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02-28-2003, 01:52 PM
Allright, I need to know if anyone has ever scored a cement slab to create a "tiled" look and then put decorative paint on top. I am going to do this and want to know the best way to score the slab.

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Bud Cline
02-28-2003, 01:55 PM
It can be done with an abrasive (masonry) blade in a circular saw but the blades wear fast. A better choice would be a 'dry style' diamond blade to maintain depth of cut.

A blade (abrasive or diamond) on a right angle grinder could also be used but the circular saw affords you an opportunity to use a straightedge to guide the saw.

02-28-2003, 03:05 PM
Ive only seen a tile look slab one time up here. Tile racks were used while the slab was steel troweled on knee boards.They steel toweled then set the rack and beat it with a rubber mallet.2 guys and 2 racks and they were going like mad men!!
Steel trowel ,centered the two racks then moved to the outside.
Looked just like cement with scored lines. Didnt look a thing like tile!! :)

Bud Cline
02-28-2003, 03:22 PM
There is a chain of salons that are going into strip malls around the country and they are doing their floors like this. Cutting with a saw then staining different sections. It is catching on around the country and to tell you the truth it looks like what it is but it looks pretty good.

I can't think of the name of the place right now but it was impressive when I went to see it.

The only problem was that no one told the wall framers what was going on and they snapped all kinds of layout lines with red chalk all over the damned place. Now through each doorway there are two red lines (not one but two). There are also red lines jutting out from under wall corners. Other than that........

Oh sure the chalk lines where then sealed into posterity.

02-28-2003, 04:48 PM
Seen it, never done it. Method is to thoroughly clean and acid strip concrete. Install a plastic grid to the tile/brick size. Pour a thin scratch coat of thinned concrete onto grid, about half inch thick. Tape outside of fake grout lines and stain white; tape inside of fake grout lines and stain red. Seal the bejesus out of it.

02-28-2003, 05:14 PM
Well, that answers my question. I think I can picture what Scooter is talking about, although that sounds like a PITA.

I am going to be acid washing the concrete but then I am going to put down some paint and then seal it. Hopefully it will turn out like something on here

www.kemiko.com (http://www.kemiko.com)

I have a dry style diamond blade and that is what I was going to try. I don't want to go very deep do I? Like 1/8" to 1/4". Does that sound right?

greg ziegler
02-28-2003, 05:26 PM
If your were to acid stain the floor ( which in this case he is not ) never acid wash the floor, the acid stain won't work properly

02-28-2003, 05:38 PM
Allright, explain this like I am a 2 year old. What is acid staining? Acid washing is to clean the concrete right? Is acid staining like washing only with pigment in it?

02-28-2003, 05:41 PM
Wouldn't it be easier to put on an overlay and stamp it?

02-28-2003, 08:11 PM
Flatfloor, that is essentially the technique I saw. The plastic grid is pressed into the pour slightly to make faux "grout lines."

The acid wash was used to clean the concrete so the slurry pour would bond.

greg ziegler
02-28-2003, 08:45 PM
I'm sorry I should of said concrete stain instead of acid stain . concrete stain reacts with the lime and pastes in the concrete. If you acid wash it won't react right . If you are going to paint the surface you should prep floor ( pressure wash or mop ) and then acid wash and then rinse. flatfloor is right you could overlay and seal which will last alot longer and have a non-skid surface which you might be looking for. The products I use are on this web-site www.artcrete.com they are very user friendly and probally have a distributer near you . the products I use which we apply a paper stencil design for fresh concrete (non-adhesive ) or old concrete (adhesive) ande apply are overlay like flat-floor mentioned

02-28-2003, 10:06 PM
Actually, you had it quite right the first time, Greg, the post-pour stains such as Kemiko are, indeed, acid-based stains. You are further correct that if you acid wash the concrete first, the stain will not work.

The overlay-type products, those for use after cure, are done around here by a few companies. They have a number of patterns and lots of colors and textures. Make all sorts of claims about durability. I've not use any of it to date, but it's supposed to be wonderful for resurfacing old, stained, cracked and otherwise unsightly patios, walks, driveways, pool decks and such.

As for the initial question of scoring the slab, that's also gaining popularity in this area. It's always done as part of a staining process so far as I've seen, but I don't know why you couldn't paint the floor instead.

Why you wanna paint instead of stain?

02-28-2003, 10:35 PM
I am going to do the Kemiko acid stain stuff. I thought it was a paint. My mother has asked me to help her do this and I have no idea what I am getting into. I am good at following directions though. Hopefully that Kemiko stuff has good ones.

I just was mostly curious on the best way to score the concrete.

I am glad someone said something about the acid washing not working with this stuff though. I think she has been doing research and mixing up her processes. She found a site with paint, then she found the Kemiko site. She really wants to do the stain. I will have to do some 'splainin' to her.

02-28-2003, 11:14 PM
The Kemiko people are gonna recommend TSP for cleaning the concrete, I think. The professional stain people clean with buffing machine, mesh pads of various kinds, and wet vacuums. It's a pretty messy business, in general. The stain itself is applied with a pump-up type garden sprayer. Some "touch" is required.

After staining, more mess. Wash with water and mops, squeegee and wet vac the very nasty residue. Next day, apply a "wax" (actually some sort of solvent-based product) with more color in it. This is done with the floor buffer and natural-bristle brush. Later, when it's time to have a finished floor, they do another application of the wax.

If you're doing the scored floor type application, the stain is put on with foam brushes on the small sections. Sometimes in different colors. If it's a big area, or all the same color, I don't know how they do it. Also don't know how you clean after staining without getting nasty stuff in the score lines. Never saw them do that part.

The scoring was done with the kind of concrete saw that you walk behind, sorta like a lawn edger only with a big diamond blade. Not gonna get you very close to walls (weren't any on the job I watched), but I suppose you could finish those lines by hand with an angle grinder.

How large an area are you planning to stain? Is it inside, or outside?

Kemiko has a web site, which I believe to be www.kemiko.com. Toll free number usually gets you someone knowledgeable - I've gotten my best information from a lady name of Rhonda (which I man or may not be spelling correctly).

Keep in mind that with this, or any acid stain on concrete, you ain't dealing with an exact science - surprises in color and variation on any given floor are the norm.

My opinion; worth price charged.

03-01-2003, 01:54 AM
The total area is about 1000 sq. ft., indoors. I am going to try to talk her into scoring lines in the center of the room and leave a border around the edges, but I don't know if that will work. I figured it would be pretty messy, but I don't really care about that.

I have been to the Kemiko website, I will call them next week and talk to them about it.

She is ready for the surprises in color, I think that might help get the look she is wanting.

Thanks for the replies, I appreciate all of the info.

greg ziegler
03-01-2003, 06:44 AM
Last night did some research on the net on the subject. try this web-site, www.acidstainconcrete.com alot of information here and they handle Kemiko acid stains with a nice color chart you could show the home-owner and some proceedures and photos of

some finished floors. hopes this helps good-luck!

03-01-2003, 02:24 PM
Nothing is ever as good as the real thing. :)

03-01-2003, 07:43 PM
I've got kin folks that have a scored floor. It has a border cut about 6 inches all the way around and the field area cut to the border. I would guide the saw against a straight edge for sure as was mentioned earlier. The only thing I don't like about it is the way the slab cracks show up.:)

03-01-2003, 09:17 PM
Thems as sell the stained floor concept calls them cracks, "character", Davy. And everything else that can't be removed or shows up as a surprise is called, "character". :)

If the cracks are pre-existing, one outfit showed me pictures of a floor that they "fixed" by sawing along the cracks and making more random kerfs to simulate a stone pattern. Looked pretty acceptable, actually.

Only floor I actually stained myownself has lots of character. :D

greg ziegler
03-01-2003, 09:42 PM
Ive been reading alot about these stains. not only is there concrete acid stain, there is also a water-based stain. For some reason there is more colors with water-base. to cut random cuts in the floor , say like a flagstone pattern I would probally lay it out with pencil lines or white chaulk just to keep uniform depending on the sq. ft. most things that I'm learning here is acid stain reacts better with properly prepped older concrete. I guess you get various shades with one color. with newer concrete (properly cured) you don't get as many shades. with water-based stains can be applied alot sooner on greener concrete. I would definitely make some samples first before each job I did.;)

Bud Cline
03-01-2003, 10:05 PM
The coatings of impressed concrete are very fashionable in Las Vegas right now the stuff is everywhere. In most cases it is hard to tell the impressed product from real tile and stone. They used acid stain then clear-coat. The cobblestone look is especially impressive. All of the major Hotel/Casinos have used the stuff somewhere I think indoors and out.

Equally impressive is the entry at the Ballagio. Seems a big crack had developed in the concrete underlayment and through the surface. It runs diagonally across the entire entry. This crack has been (chased) and additional grooves have been cut and tooled into the surface. In addition to this, leaves and flowers have also been carved into the surface along this original crack. The entire creation simulates a flowering vine. The leaves and flower petals have been colored/stained and it is an amazing creation of artwork.

03-02-2003, 02:06 AM
Decorative Concrete 101


Empire Level makes cool aluminum straight edges that can be joined together to make any length. Pick up at Home Depot by the levels. Three kits will take you out past 17 feet in one run, and they are only around $15 each. Use bricks to weigh down the straight edge. Place a few at each end and some in the center.

Pearl Abrasives makes a "skate" that will attatch to a circular saw or a worm drive. Its called "The Blade Roller". Around $65. You have to use one of these. Rolls along real nice. Just try to keep a straight line, even with a straight edge, using just the base plate on the saw.

If you are looking for just color seperation, score the crete with a regular blade. You can then stain the "tiles" with a different color and create a checkerboard look. Scoring is the only way to get a clean color seperation with acid stains. If you want a real tile look, you will need to use a 7" crack chaser. Its about $300. This will "v" a line about 3/8" thick. You can then grout for a real look. If you use a crack chaser on a regular saw you will have to remove the blade gaurd for it to fit in there.

I have rigged a water system on a circular saw. But you can also just pour water out in front of you to prolong blade life (did I mention $300 for the blade??) and keep dust way down.

To mark out your lines use white chalk. Its a bit of a pain to follow while cutting, but have you ever tried to remove colored chalk that stained concrete before?

Go with the "boarder" around the room. Score a line at least 6" out from the wall. This way you will not have to continue your cuts all the way to the wall. Even pros have a tough time with that. You would have to go from the saw cart to a grinder to a Dremel. PITA!!

After all the scoring is complete, clean the slab with water and neutral cleaner if it is already in decent shape. If there is paint or oil stains, use alkaline or solvent strippers. DO NOT USE ACID TO CLEAN THE FLOOR BEFORE ACID STAINING!!!!

Spray acid stain out of a pump up sprayer (Hudson type) and work the stain into the surface with a fine push broom using a figure 8 motion. You really need 2 people for this part. Just like painting, keep with wet lines. Work fast. Usually 2 applications are needed for the best look, but it depends on your crete. If it is rough to begin with, 1 should work just fine. Let stain dwell for about 4 hours between applications.

No less than 4 hours after the last application of stain flood the floor with water, squegee slurry into big puddles and wet-vac up. Repeat this process a few times, until you get pretty clean water and very little, if any, slurry. Mop with clean water with baking soda at a dilution of around 2 cups per mop bucket to neutralize the surface. Mop like crazy using a string mop. You need to get all that powder/slurry up.

Acid stains are a mixture of heavy metals and hydrochloric acid. Copper gives the green and blue colors. Iron the red tones. Magenese the dark tones. This is why the color charts are the same from company to company (pretty much). Its the only colors that work with this chemistry. There are water based stains available, but these will not hold up as well and do not create the motteled, stone look that you want. Acid stains are forever.

I will post more info about the sealing process, and the different looks you can get. A bit burnt on typing right now;)

Something like this:D

greg ziegler
03-02-2003, 07:14 AM
:bow The floor is beautifu! Any-idea on total man hrs to perform this task. average sq. ft can be completed in a typical work day?:

John Bridge
03-02-2003, 09:15 AM

How about posting this to the Liberry? You could then add to it when you feel like it. Just copy and paste the text in.

You won't see it after you've posted it until a moderator passes it through, but it will have your name on it that way. If a moderator does the posting, the article will have that person's name on it. :)

03-02-2003, 10:46 AM
Man, you guys are awesome! Thanks for all of the great advice. I have a great understanding of what I need to do now. I will get this done and post some pics of it when completed. Thanks again!

03-02-2003, 12:49 PM

More than just an idea;)

You need two people to do the layout. After that one guy moving can score at least 1000 ft2 in a day. I have done almost 2000 in a day, but it was no fun and I was spent for the next week, just could not stand up straight for the life of me:mad:

A job as small as this pic (it was just under 400 ft total) can be done with about 36 man hours. Layout, score, clean with 2 guys the first day. Stain, take a 4 hour lunch and then stain again the second day. Clean the third day. Small areas like this one should be cleaned in a few hours. Drink beer the third day while the slab dries. Spend a few hours sealing the fourth day. Take off early to have a cold one or 6. Apply finish for about an hour the last day.

Now if you do grout the joints this will add some time. Grout after you apply the first coat of seal, clean, then seal again.

Two people should be able to score, stain and grout around 2000 ft. in 5 days. Depends on "tile" size and how complex the coloring is.

greg ziegler
03-02-2003, 05:56 PM
thanks kemguru, for all the input . With my small co. in the decorative concrete business , this looks like a another avenue of income that can be approached. although I will try some samples of the possibilities, I will look to get me and my crew some sort of seminar with acid staining. Heck with the process and the time involed, I'm all about taking 4hr lunches and slamming down some cold-ones:shades: :shades: I think if I can I will try some out-door projects first

03-02-2003, 11:16 PM
If you cant find a good seminar in your area come on out to Colorado and we can take some four hour lunches together;)

You know we are home to a lot of beer makers. Home of the largest Micro-Brew:confused: in the nation even.

I have an on going project in a straw bale construction home that got me on the local news even. I think its the only slab on grade house in the state;) Already scored, but will start staining after interior is almost finished. GC says spring sometime, but I think he is lying, well maybe not, just spring of 2006:mad:

Yeah, I still get dirty people, very dirty:)

greg ziegler
03-03-2003, 06:21 AM
Thanks, might have to take you up on the idea. remember I got the bill on the first 4hr lunch:D

03-03-2003, 05:09 PM
What do you guys suggest I use to pull up my existing ceramic to do this acid staining project. I have seen floor strippers online, do the rental places carry these?

By the way, it is on a concrete slab, obviously if I am going to be acid staining, but thought it might be worth clarifying.

03-03-2003, 05:21 PM
Are we dealing with thin-set here?

Hey, Tile Ranger, this is one application I would much rather see mastic:p

John Bridge
03-03-2003, 05:31 PM

Wait till after the thaw, and I'll join y'all. ;)

You're still payin', right?


greg ziegler
03-03-2003, 06:04 PM

like I said john I'll buy:shades:

kemguru looks like we will have to find a seminar real soon . Looks like john will be attending. I can taste them rocky-moutain cold ones right now!

03-03-2003, 06:12 PM
My door is always opened

The straw bale engineer (did not know there was such a thing-he is from Boulder if that tells ya anything) held a teaching session during construction. This means he had about a dozen people out there that paid him to work tossing bales. He also collected from the GC. Gota love it.;)

No charge for anybody that wants to come out, but if JB swings by, we could have 6 hour lunches instead of the standard 4.:D

03-03-2003, 08:59 PM
Yes we are talking thin set here. I am not looking forward to it. But I have to do it.

03-04-2003, 12:27 PM
Problem as I see it will be the condition of the floor after you get the thinset off. The thinset will probably take some concrete with it making it a less than desirable surface for staining. That means you will have to resurface with a stainable self leveling cement (SLC) take a look at http://www.mapei.com/indexAmericas.htm

I just realized this is a continuation of your other thread so I'm going to merge them.

03-04-2003, 01:43 PM
Thanks for merging them, I wasn't sure if I should put it in here or not.

You are right, the condition of the concrete might not be that great after I get the tile up but right now I am just worried about getting the ceramic up. I want to make sure that I don't make it too hard on myself. I can worry about the condition of the concrete after I get the tile up.

03-04-2003, 04:30 PM
I just thought of something. How big an area is this? You could leave the tile there and just pour the SLC if you can afford a 1/4" elevation increase.

John Bridge
03-04-2003, 05:47 PM
There's a fair chance the tile and thin set will come up without a lot of damage to the concrete. Just don't aim your whatever downward. Try to drive it in laterally, and shear the tiles off.

03-04-2003, 08:45 PM
Remove the tile. A floor stripper (something like an Edco) will remove thin set pretty well, usually. You can also attack it from the top with a buffer (floor machine). Most rental companies and janitorial supplies can set you up. Get on it hard enough to remove the thin set, but try your best to leave the "cream" of the crete alone.

Stain an area to see what you think. Even when all the thin set is removed, you will tend to see marks, especially if the thin set was not squished all the way. Wherever there was thin set, it will tend to stain a different color. Test it and see what you think. You just might like the extra character.

If not, FF mentioned Mapei. Use there self-leveling overlay and all will be well. It is one of the best products out there. Let us know, staining a self-leveler is a bit different than staining regular old crete.

03-04-2003, 10:16 PM
cool, I am not too worried about the extra "character" the thinset will give the stain. I think that will add to it. I'll check into a floor stripper, if not that then I will use a rotary hammer and a spade type bit.

Thanks for the help everyone.

03-14-2003, 06:13 PM
Allright, I finally started this dang project and have begun removing the tiles. I was going to try to rent a floor stripper or something that might do the work a little easier but I decided on my trusy old brick chisel and a 3# sledge. Doesn't take too long to get them up, and working at an angle I avoid any damage to the concrete.

While a lot of the thinset is coming up with the tile, some of it is not. Is there an easier way to smooth the floor other than my 5" scraper? I don't necessarily need to get all of the thinset up (will add character to the stain) but I need to get the concrete smooth. Any ideas?

nevermind, I just remembered that Kemguru said something about it several posts above. He suggested a floor machine but what kind of pad would I have to use? Or would the people at the rental place know?

Any other suggestions are welcome.

03-14-2003, 06:30 PM
What you are looking for at the rental shop is called a scarifier.It should make short work of whats left of the thinset and you would be able to grind any high spots at the same time. Good Luck!!

03-14-2003, 07:57 PM
Todd, a scarifier is going to beat the bejesus outta that floor, won't it? He wants to stain it.