New Home Construction is a stressfull time filled with anticipation and anxiety. The information on this page is intended to take away some of the stress and provide you and your builder some basic information to ensure your concrete slab can be turned into the Acid Stained Floor you have been dreaming about. You can read the text below and also download a copy of this file by right-clicking on the document Icon and saving the file. You will need Adobe Reader to access the file. If you don't have Adobe Reader, you can get it for free by clicking this button.
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Information on Mix, Finishing and Pre-Stain Care
Please print and give this instruction sheet to your builder before the slab is poured. The instructions and advice given here will help to ensure your stained concrete floor will look its best.
Note - An Under-Slab Vapor or Moisture Barrier should be used on all homes to prevent rising moisture from affecting all your floor choices and to also help maintain a Healthy Home. Under-Slab Vapor Barrier material in 10 or 15 mil Polyethylene should be placed before the concrete slab is poured. Vapor barriers can be purchased in rolls at concrete supply stores, or Big Box stores like Home Depot or Lowes.
- A quality batch of concrete should consist of at least a 5-sack mix with low fly ash and no retarder, curing compounds or chloride accelerators. Do not pour below 40F. Do not use fly-ash below 80F. Use no more than 15% fly-ash above 80F. The slab should be hard troweled by machine to a smooth finish. It is NOT necessary to burnish the surface to a slick, mirror finish. "Burning" the slab to an ultra smooth surface will close off the pours of the slab and cause the stain to sit on top of the concrete and not penetrate. Make sure the Finishers dont get "burrs" or trash caught under the blades which can cut swirl marks into the slab.
- It is important that the concrete be thoroughly finished with hand tools where needed around the plumbing, risers, floor outlets, or any other element which is not accessible by the machine. Special care should be taken to blend in the areas at the edge of the slab. If the finish is smooth in the center and rough finished at the edges, there will be a noticeable difference of color and tone between these areas.
- Silicone chalks should NOT be used if at all possible. The RED and yellow chalks are PERMANENT DYES. RED Chalk should NOT be used for framing. White or Blue chalks are OK. Do not over mark for the framing. Do NOT use silicone sprays to "Hold" the lines. The sprays repel the stain and leave harsh, permanent scars on the floor.
- It is important that wood, sheet goods, sections of framing and the like not lay on the slab for extended periods of time. They can transfer resins and tannins into the slab. This will alter the moisture content in the slab which leaves a pattern in the finished floor. Cardboard should be placed between the slab and the stacked material to minimize any unwanted transfers.
- The floor should be protected from the following: Plumbers Glue, Foam Insulation, Bond Release Agents, Flux, Oils, Grease, Polyurethane, Paint, Markers (framers often write dimensions of doorways in marker on the slab. Ask them to make that note on the wood framing the doorway), Grease Sticks, Spray Paints, Crayons, Muratic Acid, and other chemicals both before and after staining.
- The framers should brace the wall to the outside and not to the slab. Door plates should be cut away immediately.
- The floors should be clean and the room empty, with absolutely nothing on the floors prior to the arrival of our crew. Our fees do not include removing paper, moving furniture, tools, equipment, fixtures, building materials, or items. Additional moving and cleaning will be charged as additional labor.
- It is extremely important that you do not tape the floor! When covering the floor, overlap sheets of builders paper. Tape the first sheet to the wall then overlap the second sheet to the first and tape it to the paper. DO NOT TAPE TO THE FLOOR. Duct Tape, Masking Tape, Packaging Tape, Strap Tape, Blue Tape, Green Tape, and Electrical Tape there are NO exceptions. The tape alters the natural curing process and transfers chemicals to and from the slab. Tape, Plastics and other Adhesives can contribute to Plasticizer Migration. This WILL SHOW in the finished product. Learn more about Plasticizer Migration on the Floor Care page.
- When covering the floor, you may use sheets of masonite or single faced cardboard on top of the builders paper, however do not cover the floor with plastic at any time! It prevents the slab from breathing which inhibits proper curing. It can result in efflorescence.
- There must be two 110volt outlets on two separate 20amp breakers not more than 150 feet from the furthest point of the slab available to our crew alone. Additionally, running water and trash receptacles must be available.
Some people like a Tile look and others prefer a seamless finish. We will give you the look you desire, but there are several things to consider:
- We prefer to cut the slab 2-3 days after it is poured and before the framers set the walls. Then we will return to stain and seal the slab when the project is "dried in" (framed with doors, windows and water tight, no insulation or sheet rocka minimum 30 days of drying should be observed). After the project is dried in, the floors should be covered as described in Information on Mix, Finishing and Pre-Stain Care para 8. There are advantages and disadvantages to scoring at this point.
a. Advantage There are no walls at this point so the pattern can be scored across the entire surface and the "grout lines" will continue under the walls once erected.
b. Disadvantage A starting point is determined and the entire slab is scored. This means that each doorway most likely will not have a perfectly placed tile; the pattern will fall where it falls.
- If scoring cant be done on the whole slab or if you want that perfect tile placement, the slab can be scored after the house is framed. Again, there are advantages and disadvantages to scoring at this point.
a. Advantage Each room can have a perfectly placed/centered tile look. Different rooms can have tiles on a square or on a 45 degree angle. Different rooms can have unique sizes of tile (standard is 24" tile with smaller sizes costing more).
b. Disadvantage A border has to be marked off 12" from each wall. This will allow a starting point for the centering of the pattern. A border means the grout lines will not disappear under the walls because there is no way to saw-cut up to the studs without cutting into them (or your sheet rock).
- To insure proper scheduling and availability, please contact us at least 3 weeks in advance. We work diligently to accommodate many schedules at the same time. We operate on a First-Signed, First-Scheduled basis. We ask that you communicate your project status to us as far in advance as possible. We are committed to providing the finest floor possible and are sure you want the same.
We will need exclusive use of the area(s) to be stained for a 3-day period. The good news here is: We work weekends. Often times Friday is a slow to no work day on construction sites. We can come in and do our work and be gone before Monday morning. The 3-day schedule is as follows:
Day 1 Surface preparation. We will remove the protective paper you have used and store it in an area of the house that will not be stained so it can be re-used after the floor is sealed. Spot cleanup of areas that may it is done. This is not intended to be a major clean-up on our part. The owner and Builder are responsible for protecting the floor up to and after the staining. If scoring is desired and not done earlier, it can be done on this day.
Day 2 Staining day. The surface is stained, neutralized, scrubbed and rinsed.
Day 3 Sealing day. Two coats of sealer are applied to give the surface protection for the remainder of the construction process. The owner should re-cover the floors with the paper used earlier on. The same rules of NO tape on the floor still applies.
Once the home is at the point of "after painting" and "pre-trim", we will return to apply a touch-up coat of sealer and wax the floor. The floor will most likely get scratched and scuffed during the remaining construction after the initial staining. This step will revitalize the floor. Once again, please keep in touch as far out as possible to ensure you are scheduled for this step at a convenient time.
For information on the Acid Stain Process, see the About Acid Stain page.
For information on how to maintain your stained floor, see the Care and Maintenance Guide page.