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Cleaning and Prep

Clean the concrete well, and allow to dry.
When staining concrete, cleaning and preparing the concrete is one of the most important steps. If the concrete hasn't been adequately cleaned and prepared, then inferior results can and will ensue.
Looking at concrete under a microscope you see that it looks like a sponge. Though it appears to be a smooth surface to the eye, it is actually very porous. The need to clean the surface is obvious and fairly easy, it's what stays trapped in the pores that will work against you. This is the piece of the puzzle that makes the difference.

   We recommend an overall scrub using water mixed with T.S.P.( tri sodium phosphate) or, you could use the T.S.P. substitute which is Phosphate free. T.S.P./Substitute is a strong detergent and is available in the Tools and Supplies category, or at about any home Improvement store, and then a good final rinse or two with clean water.

   But first, before doing your final clean, ensure the concrete is free from all contaminants. Strip any curing agents or waxes, remove any paints or glues, ensure there is no grease or oils.

   You should not use acids or etchers to clean. You can use citric cleaners, xylene, lacquer thinners, strippers, and cleaners that do not contain a heavy alkali.

   Sanding the surface if needed is acceptable, whether by hand or with larger machines from rental stores, such as commercial floor sanders and floor buffing machines with sanding pads.

   Once you have cleaned the floor, it is time to make any patch repairs that may be needed. We recommend that you do not patch small cracks or imperfections as they add character to the floor, but you decide for yourself.

 Tip. We do not recommend using a new cotton mop as it could leave fuzzies on the floor. Allthough a cotton mop that has been used a few times does tend to have most of the fuzzies out of it. You may choose to instead use a synthetic mop.

   A mop bucket is recommended regardless.

 Tip. You can use Xylene or strippers for paints and a Mastic Remover, glue remover, or citrus stripper for sticky's. Use strippers for curing agents and waxes.

 Tip. You can use a powerwasher or water hose when doing a project outside. Just be carefull of splashing.

Tip. If when pouring water onto concrete, it beads up, then the stain cannot penetrate either. If when pouring water on the concrete it seems to absorb the water, then the stain should be o.k.

 Tip. If you have pulled up carpet, removing the tack strips along the edge may cause areas that need to be patched. If you score a border around the edge you can then stain the border a darker color, or do more coats on the border than the rest. This will help in camouflaging the patch work.

 Tip. Scoring patterns and/or Multiple coats strategically placed can help hide patches.

 Important Tip. Ensure you have an entry/exit point with a means to clean off or remove your shoes, such as clean towels to step out onto. This is twofold, to keep stain from tracking where you don't want it, such as you're sidewalk or carpet. Secondly, to keep from tracking dirt back into the area.

   Alternatively, you can use disposable shoe covers each time you enter/exit the room.

Tape and cover. Protect Your Surroundings.

   After you final clean the concrete, it is time to tape off and cover the bottom of all walls, doors, and anything else that might possibly get stain on it. Protect vegetation as well.

Tip. We recommend using plastic and tape that can be bought on a roll with the tape allready attached to the plastic. The plastic is folded up to about 4" but expands to about 2' once applied. Quick and Easy.

All tools and supplies are available in the Tools and Supplies category, or at your local home improvement store.
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