Q. Recently I repainted a house for my friend and furnished him with the same top quality work in prep. as well and using top quality paint products that I give all my customers. However, a few months after the job was complete he called me back because paint was peeling on the eaves. In looking at the loose paint more closely it was apparent that most of the prior paint jobs were peeling not simply my coating. This situation has strained our friendship and I need some answers.
A. It sounds like your prep work was given the attention it needed. Sometimes using “best” quality products can be detrimental to the success of a repaint for this reason. Prior coatings may be able to withstand your pressure washing and several seasons of hot and cold weather but the application of a new quality paint can impose certain stresses when it begins drying on these previously painted surfaces. Good quality products are designed to have a superior bond on the surfaces they are specified to adhere to. When they start to dry they begin to shrink slightly causing stress on prior coatings which may not have the same elastic qualities. If prior coatings were applied to a marginally prepared surface you can experience this type of delamination problem. It really is no fault of yours when this problem occurs and it must be stressed to your customer that solving one problem can often identify others when dealing with older homes or homes that have not been maintained professionally during it’s life cycle.
Q. I have read your prior articles on concrete staining and have since talked with several manufacturers to better understand the process of enhancing concrete surfaces by acid staining. Many have warned that each slab of concrete reacts differently to acid stain and to be very careful about adverse color changes that can potentially occur. Do you know of products or techniques that can possibly address this problem?
A. Staining existing concrete slabs is a challenging situation and testing the acid stain in an inconspicuous area is definitely advised to make sure colors do not discolor, or in other words “go south” on you. Staining concrete can be a little bit like staining soft wood surfaces. Unless you address the wood with a surface conditioner or (a.k.a. resin sealer, stain controller) prior to staining you generally end up with a stained wood surface that has inconsistencies in color. The reason for this inconsistent color across overall surface is varying densities, or levels of porosity in the wood’s surface. Without a surface conditioner on the wood first, you lack any control of the stain or color you wish to achieve.
Concrete shares some of these similarities. In talking to various manufacturers and contractors specializing in concrete staining we have identified one particular product manufacturer that has addressed this issue. The company is Applied Concrete Technology in Illinois and they can be reached at (800) 228-6694. They manufacture a product called the Densifier. This product is unique among concrete sealers in its molecular structure and can therefore penetrate deep into the concrete surface. Cool thing about the Densifier is the manufacturer’s recommendation to apply by airless spray application. Densifier not only makes the concrete 30% to 40% stronger, it has the same characteristics as a wood surface conditioner. At PaintPRO we have tested the product with the use of Rare Earth Labs stains and have had very good results. Although you may not experience the same mottled or blotchy effect characteristic of many beautifully stained floors, Rare Earth Labs stains give you tremendous versatility with their colors therefore allowing you to regain the unique mottled look and depth of color that is characteristic of the concrete staining process.
Q. I’ve decided to use an acrylic concrete stain for a driveway job and wanted to know who manufacturers these types of products and if you could offer some advise on surface preparation?
A.The three companies that come to mind are Duckback Products in Chico Calif, H&C Stains from Sherwin-Williams, and Safety Stain from Flex Art Co. in Laguna Hills, Calif.
On preparation, always remember that a clean and profiled surface are essential to any successful coating application on concrete. Since acrylic concrete stains are a topical treatment they require you to etch (a.k.a. profile) the surface before staining. A great product for etching concrete surfaces is the Profiler from Surface Gel Tek. This product can effectively etch the surface and also removes oil spots, efflorescence, rusty stains or just about anything contaminant that has discolored the concrete surface. A 3,000 lb.+ pressure washer will provide added strength to the cleaning/ etching process and helps you to clean and neutralize a surface simultaneously.