What a view! Both from this fifth floor loft near beautiful downtown Dallas, TX and of the cement floor that was in terrible shape. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and even though we were a little nervous as to how this acid stain project was going to come out, we're glad we stuck with it. This was a case of a builder not finishing what was started. The builder was renovating lofts in this older building, and after ripping out the tile floor, they just left it as is—bare cement. The new owners were definitely in the mood for something more. We delivered!
This was one of our most challenging projects. When I walked in the door, I almost turned right around. The cement floor was one of the roughest we have ever stained with divots, scrapes, and pits—just a mess from where the contractor had dug out the tile. They had used a chipper hammer and wielded it like a weapon of mass destruction. The owners had insisted that they did not want a microfinish overlay (resurfacing the floor to make it look like new). Heck, they almost had to twist our arm to take the job, but I'm glad they insisted on doing an acid stain.
We started cleaning the floor with TSP (Tri Sodium Phosphate), which is a common mild cement cleaner. It will not react with the cement floor in any way and helps pull dirt and other contaminants out of the floor. We also used a 17" buffing machine with a black pad. And did we ever go through the pads! The rougher the floor, the faster the pads wear out and this floor ate three times the normal amount. After cleaning, we applied the brown acid stain, and you know what? It looks great! The floor has a tremendous amount of personality; all the imperfections that we were worried about gave it a unique character that came together nicely. This isn't always the case, but we pulled it off because the entire floor was in bad shape. Had part of the floor been nice, the contrast between the good and bad areas would have had a little too much character for most people's taste.
Speaking of which, character is something that scoring (cutting a shallow groove into a cement floor) imparts to our next decorative concrete project.