Coloring Methods for Polished Concrete Floors

When choosing a color for your concrete project does not simply mean choosing between sienna and rust, or charcoal and slate blue. There are also options when it comes to how the color is applied; reactive stained concrete and dyed concrete.  So what’s the difference?

Reactive Stained Concrete
Reactive concrete stains work with the existing chemical makeup of the concrete to produce variegated coloring throughout the surface. This coloring method typically produces a marbleized appearance to the concrete surface and provides coloring to floor surfaces. Reactive stain is a permanent color, it’s UV stable (which means in can be used indoors or out) and each application is a unique one of a kind look.

Dyed Concrete
Dyes work the existing porosity of the concrete to penetrate into the surface layer of the concrete floor to color the surface. Dyes offer a more consistent and color matched look. This coloring method is very popular for interior concrete floor projects and commercial settings. This color option has a quicker install than reactive stain, getting you back on the floor sooner and it works very well when exposing aggregate in the concrete. Because it isn’t UV stable, this option is only possible for interior projects.

But don’t worry, you don’t need to be an expert. The Dancer Concrete team will work with you to determine not only the color, but also the best application to use for your space. And whether it’s a reactive stained concrete floor or a dyed concrete floor, we guarantee it will exceed your expectations!


How to Keep Epoxy From Failing

Should I Use an Additional Primer with My Seamless Floor?
 

Have you ever tried to paint a red wall the color white? If so, I hope you used a primer. If not, you probably started out with some standard paint and quickly realized that regular paint doesn’t cover that well. So you either dealt with your wall having a slight pinkish tint, or you made the trip to Lowe’s and bought yourself a quality primer. Even with our modernized paints that claim to be a primer/paint all-in-one and promise to cover all stains and all colors, there are still many situations where a base coat of KIltz really makes a positive difference in the final outcome. A quality primer at the beginning of a painting project truly makes a nicer finished product.

Now let’s talk a little bit about my type of business and how we can best utilize primers for our installations.  When installing any type of floor over concrete the #1 thing that can cause problems is moisture passing through the slab. This causes problems such as failed adhesives, warped wood floors, or in my industry – peeling and flaking coatings. To prevent this from happening we always include an option for an additional moisture blocking primer. This priming system is a catalyzed product made to penetrate into the surface layer of the cement so excess moisture cannot pass through the concrete. This provides us the guarantee that our seamless floors continue to stay locked into the concrete surface.  Of course with this increased benefit, we also see an increase in price.  So how do you choose between using an additional moisture blocking primer, and how do you know if the added cost worth it for your project?

To answer these questions and also give you the ability to make the right decision, I have outlined some basic ways to make sure you get the best value for your project. Now these are the options we offer at my company, Dancer Concrete Design. These may not be applicable for all installers. We are very picky with the products we use and only choose products that are 100% solids (no fillers, no solvents) and contain NO-VOC’s.  We exclusively use NO-VOC products as I don’t particularly like wearing a mask while I work, and you should not have to leave your home because of the danger in a product.

Make sure you ask your installer what products they are putting down and ASK TO SEE REAL SAMPLES of the cured product. This will make sure the contractors and your expectations are consistent. 

When to Use an Additional Moisture Blocking Primer for Seamless Floor Installations

  • Concrete that has not been cured for 30 days and needs to be coated
  • Concrete that has moisture readings over 3 lbs per 10000 sq. ft.
    • Our primer will work on concrete with readings of up to 15 lbs per 1000 sq. ft.
    • You want the extra assurance or guarantee that your floor with not peel, chip, or delaminate from the surface.
    • Concrete with no under-slab vapor barrier installed
    • You just appreciate a job done in the best way possible

2-3 Rivers Natural Grocery Co-Op Epoxy Floor by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne, Indiana (36)

Previous coatings on this project were failing due to improper surface preparation or moisture issues. When installing this new system we incorporated a moisture blocking primer to prevent this from happening again. 

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Nick Dancer


Polly Said What?

How to Choose Between Epoxy and Polyurea Seamless Flooring

When choosing to use a seamless flooring system in your mudroom, garage, or maybe your industrial facility you are going to hear the word ‘epoxy’ a lot. There are a plethora of options when choosing the type or brand of epoxy, but in simplest terms, epoxy is a cured component of taking two or more products, (resin and a catalyst, part A and part B) and by mixing the components you create a chemical reaction that results in a hard durable product.

Epoxy type floors have been sought after for their ability to make up the inherent weakness of concrete. This epoxy/concrete bond creates a much nicer product when concrete is subject to chemicals, water intrusion, or high wear. In the last few years a product called polyureas have been widely used as they have similar properties of epoxy with additional features such as UV resistance and faster cure times. Of course with this increased benefit ,we also see an increase in price; sometimes twice as much as a standard epoxy product.  So how do you choose between using an epoxy and a polyurea? Is the added cost worth it for your project?

To answer these questions and also give you the ability to make the right decision, I have outlined some basic ways to make sure you get the best value for your project. Now these are the options we offer at my company, Dancer Concrete Design. These may not be applicable for all installers. We are very picky with the products we use and only choose products that are 100% solids (no fillers, no solvents) and contain NO-VOC’s.  We exclusively use NO-VOC products as I don’t particularly like wearing a mask while I work, and you should not have to leave your home because of the danger in a product.

Make sure you ask your installer what products they are putting down and ASK TO SEE REAL SAMPLES of the cured product. This will make sure the contractors and your expectations are consistent. 

 Epoxy

  • More affordable solution
  • Very chemical resistant
  • Cure time between  2-4 days
  • Comes in clear and multiple colors
  • Will yellow when exposed to UV light
    • If outdoors can yellow within weeks
    • Indoor applications with windows (assuming windows have a UV film)  it may take 5 – 10 years to notice yellowing
When to Choose Epoxy

 Epoxy works great when budget concerns are of most importance or in an area where epoxy is being chose for its performance ability rather than a decorative flooring solution.

Epoxy Floor Coating for Industrial in Columbia City by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne, Indiana  (19)

Epoxy was chose for this floor as sunlight will never hit this section and most of this area is to be covered with machinery. Epoxy serves more of a purpose to protect the concrete from oil rather than having a decorative appeal.

Polyureas

  • Higher upfront cost – may be $0.40 – $1.00 sq. ft. higher depending on application type
  • Very chemical resistant
  • Faster cure time – 8 hours – 24 hours
  • Comes in clear and multiple colors
  • UV stable coating. Can be used outdoors. Will not yellow.
When to Choose Polyurea

Polyurea is the best offering for top coating seamless floors. Polyureas are sought after when the floor is being installed for a decorative look as well as for performance.

2-seamless-epoxy-floor-by-dancer-concrete-design-fort-wayne-indiana-49

This shop floor we completed has 2 huge garage doors on each side of the lane and will get a lot of sunshine. Polyruea was chose to keep this topcoat over a vinyl chip system crystal clear.

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Nick Dancer


4 Steps for Staining Concrete

I have been around the decorative concrete industry for quite a while and have seen all the ways to color an existing concrete surface. It seems that most manufactures and installers are always looking for the quickest and cheapest way to color a floor. Constantly new products are brought to the market claiming to “mimic” the natural variegated coloring and flow that can only be achieved when staining concrete with a reactive (acid) stain. From my own experience and from chatting with a select group of top-notch installers all around the States I have found that there is still only one tried and true method for permanent coloring of exiting concrete.

The difference in installing a real reactive stained floor over some other acrylic stains or penetrating-only stains is that it takes much more time and experience to successfully complete the project. We always figure that an extra day on the project and a little bit more expense up front will deliver a more valuable and durable surface.

Below I share our steps for completing this process.

Thank you to Heidi Hundall with Runyon Surface Prep for working with us to develop this!

Click here to download the 4 Step Staining Process – Dancer Concrete

4 Step Staining Process - Dancer Concrete

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Nick Dancer


Back in Black

A Mid-Century Modern Home in Southwest Fort Wayne

Last week we completed a residential concrete polishing project in a mid-century modern home located in a woods on the southwest side of Fort Wayne. This concrete floor was original to the home as raw building products, such as metal and concrete, are staples in mid-century architecture. Mid-century modern is a style that can be seen in graphic design, interior design and architecture. This style generally depicts the developments in modern design at the time between 1933 and the mid 1950’s

When the home was initially built the concrete served not only a structural purpose for the floor but also was integrally colored black and sealed to serve as the finished floor.  Through the years this floor was eventually covered with carpet and long forgot about. When our client, Linda bought the home almost 20 years ago she knew she wanted to bring back the concrete floor. At the time, little was known about properly finishing the concrete so painting the surface seemed like the most logical solutoin. The floor had been painted multiple times in the last 20 years as the paint continued to peel and flake off the surface.

POLISH

Remove the paint and polish the concrete floor

Linda had found us online and thought we may have a better solution to her flooring problem than continuing to paint the surface.  When dealing with older concrete floors we have two options to finish the concrete. We can either work with the existing concrete and refinish the surface (similar to refinishing hardwood floors) or apply an overlay to the surface to cover up problems or rough areas. Since the concrete was in good shape we decided to try our hands at refinishing the concrete floors. This process involved removing the paint and polishing the concrete to a Level 1 – 400 grit finish. The polishing process required multiple passes and posed some challenges. These challenges included various heights of concrete floors and also a large amount of vertical concrete polishing. There was also no base trim in the space, so edge work and details took an additional 30 hours of labor. The floor was originally integrally colored black but we also included a black concrete dye in our process to help color patch spots and revitalize the original color.

The owner was very pleased with the results and we were happy to again bring back some life to a forgotten concrete floor and work in such a cool home.

Mid Century Modern Home Polished Concrete Floors by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne, Indiana  (9)

Mid Century Modern Home Polished Concrete Floors by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne, Indiana  (8)

Mid Century Modern Home Polished Concrete Floors by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne, Indiana  (7)

Mid Century Modern Home Polished Concrete Floors by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne, Indiana  (6)

Mid Century Modern Home Polished Concrete Floors by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne, Indiana  (5)

Mid Century Modern Home Polished Concrete Floors by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne, Indiana  (4)

Mid Century Modern Home Polished Concrete Floors by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne, Indiana  (3)

Mid Century Modern Home Polished Concrete Floors by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne, Indiana  (2)

Mid Century Modern Home Polished Concrete Floors by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne, Indiana  (1)

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Nick Dancer