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Hi there. Im in desperate need of advice to salvage my stain…

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Hi there. I'm in desperate...
Hi there. I'm in desperate need of advice to salvage my stain project and figured I'd try this website, which I found by googling "ask professional concrete stain." The problem is that the sealant we used seems to be peeling up and taking the stain with it. It's only been 3 days since I finished! I'm going to go ahead and list all the steps I took in the hopes that someone more knowledgeable than myself can pinpoint where I went wrong, as I still have 2 more rooms to do and want them done right.

My husband & brother and I are renovating a duplex; my brother's going to move into one side & my husband and I will take the other. We need to be out of our current place by July 15th so there's a bit of a time-crunch.

The duplex was built in '82 and the rugs that were on the floors are possibly that old. At any rate, when we ripped them up, there was paint and carpet glue and all kinds of gunk underneath, so we paid a local professional to clean the floors by essentially grinding away the top layer with one of those diamond-tipped machines. Due to foundation trouble, the floors were a bit uneven so they couldn't do it all in one round and had to come back a 2nd time. Even then, there was still some paint along the edges of the baseboards, which my husband and I had to scrape up ourselves.

After that, I swept & mopped thoroughly, using a mix of bleach & water, then a couple more mops with just plain water.

I used Kemiko "Golden Wheat" acid stain (http://www.kemiko.com/) and laid down 2 coats, after following all the instructions on the bottle (stain + water in a 1:1 mix), allowing for drying time, etc. I just used a brush for the edges and a spray bottle for the rest, as I didn't want to buy one of those professional sprayers. The guy who did our floors suggested that I neutralize the stain with a mix of ammonia and water -- another website on do-it-yourself staining suggested baking soda, so I did a little of both, and mopped the stained concrete with that ammonia/baking soda/water mixture after the 2nd coat was dry.

Next step was 2 coats of "Behr Wet Look Sealant," which I got at Home Depot. I put down 1 coat in 2 bedrooms and let that dry overnight before applying the 2nd coat -- for the living room, I waited the prerequisite 4 hours before applying the 2nd coat. I just used a nylon brush to apply both coats. After that, my brother put down a coat of "Kemiko Stone Tone Wax II" which he just mopped on.

Everything looked great and we were mighty proud of ourselves, especially given how rough the floors had looked before. But today, we noticed that there are patches where the sealant is peeling up, and it seems to be taking the stain along with it. We put a piece of painter's tape on the floor and the sealant & stain came right up, so obviously something has gone wrong. I just don't know if this means we have to re-do the floors completely, or if there's a chance we can just put down a better sealant on top of the Behr sealant that's already there.

Have you encountered this before, and if so, what did you do? Do you have any advice? I'm pretty desperate -- the thought of re-doing it all is just so daunting, as it took 5 days and time is a luxury at this point. Any advice for this dilemma is appreciated. Thanks so much!
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Home Improvement
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Answered in 27 minutes by:
6/27/2010
Home Improvement Expert: Patrick, Construction Project Manager replied 8 years ago
Patrick
Patrick, Construction Project Manager
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 2,429
Experience: 30 years commercial construction and 23 years house remodeling projects
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If the stain is lifting, with everything else, then the issue is with its contact or bite with the concrete floor. Either there was a contaminate that did not allow the acid to bite into the concrete or their still was residual concrete dust on top of the concrete floor after the grinding operation that is acting as an isolator between the concrete slab and the other components. Since it is lifting from this location that is the most likely reason.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
I had mopped the surface 2 or 3 times before putting down the stain, so I'm not sure how much dust there could have been. Is there any way to salvage the project?
Home Improvement Expert: Stephen Cutler, General Contractor replied 8 years ago
Stephen Cutler
Stephen Cutler, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 2,062
Experience: 35 years of troubleshooting construction, remodel, component & material failures. What to do next
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Hi and Thanks for using JustAnswer.com
The contaminate was the bleach you used to clean the floor. Here is the manufacturers spec sheet. Note Section 3.2(F) No alkalies, and 3.6 (B)(2) no alkalies, and quite possibly 3(4)(E) throughly dry first.

http://www.arcat.com/sd/clients/epmar.html
SodiumHypoChlorate(bleach) is a powerful alkali.

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Home Improvement Expert: Patrick, Construction Project Manager replied 8 years ago
The question really is what bleach did you use? A laundry bleach like normal Clorox is actually a base because of the buffering agents they use in it. Check it out as it is neither acidic nor alkali. I tend to believe that if you had any surface dust, and getting surface dust off of a ground surface, is difficult, you will have trouble. Good luck. If this has proved helpful please remember to hit ACCEPT, otherwise I do not receive credit. Thank you.
Patrick
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
It was Clorox bleach -- just normal laundry bleach. The guy who'd cleaned our floors said it was okay to use that first, and even recommended that it might lighten up parts of the concrete (the concrete is old & mottled in appearance). I did a bleach & water mix first and mopped it with that, and subsequent moppings were just done with plain water. I mopped the floors at least twice, and sometimes 3 times, before putting down the stain, so they were about as clean as I could get them.
Home Improvement Expert: Patrick, Construction Project Manager replied 8 years ago
Just another thought, any oil based paint or any oil based glue or wax or oil contamination soaked into the concrete can affect adherence and reaction with stains. I had trouble with a concrete floor where a curing compound dusting sealer had soaked into the concrete and did not all come off with bead blasting. Compounds can soak 1/8" and sometimes more into concrete. At this point, you may want to see if you can get a manufacturer's rep on the line on Monday and see if they can make a site visit.

Edited by Patrick on 6/27/2010 at 4:50 PM EST
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