Interior and exterior stain, dye, and sealer options.

AKA Stain & Seals

For our concrete staining jobs we use non reactive dyes that are environmentally friendly and non-toxic. Staining your concrete floor is becoming a very popular option for retail outlets, basements, patios, shops, and offices. For a durable concrete flooring option on a budget this is your best bet. We can stain your concrete floor with one or more colors followed by a clear coat to give you a matte or glossy sheen.

The procedure:

Our work typically begins by grinding down the top layer of your concrete. This is known as the cream coat. This serves to remove any residues that can cause problems as well as to allow the dyes and clear coats to properly bond. This is a mandatory process which lets the dyes properly soak into the concrete floor and allows for aggressive clear coat adhesion. The open pores and abraded surface then allow the clear coat to soak down into the small cavities formed when your concrete was curing and water was evaporating from inside. The coating interlinks with the concrete and hardens to form a strong bond. Doing proper preparation work is necessary for a successful long term concrete flooring solution. This allows us to warranty our work through the product manufacturers and give all of us a piece of mind that your stained floor will last. If your job is indoors we will top off your clear coat with a wax layer. This gives you a durable wear layer that you can easily build back up periodically so that you do not wear down your relatively more expensive clear coat.

For exterior slabs there are a few ways to go about properly prepping your concrete for a clear coat depending on whether you have a stamped surface, a broom finish, or a hard troweled finish with a cream coat. See the FAQ below for more information on this.

There are a variety of clear coats to choose from which will best meet your specific application and desired look. For residential basement floors we like to use a water vapor permeable clear coat that allows any possible moisture in the slab to slowly move through the coating and not cause adhesion or bonding problems. Despite the coating allowing vapor to pass through it, it still provides great protection from stains and would puddle liquids if spilled on it. Other clear coat options typically used for our commercial clients have higher resistance to abrasion, scratches, and caustic chemicals, yet arn't necessarily as water vapor resistant. There are a multitude of options for every floor and we aim at educating you as to what we feel are your top choices and why it is we recommend them. Please read further or give us a call and we can solve your flooring issue in no time. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are concrete polishes and stains environmentally friendly?

    Absolutely! With polishing, the chemicals used to strengthen your existing concrete are extremely safe. There is no waste or material that eventually goes bad and needs to be thrown out and replaced, you're just using your existing floor to it's full potential! We also do not use acid based stains and so there is no harmful waste involved in our concrete staining/dying process.

    You may also qualify for LEED points on your project by choosing a polished concrete floor.

  • What are my options regarding colors?

    Contact us for color charts and design suggestions. A molted one or two color design pattern is very popular. You can have company logos, names, symbols, football teams dyed onto your floor. We can make you a variety of patterns including checkered, diamond, wavy lines, symbols, or colored pathways. If you have a design in mind we can work with you to put that down on your floor.

  • What do I do with my baseboards?

    You can leave these on if absolutely necessary but realistically, you should remove these for any kind of flooring work your considering; concrete or otherwise. We can do this for you if you like.

    The details: While we have done plenty of work without removing them, it's not advised, and it will cost you more for us to have to carefully work on your concrete floor without doing too much damage to them. If you insist on leaving your floor boards on while we work, it should be still noted that they will inevitably get nicked, scratched, damaged, and dinged in places. Our tools have to be very powerful to grind concrete floors and your option is to either have unfinished edges or for us to try to get right up against them with 8,000 rpm hand grinders spinning a diamond embedded metal alloy disk. If you're getting an epoxy done, your baseboards will be partially embedded in the epoxy floor, this is especially the case for a reflective/metallic epoxy floor that has a thick build. With concrete floor polishing, the chances of damaging them goes up as we have to make numerous passes along your edges with ever finer polishing grits.

  • Do you offer a warranty and what does it cover?

    Yes, a one year warranty comes standard on all of our workmanship. If you'd like an extended warranty we would be gland to oblige you. We don't take shortcuts in our prep work or materials and so are glad to offer you written reassurances on our products and services.

  • What are my options for the control joints with a Polished Concrete Floor or Stain & Seal?
    1. Leave them as is. A very common option, but dirt & debris get stuck in there making cleaning difficult.

    2. Fill them with a elastomeric polyurea compound that will stretch and contract as your concrete moves. This will also help protect your concrete at the joint lines. It eliminates a blunt impact by wheels and dragging objects. It also makes your floors far easier to clean. Not to mention safe for high heels, roller blades, pogo sticks, and the like not getting stuck and preventing a potential tripping hazard.

  • What to avoid using on exterior sealed concrete to remove snow and ice?

    Don't use a metal shovel and you really should try to avoid using salt. If you must use salt, use magnesium chloride. If possible use a snow blower with a rubber paddle or a plastic snow shovel.

  • What are my options for getting my existing decorative concrete restored?

    We offer just two options for you if you have prior installed stamped concrete, stained and sealed flooring, or any concrete with previously applied color.
    Option one is a re-seal. If your color isn't too faded and worn away this will revitalize the color that is present. To get an idea of how much revitalizing a coating will do, simply wet your concrete slightly and observe. A sealer re-coat will be quite similar to this in making your current colors pop out.
    Option two is sand blast your concrete to properly open up and expose the surface capillaries and pores. As well as to remove any residual dye, sealer, and contaminants that may interfere with proper stain/sealer adhesion. We then apply our vibrant and UV resistant penetrating stain and industrial resinous sealer. Option one comes with no warranties, but, in many cases where your decorative concrete isn't in bad shape this is what we recommend. Option two is a big upgrade from what many other contractors are offering in terms of using cheap dyes and solvenated one part sealers, sometimes applied wrecklessly over your existing coating, certainly saving you money on the install, but leaving you with more problems than you started.

  • Why is another contractors outdoor stain and seal price less than yours?

    It is easy for a contractor to offer a lower price if they use an inferior product. Furthermore they can lock you into a bi-yearly maintenance plan you may have not suspected by using a cheap solvent or water based acrylic sealer. Our system will last you upto ten years before needing to re-apply another coat to reinvigorate your space. Once started on the path of using a typical solvenated acrylic sealer, you must continue on that route and cannot switch to the more durable system we now recommend without stripping every last bit of that old sealer off.

  • What are the cons of a re-seal on my outdoor concrete?

    A reseal is just a simple maintenance treatment and will not restore your space to good as new condition as many believe. There is also no simple to follow maintenance plan for your space. You see, based on your specific conditions you may have areas that get more or less sunlight, spots subject to irrigation runoff, sprinklers, wind, freezing, salt buildup, heat, snow, foot traffic, etc. This creates uneven wear on your sealer, a weakening bond in some places, weakened molecular crosslinking in spots, uneven chemical and ultraviolet damage, and loss of adhesion in areas.
    Now by having a contractor slap some more sealer over the top of everything do you really think that this restores your space to as new condition? Now what If I tell you that over the years many different contractors came through and applied various different brands of sealers one on top the other and given that the wear patterns aren't consistent you will have greatly varying sealer thickness throughout your space. Spots which received little wear over the years may now have many times the maximum allowable thickness of sealer caked on. This will not allow the slab to transmit water vapor through and may cause moisture buildup leading to coating failure. Once some areas flake off, it's only a matter of time before adjacent areas fail as well due to a breach in the integrity of the sealer-concrete bond region. Another under recognized point of failure is that perhaps the last contractor put a solvenated sealer on top of a water based one. Do you know the brand of sealer that was last used on your slab? We have techniques to make educated guesses, but you can be sure that the contractor isn't getting a laboratory test done to ensure compatibility. To sum up a long answer, there can be no warranty offered for re-seal given the fact that the material we are sealing over may very well flake off, taking our shiny new coating off with it.
    Now that you see the many shortcomings of the cheap seal, re-seal cycle, you can understand why we at time urge customers to move towards a more sustainable coating involving lower maintenance and greater longevity. Unfortunately, this often involves sand blasting the existing acrylic sealer off and starting fresh.

  • What are the benefits of a re-seal on my outdoor concrete?

    The greatest benefit is the cost savings. When a concrete sealer fades and wares away it ceases to protect the concrete, its color, and its integrity. This is especially so in freeze thaw climates like Colorado. What a sealer does is not allow water to penetrate the surface of the slab and then freeze. When water freezes it expands and if this water happens to be under the concrete surface, it can break it apart. As more concrete breaks off the top surface, it exposes the more porous portion of your concrete. Which in turn draws in more water and deepens the extent of the damage. This weathering action is what predominantly causes spalling or chipping of the surface. A sealer also protects stains or dyes in the concrete from the suns ultraviolot radiation. The UV rays fade colors into more earthy and muted tones. They turn red colors pink and generally lighten up dark colors. A sealer will accentuate any colors previously applied and generally enhance the vitality of the existing or newly applied artistry.

  • What are my clear coat options on an indoor stained floor?

    For residential applications we recommend a breathable clear coat that provides an excellent balance of strength, cost, and water vapor resistance. Rarely do we stray away form this recommendation for typical foot traffic and uses not involving chemical contaminants or workshop users. The product we found to be best in this scenario is a nearly zero odor water borne methyl methacrylate based acrylic polymer. It is UV resistant, scratch resistant, an is quite glossy in appearance. It can be toned down in gloss by applying a matte or satin wax over it.
    For more demanding applications we recommend a polyaspartic clear coat. You can't get much more industrial than that and with some aluminum oxide powder broadcast into it the strength of your floor will be near bulletproof.

  • Would you recommend I go with a glossy or matte finish for my clear coat?

    A glossy finish will serve to hide many imperfections in your concrete including repairs, cracks, patches, pour-backs from trenches that may have been applied separately from the original concrete. A glossy finish also blends any stain work much better giving it a more smoothly flowing appearance. A glossy finish is more modern in appearance and makes the floor stand out more. A drawback is that it is easier for scratches to stand out and you should be more careful not to gouge the floor with anything.
    A more antiqued look would be achieved with a matte finish. A matte clear coat will also provide a bit more traction given the orange peel effect that the clear coat gives. The matte finish will make all stain, repair, and patchwork stand out far more. A small drop from our sprayer will be more visible from further away and it'll make any transitions between colors stand out far more. A matte clear coat will be more forgiving if you scratch it in terms of not standing out as easy.

  • How do I maintain my epoxy or stained concrete floor?

    We advise that you keep it clean of debris, dirt, and grime. As well as clean up any chemicals as soon as they are spilled. This especially includes wines, brake fluid, bleach, and to a lesser degree urine. You can do this with a ph neutral cleaner like 'simple green' and a micro-fiber mop. You can also just use plain water or a dry micro-fiber mop for routine maintenance. We highly recommended that you occasionally apply a coat of wax to your floors to help them stay strong and shiny. About once every six months should be sufficient for most residential environments. We will recommended for you a specific commercial grade wax for you to use, depending on your floor.

  • Which of your flooring options are suitable for persons suffering allergies or asthma?

    Polished Concrete, Concrete Stains, and Epoxies are all excellent choices. They do not support the growth of molds, pollens, or dust mites. If you have a kitchen or laboratory project in mind let us know, we have numerous products that are specifically FDA approved for these applications! We also have special coatings that are specifically suited to kill bacteria, molds, and fungi on contact. 

  • How long do I have to wait after a new slab is poured to finish it with epoxies, stains, or a polish?

    28 days is recommended for all of the above. If you're getting a new slab poured and are thinking of using our services to finish your concrete floor, please give us a call first, we can provide you with some suggestions regarding the concrete mix and curing additives; especially if going with a polish! Some non-retarding concrete curing additives can increase the cost of your polish.

  • What are my concrete floor options?

    You can do a stain and clear coat, an epoxy and clear coat, two coats of polyaspartic resin, a urethane based cementitious coating, a microtopping, or a polish. Each has it's advantages and disadvantages as well as unique options that may or may not suite your needs and application, a brief phone call to us can help us guide you in the right direction.

  • What clear coats would you recommend outdoors?

    For exterior residential applications where we aren't forced to coat over somebody elses product we have a special coating that took us years to locate and test in the field. This is a breathable coating that is UV stable, extremely abrasion resistant, mixable with aluminum oxide aggregates, that has an average life span before needing re-coat of seven years! Compare this with the typical solvenated acrylic sealers most people use outdoors which exhibit a two year life span on average and you'll see that this is most definitely the right way to go. This product is a much more industrial, consisting of a two component resin and hardener made of acrylated urethane-acrylic. Beholding the breathability of acrylics as well as the strength of a urethane.
    There are also penetrating sealers which arn't defined as clear coats you can use outdoors, these can be a cheap solution to maintaining the longevity of your concrete as well by preventing spalling and staining some.

  • What solutions do you offer for my old and fading outdoor stained concrete?

    The first and most affordable option is a simple re-seal. This should extend the life of your decorative concrete for a period of two years on average before it's time to re-apply or move onto option number two. Us providing you with this option is contingent on the integrity of your desired reseal surface being in a satisfactory condition. What we do is clean the slab with a pressure washer and then apply a coat or two of a solvenated acrylic sealer. Please see 'what are the pros and cons of a re-seal on my outdoor concrete' for valuable information on this option.
    The second option is a complete rejuvenation of your space. This, unlike the first option comes with a warranty and involves the proper preparation of your slab with sand blasting or grinding in order to open up the pores of the concrete for a proper clear coat bond. With or without stain, this industrial coating has a 5 to 10 year lifespan, is moisture vapor resistant, and is far more scratch and element resistant than what has been typically used outdoors until now. Not to mention far far less expenses in maintenance having contractors come out every few years to reseal it.

  • Why coat or finish concrete in the first place?

    Your concrete as a part of your total building infrastructure is often a very substantial part of the complete cost and by finishing it you can maintain that value so that it doesn't degrade. Aesthetically, when people see a concrete floor unfinished it gives the impression of a non-functional storage place and not a living, working, or professional environment. Bare concrete emits concrete dust when unsealed. It is susceptible to staining quite easily. It is liable to absorb oils and other contaminants deep into itself making it impossible in some cases to decontaminate. It is not resistant to molds, bacteria, or fungal growth and so can potentially be a source of pathogen contamination in certain circumstances. It is not easy to clean as it attracts dirt and holds it in its pores. Cleaning costs are far reduced on a coated surface. Concrete coatings help protect the surface from wear. Including salts, oils, water, chemicals, etc. Coatings typically reflect far more light than bare concrete and many other surfaces thus reducing electric bills. You may save costs long term dealing with repairs when not addressed properly sooner. In places with any sort of wheeled traffic control joints are often points of wear when they aren't filled in to allow wheels to smoothly transit the gap in the joints.