Repair Tack Strip Pop-Outs

Removing carpet from a concrete floor is a time consuming process. Carpet still requires tack strips, and tack strips usually nail into the sub-floor. Divot Fix

Removing tack strips from a concrete floor leaves behind small nail holes along the outside perimeter of the concrete floor. A blended cement patch compound does a good job of covering up carpet tack holes on concrete floor. However, preparation of the holes and the surrounding concrete is necessary to ensure a strong patch. The Concrete Colorist has become a master of hiding these little holes.

This week I will discuss how to hide the holes with a concrete based hole patch.

Brush the holes with a stiff wire brush to remove any loose pieces of concrete. Sometimes loose chips remain unseen until you brush over them. This helps to ensure you patch the entire area of the hole.
Remove the debris and concrete dust from the hole with a vacuum. Loose particles prevent the patch from adhering to the concrete.
Fill a bucket with clean water. Dip a rag into the water and wring it out well. Dampen the holes with the rag. Concrete draws in moisture. Dampening the concrete before applying the patch helps prevent the concrete from drawing moisture from the patch before it fully cures. Do not moisten so much that there is standing water in the bottom of the holes.
Mix the blended cement patch in a bucket according to the package directions. The concrete patch should have a thick, muddy consistency.Divot Fix (3)
Scoop the patch mixture with the corner of a trowel and press it into the nail holes.
Hold the trowel at an angle once you fill the holes and swipe over the patch and concrete.
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This smooths the patch to the surface level of the concrete floor.
If you are covering holes across a hallway or just want a boarder you can tape off a border.
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The holes must always be filled individually as trying to float out a whole border at once will leave small indention’s where the holes were. Fill the holes first then float out a boarder.
Remove your tape before the cement dries. This will make a sharp edge.
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Now just paint your new border and seal with the rest of the floor.


Top Ten List of Things (Not To Do)

There are lots of good “how to” articles out there for acid staining decorative concrete floors. It’s good to learn about all the things that you need to do. There’s also some things that you just shouldn’t do. Avoid these mistakes and you’ll stand a much better chance of creating a beautiful acid stained concrete floor.

Top ten things not to do when acid staining a concrete floor.

It’s pretty easy to find “how to” articles about acid staining concrete floors. Some of them are pretty good. Whenever I’m learning something new I always like to ask more experienced people about mistakes they have made and things that they learned back on the uphill side of the bell shaped curve. These can be lessons that save you time and money.

This is my attempt to pay it back by baying it forward. I am going to share knowledge that I have gained either through my own experiences with 5+ Designs or from correcting the “experiences” of others. These are the top ten things that I wish that I had known when I started acid staining concrete back in the early ’90’s.

1) Don’t start an acid staining project without spending quality time looking at the concrete and evaluating its condition. Stains, scratches, cracks & divots are “character” to some clients and serious flaws to others. Most damage to a concrete slab can be repaired, but more often than not the “fix” stands out more than the original problem. A lot of concrete is poured by the lowest bidder. A lot of times you get what you pay for. Bad concrete design mixes (often seen in residential construction) may not be suitable for exposed concrete floors. An overlay thick enough to fix this is expensive and raising the grade of the slab may create more problems. Then there’s sloppy finishing, trash troweled into the floor, high and low spots, plumbing cut-outs, grade stakes left in the slab, left over curing compound, and on and on. It’s much better to identify problems going into a project and account for them in your proposal and with your clients expectations, which leads me to my next item:

2) Don’t oversell what you can do with acid staining a concrete floor. The concept of “character” in a concrete floor needs to be explored with your client. While there are many ways to skin a cat (and lots of tasty ways to cook one) you need to find that sweet spot where the expectations for a color stained floor meet the budgetary needs of the client.

3) Don’t take shortcuts with concrete floor preparation. This is the most critical part of acid staining. Do all your floor patching first, preferably a day ahead or use a fast setting patching compound. It is a strict policy at 5+ Designs that all hard troweled floors are prepared with diamond grinding as well as scrubbing and scraping. We not only want to remove all contaminants from the concrete’s surface, we want to create a good bonding profile for the concrete sealer that we will be applying to the color stained concrete. Edge work and corners require hand tools and elbow grease. Your time is well spent in this arena and makes it much easier to deliver a “no excuses” easy selling floor to your client.

4) Don’t forget to vacuum along the baseboard as part of your cleanup prior to acid staining. Make sure you take this seriously and spend plenty of time on this task. It ties back in to the previous item on the list. This simple act will make the walls easier to tape, the acid stain easier to apply and will save you frustration when you are sealing the floor. Now is a good time to make an eagle eye search of the floor surface for anything you might have missed in the prior step.

5) Don’t rush through your taping and masking. I know you are itching to start putting acid stain on your carefully prepared slab. That’s the fun part but this is no time to cut corners. Run your tape tight and at just the right height. Don’t touch the floor with it and don’t leave a gap. You don’t want shadows and you don’t want to wick stain onto the painted wall or baseboard. (Oh bless those people who let you apply acid stain before the baseboard goes on.) But you’re not done yet. Don’t leave any wood that’s going to stay wood (as opposed to being painted) come into contact with the acid stain, concrete dye or floor cleaning juice. Wood wicks up water into capillary channels, and nothing demonstrates this better than allowing kiln dried wood to come into contact with water that is contaminated with acid stain residue and concrete dyes. Do what you gotta do, use masking tape then duct tape (to avoid sticky residue) or use silicone caulk, just don’t do the wood dying experiment because it’s really hard to fix and your client probably won’t forgive you.

6) Don’t start staining until you determine where you are going to put the acid stain residue and cleanup water. If you have any shred of decency you will not put this stuff into storm drains or anywhere it can flow into a stream or pond. Different areas have differing soils and standards as to where the waste water can go. This is a thorny topic and is best for you do a little research for the area you are working in before you start your project.

7) OK, now you can start acid staining. Don’t rush this part. This is where you get to be an artist. Savor the experience. Look at what you are doing and don’t leave footprints, brush marks, spray stripes,etc.. It’s got to look natural, like it just “happened”.

8) Don’t leave puddles on the concrete. Acid stain is weird stuff. The acid in the stain competes with the suspended metallic chlorides and blah, blah, blah, what you need to know is that the puddles come out lighter, sometimes not stained at all.

9) Don’t rush the reaction. Acid stain takes time, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Leave the site, don’t tempt yourself, besides if you haven’t done all the things that I recommended that you don’t do (read that a few times and it will make sense), it’s late, you’re tired and you need to take a break.

10) Ok, you’re back. It’s time to neutralize and clean up. Don’t be a slacker here. It is important that you don’t leave any nasty Ph surprises for your concrete sealer. Ammonia or sodium carbonate, it’s your choice for a neutralizer. Just make sure you don’t mix it too strong (you don’t want to discolor that pretty acid stain) and use plenty of it. All the unreacted acid stain and unbonded mineral salts have got to go. Scrub the floor vigorously (we use a buffer) and rise and repeat until your acid stained floor passes the white glove test. Seriously. If it rubs off on your hand it can act as a bond breaker for your concrete coating. Taking this last step is why we have never had a bonding issue with any of our acid stain coatings.

That’s it. Your concrete floor has been properly prepared, acid stained, neutralized, cleaned and now is ready for the concrete sealer. Kick back and let the floor dry. Stay tuned and I’ll be back with a list of things that you shouldn’t do when applying a coatings to an acid stained floor.


Whether you are an architect, contractor, or homeowner, the best time to call The Concrete Colorist (817-723-5003) is before the building slab is poured. Then we can provide you with timely information on how to finish the foundation slab in a way which will lead to the most successful staining job possible. Even if staining is only one of several options which you are considering, the suggestions we make will save you labor and money if you do choose acid staining, and will do no harm should you decide on a more conventional floor covering such as tile or stone.

Step One, the Planning Session

Once your plans are drawn up you should bring them to our office along with any color swatches or decorating ideas you may have already chosen. That way we can get a feeling for the style of the planned space and can show you the range of stain colors available. We have color charts published by the stain manufacturers, but much more useful is the array of two-foot square concrete pavers we have on display so that you can see how we mix or dilute stains and pattern them with various materials to create a variety of “looks” inspired by nature.

We expand this with a large portfolio of photographs of finished floors by The Concrete Colorist, any one of which may inspire you to design something similar. We cannot promise to exactly reproduce any given job we have done formerly (and most of our clients find this to be a plus). Since the finished result is a combination of many factors, ranging from the “mix formula” of the concrete to the weather on the day of the pour and the type of clear sealer chosen, no two stained floors are identical. As overused as the expression is, our clients really do end up with floors which are unique.

Step Two, We call Your Builder or Project Supervisor

One of the first things we do is provide the job supervisor with a “Builder information sheet” sheet which outlines the most common events which might lead to staining problems. We happily fax or e-mail this sheet to anyone who calls us, even if it ends up benefitting another stainer who wins the bid. We feel that this is important information which all stainers should provide, but which many overlook, due to laziness or a fear of “scaring off the customer.” We understand that educating people in the details of the staining process benefits the staining field as a whole.

If a builder is hiring a concrete stainer for the first time, we want to answer all his questions and concerns about the timing and duration of the staining process and how we should protect the stained slab from the last of the trades and return just before move-in to apply the final finish so the floors look their best on the day the client takes possession of the property.

Step Three, We Give You a Written Estimate

We are happy to give you a ballpark estimate on the phone if you explain the scope and location of your project and know the square footage. We usually make a written bid after we clearly understand the job and have spoken with the builder as well as the hiring party.

We are straightforward about pricing and do not hesitate to give close estimates from the start, so you can determine if floor staining is in your budget. Our company makes every effort to stick with the original estimate as a matter of courtesy, even if your project is delayed by a year or so.

Step Four, We Do Stain Samples

We ask that you notify us at least one month after the slab has been placed. This gives it enough time to cure so that we can go to the site to do three or four stain samples on a hidden area of the slab. You need to see how the colors you have chosen are likely to react with your particular concrete. We usually stain towards the end of the building process and the homeowner or designer needs to choose wall colors and woodwork long before the floors are stained. We have a limited range of stains we can use, so it is preferable to tailor the wall colors to the floor rather than the reverse.


If the job site is a long distance away and we have not received a signed Proposal, but are still competing with other stainers for the bid, then we charge a nominal fee for this service, since it usually requires two trips to the site. If we are chosen to do the job then this fee is deducted from the client’s first invoice.

We always meet with the client to look at the samples on the second day and show how the sealer variables will affect them. If some “tweaking” is required we often do a second set of samples.

Step Five, We Stain and Seal the Floors

This begins with wall masking, protection of adjacent woodwork and columns, and the protection of nearby concrete which the owner wants to leave unstained. We then clean the slab thoroughly. If a sealer or liquid curing compound has been applied inadvertently, or if we are dealing with a remodeling job and must remove mastic or floor paint, this is when we do it. Cleaning is usually about 80% of the stainer’s work and the most crucial element (aside from letting the slab dry completely before sealing it).

When the slab is as clean as possible we fill cracks and holes with a cementitious compound which will accept acid stain and let it cure overnight.

We apply one or two coats of stain to the clean, dry floor and let it cure the required four to six hours. The next day we scrub the floors again using a soft buffing pad on our machine and rinsing and vacuuming well. When the slab is completely dry we apply at least two coats of a durable solvent-based clear sealer. If solvent fumes are a problem we do this on a weekend to spare adjoining tenants or other trades. If the owner requires a non-toxic or “green” product we will apply that, although these are often less scratch-resistant.

We like to faux paint out any flaws or odd spots which bother the client after the first coat of sealer is dry enough to walk upon. This is a special service which most stainers cannot provide, but we have been matching colors and doing faux finishes for decades. This is most vital if the floor is a remodel formerly under carpet. There will be a row of filled carpet tack-strip holes bordering the walls which will never take the stain in exactly the same way as the slab itself. With skillful faux painting we can make the color differences vanish.

Step Six, We Return for Final Finish

We always apply two coats of water-based acrylic polish as our final coating once the sealer has adequately cured. Usually the builder chooses to have us return when the building has just been cleaned for move-in as almost the last step in the building process. At that time we can faux paint out any scratches inflicted on the floor by careless counter or appliance installers and then cover our repairs with two protective coatings of final finish (acrylic wax).

The final finish serves as a sacrifice coat and is easy for the maintenance staff or homeowner to replenish when the surface of the floor gets dulled from traffic. This is done once a year in homes and more often in busy public spaces. We provide written instructions with directions and products needed, or a floor preservation contract with our company for future finishing. If the client has a commercial space, we provide a maintenance sheet for the janitorial staff.

Unusual Scenarios – The foregoing steps are our most typical procedure, but we are not inflexible. If you have a job in a foreign country or a distant state, we are happy to discuss consulting with your stainer or even training your staining crew and providing artistic expertise.

The Concrete Colorist, has a skilled and experienced crew of workers, but the owner still does all client consultations and samples in person and is on the job site for most of the time that work is in progress. He takes great pride in his work and does not believe in “turning jobs over” to subcontractors or untrained crews of day laborers, as some low-priced competitors have been known to do! Acid staining is far from formulaic. One or two unusual elements are encountered on almost every job and only the eye of experience can detect them and head off problems before they mushroom out of control.




Everyone wants to know how much Acid Stained Floors or a Concrete Overlay costs. This most often comes up on a phone conversation. Without seeing the area, this is really like asking “How long is a piece of string?” There are a range of prices depending on several factors. Payment Terms are covered at the bottom of the page. Before listing prices, take a look at some other flooring costs. Almost all available flooring material is listed/priced by the Square Foot (Sq Ft):

Carpet – This option runs around $3.00 ~ $6.00 Sq Ft. Things affecting the final price are Installation cost, Carpet and Padding quality.

Tile – This option runs around $4.00 ~ $12.00 Sq Ft. Things affecting the final price are Installation cost, Tile quality, Type of material and Size of tile, Grout options/sealers and Inlays.

Laminate Wood – This option runs around $6.00 ~ $10.00 Sq Ft. Things affecting the final price are Installation cost and method, quality, Type laminate (floating or ridged).

Real Wood – This option runs around $10.00 and up Sq Ft. Things affecting the final price are Installation cost and method, quality, Type of wood, Stain choice, sealer choice

5+ Designs budgetary prices are shown below. These are “Ballpark” figures meant to give you a starting point for planning. The final price will be determined by Total Sq Ft, Style, Pattern, Thickness, Surface Preparation and choice of Sealer. These prices can fluctuate up for additional preparation or down because of available discounts:

Acid Stained Concrete – $2.00 Sq Ft (Exterior) and $2.50 Sq Ft (Interior). Things affecting the final price are Scoring Pattern (typical $0.25 per sq ft), Total Sq Ft, Two-Tone or Checker Board color scheme, additional Surface Preparation, type of Sealer. A double layer of Corrugated Cardboard for protection is $0.40 per Sq Ft – for Interior work. A refresher Sealer Finish at the end of new construction jobs is included on the estimate.

Fix a DIY Stain Job – $4.50 and up. Things affecting the final price are what needs to be fixed, if the floor was sealed, and mechanical equipment or strippers need to restore the floor.

Colored Epoxy – $ 3.00 Sq Ft. Things affecting the final price are Total Sq Ft and additional Surface Preparation.

Micro-Finish Acid Stain – $ 4.50 Sq Ft. Things affecting the final price are Total Sq Ft, Pattern layout, number of colors and additional Surface Preparation.

Custom Tile Designs – $ 5.00 Sq Ft. Things affecting the final price are Total Sq Ft, Pattern layout, number of colors or Layers and additional Surface Preparation.


CSS Sealer – Included in Basic Price. This is a concentrated, clear, methyl-methacrylate based sealer.

AUS-G – $0.50 Sq Ft. This is a 50% solid, clear single component urethane sealer.

Clear Epoxy – $1.50 Sq Ft. This is a 100% solid, 100% epoxy product. It is not thinned or mixed with either water or solvent. It is VOC free and dries crystal clear.

Water Based Sealer – Included in Basic Price. This option is for people or situations that require a VOC-Free sealer option but don’t want the expense of the Clear Epoxy sealer.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are found in everything from paints and coatings to underarm deodorant, car exhaust and cleaning fluids. They are a concern of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state air quality boards all over the United States. VOCs have been found to be a contributing factor to ozone, a common air pollutant.

Hope this helps!!!

Call us today at 817-723-5003 for your new floor…


Now you can have the garage floor that you have often wanted. Other than garage floor or concrete paint, epoxy is perhaps the least costly material accessible to protect your garage floor. Epoxy will not only improve the glimpse of one’s garage and give it a sheen, but will seal the concrete.

Garage floor epoxy gives the average homeowners garage a bright and professional appearance. Epoxy treated garage floors are smooth, providing an easy to sweep and clean surface that resists staining from fluids such as oil. There is a wide range of colors and designs offered to suite practically any taste.

Properly installed, garage floor epoxy is each water and impact resistant. This increases the value of one’s home and provides a beautiful extended lasting floor which will last for years to come. Your garage floor takes a beating. From the pounds of cars driving on it to bicycles falling on it.

Garage floor epoxy coatings a method of flooring which provides only the best materials over a market and the lowest prices. These chips are offering an exciting and innovative appear for the garage’s floor.

Light colors brighten a room, even though dark colors make a room seem darker and in some cases smaller.

For most garages, epoxy colors which are medium-toned make the garage glimpse bright and complete. Our mid-range colors aren’t too light or dark for a garage. Colors like gray, taupe, and tan will do a excellent work of hiding surface grime, oil, dirt, and dust. Oil and grime hide quite well over a black or extremely dark brown surface also. However, the color incredibly makes the garage dark. Epoxy colors is also mixed to make a custom look. Should you desire to have your favorite team colors or a custom seem you possibly can always add paint chip colors.

There is often a good deal of preparation jobs required just before applying a garage floor epoxy coating. If your concrete garage floor has water seepage difficulties , soaked in oil spots, a previous paint or coating, crumbling cement or that may be as well smooth to your epoxy to adhere then it must be prepared previous to installation in the epoxy.

If not installed properly, after a cars hot tires meet the epoxy it can stick to the tires and pull off of the floor. This final results in an costly program of removing the prior surface and prepping the concrete correctly before putting down a new protective coat of epoxy.

Once the preparation in the surface is completed, the software program of the epoxy system will appear easy.

There are a couple of alternatives of epoxy from which to choose. The water-based product or service is cheaper, simpler to use and keeps the anti-slipping texture in the concrete. The other one is a thicker, solvent totally free product. This a single gives the floor a slippery seem and is thicker than the water based one. This is most commonly applied for floors with cracks and pits because it helps to hide flaws.