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Planning Your Concrete Stain: DIY vs. Professional Concrete Contractors

Planning Your Concrete Stain concrete contractor

Many home DIY (do-it-yourself) enthusiasts can’t wait to pick up a roller or brush and something with color and we don’t blame you!  Color is the part about our job we love the most, but when it comes to something permanent like concrete stain, knowing the pros and cons of DIY concrete stain vs. the application of concrete stains by professional concrete contractors will save you a lot of heartache.

Water-Based Stain vs. Acid-Based Stain

To start with, there are two categories of concrete stain: acid stain and water-based stain.  Most home DIY stores are going to sell you the water-based variety which will fill the pores of the concrete and coat it rather than react and penetrate it.  Most pictures you see online with the translucent and mottled look are done with an acid stain which chemically reacts to the concrete and multiple colors can be used to achieve the faux stone, wood grain, leather, or marble look. We would never recommend someone without the proper training work with an acid formula and much rather you call up a professional concrete contractor for something like this.

Preparing for Concrete Staining

When planning a concrete stain project, there is also a lot of prep work to think about.  As we mentioned before, the water-based stain is something that is closer to paint because it fills-in the pores of the concrete.  If the concrete was not properly prepared for the stain and was harboring dust and debris before the application, there could be chipping or flaking of your stain in the future.  Professional concrete contractors will use professional-grade equipment to prepare the concrete flooring inside or outside of your home, office, restaurant, or other business and ensure it is ready (this may include grinding down a weaker layer of concrete paste from the surface to reveal the stronger concrete layer underneath and polish it for industrial applications to prevent future cracking).  Once an acid stain is applied, it chemically bonds to the concrete itself and will not flake any product.  After that, it can be sealed and waxed for extra shine, preservation of color, and ease of cleaning (a simple dust mop will work for daily cleaning which is so much easier than most flooring materials!).  A home DIY-er is not going to have access to the heavy concrete grinders and polishers used to thoroughly prepare a floor for a proper staining that will ensure this future easy-up-keep outcome.

Designing the Concrete Stain

If you love to DIY, we do want you to help plan the design for your concrete stain!  Looking at concrete stain chips are not as helpful as house paint chips, so we like to encourage you to go through our gallery and the Internet for inspiration. Would you like a compass rose stained into your concrete?  We’ve done that as well as other designs that work well at patios, wine tasting rooms, and hotel swimming pools:

Business logos are another frequent request we can achieve with concrete stain.  Think about the crests you’ve walked across at a City Hall or a police station.  Restaurants, and here in Paso Robles the wineries and tasting rooms again love to have their logo in the patio.  Here is the crest at the Santa Maria Police Station we were the concrete contractors for, completed with concrete stain:



Simple textures with acid stain give dimension and class to your concrete, transforming your home or businesses from the floor, up.  Visit our gallery for other samples and then call us to schedule a consultation.  We would love to look at pictures with your ideas and talk about colors with you.  We work with home owners and business owners for commercial and industrial projects between Santa Barbara and Monterey on the central coast of California.


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Bring the Beauty of the Central Coast Inside with Concrete Staining

concrete staining monterey countyHave you ever thought about bringing the beauty of our surrounding central coast indoors?  As a local company in Paso Robles of San Luis Obispo County, we get to see the beauty of our region daily as we drive from one job site to another between Monterey and Santa Barbara Counties.  But if you work in an office all day or spend a lot of your time in your home, you may have thought already tried to bring in some of the colors, materials, and textures of the central coast with plants and decorative pillows.  But what about your flooring?  We at Pristine Concrete consider ourselves to me more than mere concrete contractors – we’re concrete artists!  And we can bring the beauty of smooth river stones, twisted vines, gnarled oak bark, and tanned rodeo leather right to your concrete using a process of concrete staining with acid.

The concrete acid stain lightly etches the concrete to let the color of the stain penetrate it.  This adds color to the concrete permanently, making it a great solution to beautify high traffic areas in a home or office, or areas exposed to the elements like a pool deck.  We can acid stain concrete that is already there, or add it to new concrete if you’re thinking about adding a patio, walkway, garage, or more.

For existing concrete staining, it’s important to keep in mind that the acid stain penetrates the concrete by about 1/32”, so weak concrete that is already cracking and chipping may need to be reinforced first.  Also, natural color variations are normal, especially in older concrete that may have been previously stained by oil.  This happens because concrete acid stains are translucent.  For new concrete, it’s necessary to wait 14-28 days to let the concrete cure before staining it, but on the plus side the acid stain in new concrete tends to be more vibrant in color.

As the decorative concrete experts of the central coast, we’re proud of our designs and we welcome a challenge!  We’ve created sea life, flames, tribal art with 3-dimentional shading, logos, faux granite, a police badge, faux leather… we could keep the list going, but we’d rather just show you.  View our some of our favorite acid concrete staining projects below and in our gallery.  We also post pictures on Facebook, so be sure to follow us there if you’re looking for more creative concrete inspiration.


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Spraying Weeds in Your Driveway Year After Year? Concrete Resurfacing Can Save You Money!

concrete driveway san luis obispoWe enjoy beautiful weather her in San Luis Obispo County, but with this mild climate comes a year-round battle with weeds.  And they find their way into everything, don’t they?  Even into those little tiny cracks in your driveway, causing more damage and opening up more space for even more weeds.  With laborious pulling and the best ground-all-around-clear-up-365 spray, you’ll still only be able to keep the weeds away for so-long before they rear their ugly little heads again, sending you back to the store for more expensive spray.

Little cracks appear in concrete as it ages and the material begins to break down.  This is normal in the life cycle of your concrete.  If it was installed properly with a good foundation, your concrete should be pretty old before this begins to happen, but if you have a home or business with concrete that was old to begin with, you are fighting a battle you can’t win with the weeds.  The cracks in your concrete will only continue to get bigger.

So don’t keep wasting money on a temporary solution.  Concrete resurfacing now will save you money over the years in expensive weed sprays – and it can also keep those little cracks from becoming so big that they require a more costly repair down the road.  Concrete resurfacing is cheaper than replacement (good for your bottom line), maintains the integrity of your existing concrete longer (keeping it out of landfills – good for the environment), can be a great excuse to dress up your business facility or residence by adding some concrete stain at the same time, and will seal up any cracks to keep the weeds out (no more expensive and toxic sprays).

The process for concrete resurfacing is surprisingly simple.  We’ll come out to your home or business in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, or Monterey counties and start by thoroughly cleaning and prepping your existing concrete.  This will remove any oil, sand, or other debris.  We’ll also have to get rid of any weeds still growing through the cracks at this time, too, but the 3500psi pressure washer we’ve got will likely take care of that!  Then, we work our magic by scrubbing and smoothing the new layer of specialty concrete on the clean surface and add any decorative finishes.  Depending on the finishing touches and weather conditions, your fresh, new concrete driveway or patio will be ready for foot-traffic in about 6 hours and will last for years and years, leaving you free to enjoy life on the central coast.

Contact us for a quote here.

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Why is Stained Concrete a Good Choice


Stained concrete flooring really offers the best of all worlds:  They are beautiful, durable, environmentally friendly and promote healthy indoor air quality, with little to no maintenance.  They not only bring relief to allergy sufferers and prevent the adverse health reactions that can occur from other flooring options, but they also provide unique design options by combine colors and techniques that simply are not possible with other types of flooring.

  • Protect Your Health- Improve your air quality!  Stained concrete flooring offers relief for allergy sufferers. It’s a proven fact that carpet can house millions of dust mites, pounds of dust and hair, as well as fungus and mold.  Carpet also releases chemical fumes and gases into the air that affect your health. Although a better choice than carpet, even wood floors have a high level of formaldehyde and release VOCs into the air.  Stained concrete, especially water based stained concrete, promotes healthy indoor air.  It provides a completely smooth surface with no hiding places to harbor bacteria, dust, or unwanted pests.  It contains no formaldehyde,repels water and will not encourage the growth of mold.  New water based concrete stains are low or no odor for those who are especially sensitive to any fumes during the application process.
  • The Environment-  Stained concrete is a green choice because it is slow to heat up and slow to cool down.  It typically maintains a persistent temperature, which promotes lower utility bills.  Also, since your foundation is already THERE, you are not cutting down trees or buying products such as carpet or engineered wood, which require a large amount of energy to manufacture.   Also,  concrete is there forever.  You will not be pulling it up and throwing it in the landfill later as you eventually will have to do with a wood, tile and carpet, when it reaches the end of its life.
  • Durability-  Few materials are as durable as concrete.  Carpet has a short life span and is expensive (not to mention a burden) over the years to replace over and over again. Wood can fade, scratch, chip, and the finish must be maintained over the years.  Tile floors can break, crack, or chip as well and be difficult to replace. Carpet, wood and tile can all grow mold underneath the flooring.   Your investment in durable stained concrete flooring will give you the most value for your money since it can last a lifetime.
  • Easy on the Budget-  Since you will not have to replace the concrete again and the stain can last a lifetime,  you save money in the long run.  Even up front, for new construction, the cost of stained concrete flooring is about half the cost of hardwood floors.
  • Easy to Maintain-  Just sweep and use a damp mop.  There is nowhere for the dust and dirt to hide. No need for chemicals or harsh cleaning products.
  • Beautiful and Diverse- You can enjoy the look of marble or stone or a rich, leathery appearance.  Perhaps you have an urban loft and prefer a more ultra modern solid bold color.  The possibilities are limited only by your creativity. Choose any color and any effect.  Get rid of ugly carpet and  outdated flooring.   Upgrade your home with beautiful stained concrete flooring and add to the value of your home!

Stained concrete flooring has many benefits.  But it’s only as good as the company that you hire to create the effect.  The floor must be properly evaluated, prepared and treated even before the work begins.  Depending on the effect you desire, a specific technique must be employed using special tools and specific products.   Our qualified and highly skilled concrete flooring specialists have the product knowledge, the years of experience and training, and the tools and equipment to create your masterpiece.

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