Considerations for Builders:
When putting together a construction schedule it is often
understood that ‘concrete work' is
performed at the beginning of any
project. Concrete Staining is not
‘concrete work' as much as it is ‘finish
work' and therefore should be scheduled
to commence after the painting stage,
prior to finishing work.
However, some builders prefer to schedule any concrete
scoring the day after the pour.
This allows score lines to continue
across rooms once walls are erected.
If scoring is done after framing, score
lines are normally terminated into a
border scored 6” to 8” from the walls.
Highly experienced builders prefer to stain concrete at the
early phases of construction, during the
"Pre-Finished Stage" (normally 14 days
after pour). The advantage of this
approach is that the stain and seal
protect the concrete from damages from
other trades. However, this
requires a strong management to hold
accountable other trades when damages
are done to the finished floor, and to
keep them from damaging it in the first
Dalcrete recommends to stain and seal after framing and roofing are
finished. The more trades we
follow, the more the quality of the
floor suffers. However, this will
require a firm commitment to the floor
from the builder, other trades, and even
Regardless of when the work is to be completed, some basics
will hold true for everyone. A new
concrete surface is a virgin canvas, and
while it is ready for our stain, it is
also ready for any other, most of which
will not add to the final look. As
such, caution needs to be taken during
every step of the building process.
When placing the foundation and ordering concrete, it is
important to ensure your concrete
supplier and installer understand that
the concrete is intended as the finished
floor. Use a minimum 5 sack mix
(3500 PSI), minimal to no fly ash.
No surface curing compounds should be
used, and calcium chloride accelerators
are an absolute no.
On interior surfaces, the concrete should be power trowelled
to a hard, slick finish to achieve a
polished marble like appearance in the
stain. It is not necessary to burn
the floor. Any unreachable areas
must be hand finished to a high standard
- steel trowelled to a slick finish
where the power trowel cannot reach.
On exterior surfaces, a light or medium broom finish is
recommended to add slip resistance,
(though sealer additives can add
resistance for smoother finishes) or if
you want a fossilized, limestone-like
finish for the surface, apply a medium
to heavy rock salt. In addition,
texture stamping is a great solution for
stained concrete and is always a
recommended upgrade outdoors.
Outdoor slabs to be stained should not
be driven on under any circumstances
until well after we finish our work.
The requirements and cautions given
below are just as important for an
outdoor slab as for the interior
When framing, it is very important that the framers remember
several items. One - never
brace the frame to the inside.
Two – never stage the lumber and
sheet materials on the slab.
Resins, tannins, and even waxes from the
lumber will leave shadow effects
outlining where the material was placed.
Three – chalking and marking should
be kept to a minimum. Do not use
red chalk, it is a permanent dye and
very difficult to remove. The only
colors to be used are white or blue
chalk as they are not permanent dyes,
and even they should be used sparingly.
Do not use grease pencils, and only make
light markings with regular pencils.
Whenever possible, make notes on the
framing itself. Four – cut
away base-plates carefully and cleanly
as soon as possible from all doorways.
Five – pick up all nails and rust
producing items when dropped.
Items for everyone on the site include primarily, a need to
work clean. No solvents, markers,
wax or grease pencils should be used to
mark the slab, and only appropriate
chalk colors. The floor must be
protected from gouging and chipping –
dragging heavy items or dropping items
from ladders or above is not acceptable.
The floor should be protected from
adhesives, caulk, gas, solder, flux,
oils, PVC primer/cleaner, PVC adhesive,
metals and rust producing items.
Do not leave lumber, sawdust, sheet
materials, plastic, nails or other items
on the concrete – clean as you go!
Otherwise variations in moisture and
curing rates, surface porosity and
staining will lead to undesired color
variations. Lastly, do not eat or
drink while on the slab! Find a
room that will not be stained and move
there. That is also the best place
to stage materials when available.
Use drop cloths where needed. Floor must be completely
protected during primer, paint, stain,
or lacquer stages. Painters may
use blue tape and craft paper taped to
the wall to protect the edges and tarps
to cover the field. Trim painting
and touchup must be done by a
professional who can keep it off the
floor. We in turn will protect
their work whenever necessary.
When acid staining is done at the Pre-Finished Stage your
finished floor will require some level
of protection during the rest of
The best way to protect your investment is by covering the
surface after we have applied the
sealers. Be sure to inform all
subcontractors to treat the floor as a
finished product. Here are some
different levels of protection you may
Low Traffic - Light Residential:
Place rolled cardboard over the entire
surface making sure not to tape to the
concrete itself. (Some tapes, even
'painters tape' can adhere to freshly
cured sealers and make for undesired
outcomes.) Tape the paper to
itself and then use Masonite or OSB
(Oriented Strand Board) to help hold
down the paper in doorways and high
Medium Traffic Areas - Light
Use rolled cardboard taped to itself
covering the entire area. Use
Masonite or OSB over the entire area for
High Traffic - Maximum Protection:
Use Breathable inexpensive carpet turned upside down, and
then cover entire surface with OSB.
Once the construction process is nearly complete, we will
return to remove the protective
coverings, clean the floor, touch up any
small items, (damages will be billed
repairs) and apply our final floor
finishes in preparation for handoff to
Dalcrete can work either at the
Pre-Finished or Finished stage, in both
cases floors should be clean and empty
prior to our arrival. Do NOT use
acids or chemicals to clean. We
include in our projects a maximum of 1
man hour for incidental cleaning or
moving items. After the first hour
charges will apply per man hour at
Dalcrete rate (not at a cleaning crew rate).
This helps ensure we can honor our time
commitment to you as well as the
projects for other clients scheduled