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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and Answers

General Information

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Colors

Testimonials

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DIY Acid Staining Guide

Concrete Resurfacing Guide

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Information

Product information sheets and Material Safety Data Sheets for some of the main products we use are below.

Instructions for Builders

   
Floor Cleaning Instructions  

Concrete Countertop Cleaning and Maintenance Guide

Chemstone Acid Stain

 

Hydra-Stone Dye Stain

Portion Control Colorant

 

UltraStone Antiquing Stain

Thinfinish Overlay

 

Microfinish Overlay

Texture Pave Overlay

 

Concentrated Solvent Sealer

Crack Fill Epoxy

 

Clean Print Liquid Release

Mapei Ultraplan M20 Plus   Mapei Ultraplan M20Plus MSDS


Colors

To color floors we may use Chemstone reactive acid stains, Hydra-stone dyes, or Ultrastone Antiquing stain in combination with Portion Control colorants.

To color countertops we may use Davis Concrete countertop colors.

Acid Stain Colors   Hydra-Stone Dye Colors
Concrete Countertop Colors   Portion Control Colors


Frequently Asked Questions

What about cracks?

What is an overlay?

What is a trowel down?

What is a stamp?

What is acid staining?

What is water staining?

What is scoring?

What is a concrete countertop?

How long will it take to complete the job?

How long does it last?

How do I maintain my floors and countertops?



What about cracks?

We can fill and close cracks in the concrete, however we cannot guarantee that they won’t return. Cracks in concrete are a given, many contractors say that there are two types of concrete “cracked and about to crack.” Normally this should be limited to hairline cracking with minimal separation as all structural concrete is reinforced internally. Cracks do not necessarily detract from the appearance of the floor, we often incorporate them in our overlay designs by running grout lines over them and they add “personality” to the floor when we do acid staining.

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What is an overlay?

An overlay is a layer of special cement that is applied to the surface of your existing concrete. This layer can be as thin as 1/16” to as thick as 4” depending on what needs to be done to the floor. It is specially formulated to adhere tightly to your floor. The application of an overlay to existing concrete surfaces opens up an entirely new range of possibilities. Suitable for both interior and exterior areas, overlays can be used for covering up defects in an existing floor or, through the use of stamps and acid staining, a simulated rock surface can be molded directly into the overlay surface, creating a visually appealing effect. SolCrete always seals its overlays which brings out the stain’s luster and protects it.

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What is a trowel down?

Trowel downs are basically free hand random effects troweled (material is pushed around using a flat steel handle) directly into the overlay material while it is still wet. It can be made to imitate stone surfaces while maintaining a relatively flat surface. As the process is relatively quick to apply and uses less material than a traditional stamped overlay, it is generally a more economical option for those seeking a stone like surface.

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What is a stamp?

Stamping is the process of creating an extraordinarily authentic stone like appearance on your existing concrete. After applying a ¼” thick overlay on to your floor, the stone texture is generated by pressing a stone patterned matt directly into the overlay material while it is still wet and soft. Textures such as granite, sandstone, and roman slate can be created. Once the material has hardened, the final coloring is done through an acid or water stain.

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What is acid staining?

For those wishing a distinct look to their floors acid staining is an affordable option. By chemically reacting directly with the concrete, a unique color scheme is created. As the chemical makeup of concrete floors varies substantially, no two surfaces will ever be exactly alike, sometimes even within the same area. Multiple colors and combinations are available, from watercolor blues to translucent reds; each creating a beautiful surface that is truly original.

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What is scoring?

Scoring is the process of cutting a small groove on the surface of the concrete to create a desired pattern such as squares or diamonds. Normally these patterns are no smaller than 24” x 24” and require a minimum of a 8” border around the room to be scored. Scoring can beautifully accentuate a room by drawing the eye from one pattern to the other.

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What is water staining?

Water staining offers a different look to concrete surfaces. Usually used in combination with an overlay, a water stain is actually sucked into the porous concrete, tinting it from below the surface. It does not actually react directly with the concrete and the final color is determined by the pigments mixed into the stain. Its main advantage is a more consistent coloring of the concrete surface and a wider range of available colors while still allowing the original concrete surface to be visible. Some of the available colors are: Palomino, Chocolate, Platinum, Sangria, Forest Green, Desert Beige, Charcoal, Graphite, Terra Cotta, Brick.

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What is a concrete countertop?

Cast in place countertops are manufactured in your home. SolCrete will pull out your existing countertop and build a mold directly on your cabinets. The mold is filled with cement that has been colored according to your taste and then finished. All of our countertops are sealed to minimize the risk of staining from normal everyday use. The entire process from start to finish normally takes about three days. An excellent option for those who want a more rustic and varied appearance for their countertops as the final surface finish is troweled, a process that will create swirls and slight color changes along the entire surface. An additional advantage of the cast in place process is that the countertop can be made seamless from one end to the other. With cast in place countertops, SolCrete recommends a two day delay before final installation of sinks and other plumbing hardware to allow for proper curing.

A precast countertop is an attractive alternative for those who wish additional options. Precast countertops are made in our facility after taking precise measurements at your home to verify fit and finish. A mold is made, the countertop is cast, cured and finished. This allows us to offer such options as integral backsplashes and drainboards, inlaying medallions, plaques and other objects into the surface, acid staining to create unusual color schemes, and fine polishing of the countertop. After being sealed the countertop is transported to your home and installed, usually in sections due to the size and weight of the components. All work is normally completed in one to two days and plumbing hardware can be immediately installed afterward.

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How long will it take to complete the job?

There are many factors that will determine completion time. In the case of floors, surface preparation is often the most time consuming part of the entire process. Typically we can complete an interior acid stain of 1,000 square feet in less than five days while an exterior stamp of the same amount of area may take five to eight days (weather permitting). Countertops normally run three days to complete. Please keep in mind that these are general estimates that can and will vary depending on the project. Normally we do not require residents to move out during the job with the understanding to walk as little as possible over the areas to be stained.

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How long does it last?

As with all things, this will depend on how much use it sees. All our products are cement based, typically this provides excellent resistance to weather, vehicular and pedestrian traffic, and normal wear and tear. However the ultimate durability of the product depends on its care and avoiding abuse. For interior surfaces in homes we recommend applying a wax every three to six months to serve as a sacrificial barrier protecting the sealer coat. On exterior surfaces we recommend resealing every two years to protect the concrete from the elements. In commercial or industrial settings it may be necessary to shorten these maintenance intervals due to high traffic. With proper maintenance the “like new” appearance of your floors will last for many years to come.

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How do I maintain my floors and countertops?

The sealer that is applied to both floors and countertops greatly improves their stain resistance, however, it does not make them stain proof. Common sense practices should minimize the possibility of staining the concrete surfaces. Do not allow liquids, chemicals, or other materials that could stain to puddle for extended periods of time on the surface. The application of a wax coat to the surface greatly improves its resistance to wear and staining. When cleaning, use water and a mild soap solution applied with either a sponge or mop, avoid abrasive cleaning compounds or scrubbers that can scratch the sealer coat.

Do not place a rubber backed throw rug over a sealed floor as over time it may trap moisture and leave a white stain on the sealed floor. Generally this stain will come out after time once the rug is removed but occasionally may require resealing to restore the original appearance. Other types of throw rugs are perfectly fine.

We always recommend using a cutting board to protect the sealed finish of a countertop from knife cuts (which would dull out a knife very quickly) and trivets as the intense heat from a pan could leave marks in the finish. Generally the surface can always be restored by resealing but it's better to prevent than repair.

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Testimonials

  1. We contracted with Solcrete to install 1,120 square feet of stained concrete flooring in our single-story home... (Click to read more.)

  2. They put concrete flooring put in throughout my house, except for the bedrooms where I kept carpeting. My house is 2800 square feet... (Click to read more.)

  3. The put down a thin concrete-like layer on my bare floor to get rid of the cracks and some stains, then used acid to stain it brown... (Click to read more.)

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Newsletters

"Touchup" - Or what happens when you damage an acid stained floor

"On A Personal Note" Parts 1 & 2 - February and March 2010

"The Other Side of the Coin" - October 2009

"On A Lighter Side" - September 2009

"Heavy Lifting" - August 2009

The Case of the "Lowest Bidder" - July 2009