Stain Rejuvenates an Existing Concrete Floor

An environmental consulting firm saves money and conserves resources by giving their rundown concrete floor a new lookBy Anne Balogh, columnist

The challenge

Nautilus Environmental, an environmental consulting firm, recently moved into a new facility in San Diego and was in need of a tough but elegant floor for its new location. The facility was more than 30 years old and the existing concrete floors were in poor condition, covered with carpet pad glue, rubber tire marks, stains and other contaminants that required removal. The project involved more than 13,000 square feet of concrete on both floors of the two-story building. The ground floor was a typical slab on grade, and the second story was covered with residue from previous flooring over a lightweight concrete subfloor. Nautilus wanted to give the floors throughout the facility – including the office spaces, meeting rooms, building lobby, and a lab where the company conducts research – a uniform look while restoring their appearance.

Design goals

"The goals where two-fold: cost and aesthetics," says Larin Felker, Life Deck Coating Installations, San Diego, the company hired to restore and stain the concrete floors. "The contemporary look was the primary driver for choosing stained concrete. The cost was also considerably less than traditional flooring options." Felker worked in collaboration with San Diego design firm Augustine Design Group to choose the best colors and finish for the floor.

Secrets to success

To remove the existing contaminants and create the desired profile for staining, Life Deck used a large planetary grinder with a metal-bond diamond disc on the building's ground floor. For the less dense lightweight concrete on the second floor, a traditional floor sanding/buffing machine was used with sandpaper attached to clean and prep the surface.

After profiling, both floors where colored using a fast-drying, penetrating stain in a rich brown tone and then sealed with a water-based epoxy sealer. "We choose this type of sealer because of its environmentally friendly nature, ease of application and the low sheen it produces," says Felker.

The job took about two and a half weeks to complete, from start to finish. The restored floor not only gives the facility a consistent look, it will resist wear and tear and chemicals. Maintenance is also straightforward, simply requiring regular cleaning with a pH-neutral cleaner and the application of a coat of wax annually to extend the life of the finish.

"What I'm offering with applications like this are several solutions in one product or installation," says Felker. "Stained concrete is generally more cost-effective than traditional flooring and has a longer service life. The green aspects of reusing existing materials and environmentally friendly products manufactured by local companies add up on every level."

Materials used

Concrete stain: SC-36 stain in dark brown from Westcoat Specialty Coating Systems
Floor sealer: EC-11 epoxy from Westcoat

Staining Contractor

Larin Felker
Life Deck Coating Installations, San Diego


Jillion Augustine
Augustine Design Group, San Diego

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