Need Advice to Salvage Stain Project

Old 06-27-10, 09:49 AM
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Need Advice to Salvage Stain Project

Hi there. I'm in desperate need of advice to salvage my stain project and figured I'd try this forum. The problem is that the sealant 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 the floors thoroughly, using a mix of bleach & water, then a couple more mops with just plain water.

I used Kemiko "Golden Wheat" acid stain (Kemiko Concrete Stains: Kemiko Stone Tone Concrete Floor Stain) 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 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. 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.

Has anyone encountered this before, and if so, what did you do? Anyone 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 we can't really afford at this point. Any advice for this dilemma is appreciated. Thanks so much!
Old 06-27-10, 09:09 PM
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Before neutralizing, did you remove all the residue from the stain reaction? The fizzing from the acid will usually leave quite a bit of residue that must be removed prior to sealing. We do it with a floor buffer and water, then several wet moppings. Neutralizing is not the same thing as cleaning. They are two different steps in the process. If there's a lot of residue left on the floor, it acts as a bond breaker and the sealer won't stick. You'll likely need to remove the sealer & residue, then neutralize and re-seal.

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