Help Residue Problem

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Hoping someone can help me with a residue problem.  I acid stained my basement floor with Direct colors Malayn tan and coffee brown there was plenty of fizzing. It looked beautiful until after I neutralized and cleaned. I kept scrubbing with a broom until all residue was up and managed to scrub off all the stain in some areas. I called Direct colors and they said that the pores of the concrete probably were not open enough to absorb the concrete even though there was fizzing. They sent me some replacement stain saying that the concrete should now be ready to receive the stain. I restained, neutralized, and cleaned floor. When I do the white glove test there is stain showing. Should I keep scrubbing with water and a broom, should I rent a floor buffer to try to get the residue off? I presume I need the white cloth to come back with absolutely no stain residue in order to seal. If there is residue what type of sealer is better to use? I wanted a glossy wet look.

Thanks Jenny

Lindy A.'s picture
Lindy A.
I may be that your basement

I may be that your basement has some sort of foriegn matter that you could not see that prevented the acid stain from reacting with the concrete.  If/when this is the case, concrete dyes are typically used to camoflague the effected areas if after the 2nd application you are doing, using the acid stain again, do not correct the issue. 


If is important that all acid stain residue is removed; if not, it can impeded the bonding of the sealer that is to be applied over it. 


If you want a high gloss image ... 100% solids (VOC free) high build epoxy; or, VOC free polyaspartic aliphatic polyurea (PAP) ... both of these are 2 compoinent industrial/commercial protective sealers ... the PAP though having a much higher degree of wear/abrasion resistance and other superior physical properties.  Both are 2 component materials, as well as have a pot life (working time) that they must be applied in over a dry surface; however, they take a certain degree of knowledge/experience to obtain successful/defect free finished results. I do not recommend that you apply a two component aliphatic urethane in a basement (they have a contamitive/toxic/hazardous odor and you will not have adequate ventilation; they will go only putting off an offensive/reeking odor for days).   


Have you ever worked with 2 component sealers? ... you could apply a more user-friendly acrylic sealer.  They are user-friendly (just keep in mind that they must be applied in thin/uniform coats).  After doing so, you will have to apply a few sacrificial finish costs of high gloss wax to get ther reflective image (continue to do so periodically)..




My basement floor is part of new addition that was put in 4 yrs ago. I spoke with my contractor before I acid stained and he told me that there is no sealer or anything on or in the concrete and that it was good to acid stain. I did not have to do much prep work because the basement was unused. I just vacuumed and washed. So I dont know why the acid stain would not take.

Do you recommend to keep scrubbing with a broom or should I use a buffing machine to remove the residue? Also should the white cloth when wiped on the floor come back completely clean?

I have not used a 2 part sealer and truthfully I dont want to risk trying to do it myself.  I like the way the floor looks wet. Will a high gloss acrylic sealer give me the wet look I want?

Lindy A.'s picture
Lindy A.
Assuming you mean a water

Assuming you mean a water based Acrylic sealer ... I do not recommend using a solvent based Acrylic sealer in a basement due to hazardous/explosive/toxic solvent fumes and inadequate ventilation.  The water based Acrylic will give your acid stain a sort of semi-gloss wet look; however, in you will need to apply a couple of coats of wax over the sealer when dry/cured (recommend that you wait 2 days before doing so).  Acrylic sealers scratch/marr/scuff easily from certain types of shoe soles and are prone to staining from various types of foreign matter that will come in contact with your floor; furthermore, they have the lowest degree (compared to epoxies, urethanes, and PAP's) of wear/abrasion resistance, that will cause an non-shielded acrylic sealer to show wear (down though sealer and stain beneath it) if you fail to routinely wax and property maintain it.


Lindy A.

Mike Murray

Many times contractors will not cure the concrete while this makes it easy to stain
Other issues most likely will occur
Weak paste at the surface where the stains and sealers work
Lots of dusting
Most homes are poured with high water/cement ratios resulting in a weaken paste
Most jobs the concrete will still be ok but when there is hot weather high winds and low humidity and no curing the paste at the surface suffers and so do coatings
All floors should have CSP which means concrete surface profile you can check out the guidleline on the ICRI web site

Lindy A.'s picture
Lindy A.
Mike has his Concrete Guru

Mike has his Concrete Guru cap on, as to his professional insights in relation to causes and effects that brought about the lack of uniform acid staining reaction on your basement floor.  Although I have spent 30+ years in the concrete resurfacing and high performance sealer/coatings industry; there is still alot about concrete substrate formulations (batch mix chemistry, various additives, and certain types of pouring/finishing issues);  and special additives that I don't know ... he's my"go to guy (ACI expert)" when a condition perplexing to me comes up, being the reason I so frequently recommend him to others who need access to his valuable foundation of knowledge as well.   

Lindy A.