the stain and sealer to bond with the surface. The end results won’t look good either. Remove any movable items like chairs, tables, and vases to leave space you can work comfortably. If you have stuff that’s immovable, cover them before you start the cleaning process. These could be plants and flowers near the patio.

The concrete cleaning process starts with sweeping the floor to get rid of debris and dust. In most cases, high pressure hosing across the floor surfaces does enough job to remove dirt and grime. All you need to do is adjust to a higher pressure if you want to reach every nook and cranny to force out dirt and grime. Also, focus on the kerfs because they hide a lot of dirt. When pressure hosing fails, a hard-bristled broom will help you scrub and detach stubborn stains.

Another way to prepare your concrete surfaces for restaining is through chemical etching. This does not only remove dust but also eliminates tough stains. If there’s paint, grease, or wax on the floor, invest in a paint stripper and a degreaser to get rid of this. But make sure you wear protective gear to protect yourself from the cleaning chemicals you’ll use to clean the floors. Once your cleaning is done, make sure you dry your floors thoroughly because a new stain would work better on dried surfaces. You can let the floor surfaces to dry on their own (which might take long) or vacuum them for a few hours.

Step 3: Seal the Cracks and Scratches if There are Any

Your floor probably has cracks and deep scratches that you’ll have to fill before staining. Clean the cracks and scratches and then fill them with a sealer. Ensure the filler gets to the end of the crack or scratch then level with the rest of the floor. Let it dry. Depending on which crack filler you have used, drying can take a few minutes or several hours. Be patient enough to allow it dry according to the manufacturer’s guidelines because this can impact the outcome of the entire process.

Step 4: Choose the Right Concrete Stain for Your Floor

The market has plenty of concrete stains that you could use on your patio floor. You can choose acid based stains or water based stains. Acid-based stains are better used by professionals. Using eco-friendly concrete stains is safer for your home, pets, and plants particularly because you might be residing in this building during this project. You get more control with an environment-friendly concrete stain.

When choosing a floor stain for your concrete patio, you have to consider the color. Because we are working on an already stained concrete floor, it’s helpful to know which hue was used in the previous installation. You can choose to retain the same color or go for a different one. For those looking to stain patterns on their patio, you must start with creating a color scheme to identify colors that work well together. Also remember that whatever color you choose, might slightly look different when it interacts with your concrete. This happens because concrete floors contain chemicals that react with your stain to produce unique colors. The same acid stain color in a bottle might appear different when applied to a different section of your patio.

That’s why getting help from a flooring professional is important. They’ve worked on several projects with multiple color schemes, on a variety of concrete floors, and already have an idea which acid stain hues blend well with each other. They have a possible outcome thus better placed to create better designs and special effects.

To be sure of what to expect from a specific concrete stain, try the available options on a hidden part of your concrete. Doing this helps you avoid surprises. If you’ve had trouble getting rid of specific stains from your floors, choose a concrete stain color that can help you mask them. Keep in mind that concrete stains only enhance the appearance of your floor and not cover it the way painting does.

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Step 5: Start the Staining Process

You should start staining your floors only when the concrete is dry. If the floor is taking longer than necessary to dry, vacuum it. Load your concrete stains into the sprayers according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Then arm yourself with a rag in one hand and the spraying bottle in the other hand. The rags will help you soak up the excess spray as you move across the patio concrete surface. Ensure your sprays are as even as possible.

The stain spraying process often varies from one project to the next because the anticipated results are different. What you want is for the stain to soak into your concrete and provide a satisfying hue. Don’t let the stain go too shallow into the concrete because that can fade easily and a minor scratch will expose the initial concrete. Don’t leave behind any pools of staining chemicals because if you do, the spot will look different from the rest of the floor. Remember to stain the available sections of the concrete surface according to the color scheme plan.