Options for covering a terrible concrete stain job


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Old 03-01-14, 09:57 AM
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Options for covering a terrible concrete stain job

I just recently got a contractor to put down a concrete overlay then stain and polish it on top of our basement slab. I am so utterly disappointed with the results. I want to now figure out what I can do to either fix it or cover it up. I'm also hoping to get opinions on whether or not I have the right to complain to the contractor and have him correct it.

I've attached some images. There are a couple reasons I am so disappointed:
  1. The color has a sickly greenish hue to it, not the rustic amber we were going for
  2. The amber color where it is applied is very patchy, ie: it looks like it was thrown randomly from a bucket in some areas and completely missed in others
  3. The stain already is chipping and popping off (after less than a week)
  4. The overlay is smooth and nice in many places and rough in others. It does not have the desired level of gloss (although I suspect it will look better in this regard if I put a wax or top coat on it)

I was hoping for the kind of result you see if you google "stained concrete", ie: subtle and rustic looking and similar to a nice tile floor. I understand that staining of concrete is influenced heavily by the underlying material but this is on top of a white 3/8" overlay material that they put down. Surely being on top of an overlay would mean it could be better controlled and the underlying concrete would have no effect? What I know about the materials used is that they said they would use Butterfield Color Elements for the stain which I read is water based. They also applied a sealer, of what type I don't know but intend to ask just in case it is paintable. Likewise with the overlay material, not sure exactly what was used.

Is this a bad contractor job or were my expectations too high? It looks to me like they didn't follow the manufacturers advice about applying the stain evenly with pressured air. It seems like they just slapped it on with something more crude.

It is what it is now and I am hoping to get opinions on how to fix it. I'm thinking of these options:
  1. Get the contractor come back and redo the stain, my only worry being that I'll end up back where I am now or that my floor will be even patchier looking and/or more orange
  2. Prep the surface somehow and put down a porch paint or epoxy and achieve a single tone (I would be happy with industrial garage gray at this point)

Any advice for how to prep the surface? Could I just take the sealer off and apply one of the basement/porch paints on top of the overlay? Is there a more "breathable" option that would be less likely to bubble off in the event of moisture?

Does anyone have experience sanding off concrete sealer? I would prefer to use this than a chemical stripper as we have an infant in the house and I can't easily clean the material out. Drum sander and several hours on the weekend would be enough to allow me to paint or epoxy?

Thank you for reading this, any suggestions or shared experiences would be much appreciated.

Evan
 
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Old 03-01-14, 07:20 PM
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I would have the contractor look at it. Tell us what he says.
 
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Old 03-02-14, 05:14 AM
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YIKES !

on my way out - will get back to you,,, where'd you find this guy - angie's or craig's list ? we got a stain butcher in atl who gets away w/work like that makes us all look bad
 
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Old 03-02-14, 07:48 AM
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Hi,

Thanks for the replies. To answer your question stadry I did find this guy on Angies but he had a very small number of reviews (4-5) and has been in business since 2004. There weren't too many other stained concrete contractors I could find in the Massachusetts area compared with down south or out west ( not to knock on anybody, I'm sure there are some good contractors up here too).

So one claim the contractor made was that the green color is the sealer and that it will fade over time. I'm not sure I believe though seeing as he said this was supposed to happen in 24 hours and it's still exactly the way it was. On closer inspection I found a couple pitted spots there is clearly a green material built up.

Out of curiosity I tried sanding out a couple of test patches in an innocuous place. It was easier to sand than I was expecting so I think that might be an option. Is there a time limit on how long an overlay can take a new stain? How far down would I need to get to remove the sealer?

It isn't just me though right, the application looks patchy? The stain looks like it has pooled in places and/or wasn't evenly applied. The places that are most orange are where the stain seems most prone to flaking off which suggests that maybe the stain didn't get absorbed as well as it was supposed to.

Thanks again,

Evan
 
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Old 03-02-14, 11:38 AM
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Butterfield Elements is applied ONLY with an airless sprayer, as is clearly stated in the directions. If a pump-up sprayer or other means are used, you get what you see here...too much material on the surface which can lead to delamination of the excess stain and sealer. On the cap of every single bottle of Elements there is a stop sign shaped warning label that says to make sure to follow directions. You cannot miss this label. Clearly your contractor failed to follow directions. It should be his responsibility to make things right. Surely you haven't paid him for the completed job yet, so don't until it is done correctly.
Furthermore, sealer is clear, not green. Once dry, it should be as clear as glass. Sounds like he's handing you a line.
 
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Old 03-03-14, 08:55 AM
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concrete overlay - who's ? not all overlays polish well;

stain then polish ? - not always recommended depending on compatibility of mtls;

complain ? OF COURSE - you haven't paid the bill yet, have you ? IF so, hopefully it was via credit card & you're w/i your 60d window;

IF we had done something like that, we'd grind it all off be begin anew;

color has a sickly greenish hue - could be from stain's reaction to overlay mtl;

' rustic amber ' should be rustic amber;

was it an acid-stain, water-based stain, OR conc dye ? typically conc dyes are mix'd w/acetone;

' patchy ' - might be depression in the floor reflecting up thru o'lay so the color mtl ' birdbath'd ' [ collected in the depression ]

was the color sprayed onto a dry OR wet floor ?

stain rarely chips off UNLESS it dried on too thick - stain has no compressive, flexural, or tension strength - ONLY the o'lay possesses those qualities;

o'lay smooth and nice in many places and rough in others ' - either wrong mtl OR a hack application;

wax ( ' One ' is the best ! ] is a sacrificial coating to protect what's underneath;

3/8" is normally too thick for an o'lay UNLESS the proper mtl was installed,,, typically we place a bonding coat onto properly prepp'd conc,,, next another coat is troweled on & colored as client wishes,,, we then sand & seal but don't know what your project specs were,,, doubtful you do either as many artisans mix suppliers & not all systems are compatible.

we used elitecrete & never had any trouble other than when WE f'd up in 1 step or another

no experience w/butterfield,,, ' pressurized air ' could be a pump can - we use 'em

you paid good $ - now expect results OR your $ back

take the sealer off and apply one of the basement/porch paints on top of the overlay,,, not a good choice,,, neither is chem stripper [ franmar's good but leaves a mess which must be clean'd w/aromatic solvents ],,, ' drum sander ' - yikes !
 
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Old 03-03-14, 03:40 PM
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Thanks for the great info guys. Sadly I have already paid the guy so I don't have much recourse other than to complain. He assured me the green would dissappear in a day or two so I gave him the cheque. This place has been in business for 10 years so hopefully he'll stand by his work.

They used a water based stain and I believe there was some pigment in the overlay too. I didn't see them apply it but it looks like they didn't use an atmoizing sprayer.

If I did try applying a cover up coat, what about an epoxy after roughing up the sealer by sanding? I would love to have the amber stain I was going for but I would settle for a smooth industrial gray at this point. It would be better than what I have now.

They waited at least a day and a half between the overlay and the stain so I think it was dry. Man I wish I had been paying more attention now.

What about temperature being a factor? My basement air temp is right on 50 in places and the ground temp may be colder.

So sanding off the stain and sealer is not a good option you think or are you just saying a drum sander is too heavy duty? I've never used one so I could easily see myself putting a divet in the floor by accident. I would love to avoid the chemical strippers as even the soy-gel stuff has some nasty additives. Mechanical stripping would also be easier to clean up after I think.
 
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Old 03-03-14, 05:44 PM
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If the contractor doesn't make good, file a complaint with the Dept Of Consumer Affairs & see if he already has other complaints. Then cover it with rubberized flooring.
 
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Old 03-04-14, 02:45 AM
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Sorry for being blunt, but you have a junk job by a very "iffy" contractor. File a complaint against his state license. And in the mean time, clean off the crap he left you (can I say that here?) and put down some nice ceramic tile.
 
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Old 03-04-14, 08:24 AM
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think bridge & pulpo have the best suggestions,,, its a large pita to remove, recover, & achieve the look you originally wanted,,, might as well quit beating yourself up - you hired who you thought would do the work well,,, IF it were me, i'd be facing him in small claims court but I'M a pita too occasionally

ps - i have an idea his taillights disappeared LONG before the green will
 
 

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