You Stain, You Gain?

Alberto introduced the idea of staining the concrete several months ago and I panned the idea, did not want to think about extra expense at the time. But when the concrete was finished and Alberto said the next step was stain or seal, I hesitated. I had found a product I would like to use to stain the floor with, and I wanted to use it. My reasoning was that I was ready for a do it yourself project and the cost for commercial staining was something like $2 a square foot, a cost I did not want to add at this point.

The etch, stain and sealer that I found are based on soy instead of petrochemicals. That was very attractive, and the products qualify for LEED points for using no or low VOC (volatile organic chemicals like the odor of paint and other petrochemical installations.) The product is made in Phoenix, at least that is the company headquarters which could be considered local except that I am using it in Colorado, more than the required 500 miles away and who knows where they get the soy.  The company name is Eco Soy Products. UPDATE: Now Eco Safety Products.

I hemmed and hawed somewhat about the stain project. It wasn’t clear to me that I needed to stain the concrete floor. I have a problem about how to handle the insulation edges of the floor. I’m not sure how I’m going to cover the insulation and plastic that take up the 3″ perimeter of the entire floor. A tile edging maybe or laminate trim? But the soy product was so attractive and staining the floor would put off any decision about other floor coverings, The website suggests a sample to help decide so I called the company and paid about $13 for 2 oz. containers of etch and desert sand stain.

I tried it on the floor near the toilet in the family room where it would not be visible if I decided not to go ahead with it. I was not thrilled with the desert sand color. At first it looked like baby poop to me. That is the golden yellow breast fed baby poop of a very young infant. But after looking at the darker colors on the color chart and talking to my niece who used acid staining techniques with two colors on her patio, I decided i wanted both a lighter and darker brown, so the color on second thought looks a bit like coffee au lait!

Baby Poop Color Stain

Baby Poop Color Stain

Same color but Coffee Au Lait

Same color but Coffee Au Lait

Color faded a bit

Color faded a bit when etched over

The floor is very variable in color and each water spill seems to have left marks on it. I decided to try a bigger sample area in the utility room. I found the sample etch did a good job of somewhat evening out the appearance of the concrete surface. The larger patch of stain looked even less like baby poop too. So I started thinking about ordering the stain, the etch and the sealer. The website has a rule of thumb regarding coverage. Our concrete floor is 1600 square ft. and the stain covers from 200 to 400 square ft. a gallon. So I decided that 5 gallon buckets of the stuff would be about right.

Wnen I did a google search to find the company again, instead I found that there was a vender on ebay, offering the products for a reduced price including a little wiggle room on the shipping and asking price. So I bargained a bit and ordered 4 buckets, 1 each of desert sand and espresso, and one each of etch and penetrating sealer. It seemed like a reasonable deal and a savings of about $400 over the manufacturer’s website. I ordered before the last trip to Colorado started and expected to receive it within the first week of the working visit. I didn’t hear anything about the shipment for a few days and then contacted the seller to learn that the guy had not followed up with the company and the products had not shipped yet! Then it took several more days for the guy to get them to ship and I swear the product came on a slow boat from Phoenix, as it took several days to deliver.

Finally, the 196 pound shipment came FedEx freight, and that requires scheduling the delivery and a signature, but FedEx had not mentioned this in their tracking information so I waited all day on the estimated delivery day hoping to start the project before the weekend, but no shipment arrived. They did not have a phone number to reach me to schedule delivery. I found this out on Friday morning, over 2 weeks after the initial order. Luckily I had called to find out what happened to the shipment but by then they had to schedule actual delivery for Monday. I was leaving on Wednesday so not much time to use the product before I left the job site for at least another month! What a disappointment that was, so maybe it would have been worth four hundred more dollars to get the product shipped without delay. But I can’t be sure the company would have shipped as fast as they did the sample either.


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