As you have been looking around the web you may seen concrete stain floors that look like tile. This is accomplished by scoring the concrete with a 4″ grinder or a concrete saw. You can create amazing patterns with this simple process.
A word of caution: Handheld grinders can be very dangerous and sometimes they are easier to work with if you remove the safety guard that is usually provided, So Be Very Careful, Please!
If you are really serious about this you can even take intricate patterns and transfer them to transparencies or slides and use them with an overhead projector or slide machine to project onto the floor and trace the pattern with a soapstone and then score the patterns. The scoring in this case can be done with a hand held 4″ grinder or for more intricate patterns a common dremmel tool.
If you stain the floor after scoring and before sealing the score lines will be stained with the rest of the floor and will usually be a little darker than the floor stain color.
If the scoring is done after the staining is finished the grout lines will be the original color of the concrete. This will give you the appearance of looking more like tile without grouting.
You also have the option of scoring after the staining and then grouting the lines to give you more of an authentic look of tile. The grouting should be done after the first coat of sealer. Allow the grout to dry overnight and then apply the second coat of sealer. This of course should be followed by three coats of floor finish to act as a sacrificial lamb for the sealer.
It is best that the score line only be 1/8″ deep so as to make the floor much easier to clean. If you score the lines deeper than that it enables the grout lines to trap more dirt, animal hair etc.. If you feel you need to score the lines deeper then you may want to use a 100% solids epoxy as this will help fill in the grout lines and it will give the floor a much deeper look.
Equipment you will need:
- 2″ x 4″ wood board or a 2″x 2″ angle iron
- 4″ circular saw or a 4″ hand held grinder
- 4″ x 1/8″ or 1/4″ diamond tipped concrete blade
- Chalk box and chalk line – we recommend you use orange chalk as it does leave residual lines. DO NOT USE RED CHALK
SCORING BEFORE STAINING
1. After you have decided on the pattern that you wish to score into the floor, mark the design onto the floor using a chalk box (chalk line), being careful to only make cutting lines where actual cuts will be located. As noted above, DO NOT USE RED CHALK, as it is a permanent color and cannot be removed from the floor.
2. Using the 2″ x 4″ or other straight-edged object, cut the lines with the circular saw, making sure to cut straight lines. If you are using a circular saw be sure to place masking tape on the underside of the saw so it does not leave scratch marks on the concrete. If you using a hand held grinder use the 2″ x 2″ angle iron as a guide. Have you helper place their foot on the inside of the angle iron, flat side up towards the grinder, as run the diamond blade against the angle iron. This is the safest method we have found.
3. After the cutting is complete, remove the concrete dust by using a shop vac to clean up the dust. You can then mop the surface with a neutral cleaner and water. Do Not Use Soap as this may leave a film and inhibit the penetration of the stain. Allow the surface to dry completely.
Dust Muzzles, which are shrouds for the grinders are available in the clear plastic, they may be used for this application but we have found that it is very hard to see through them and get a straight cut. They hook up direct to a shop vac for dust control. You may want to give one a try. They only cost around $30.
4. Apply the concrete stain as recommended by the manufacturer.
SCORING AFTER STAINING
1. Apply the stain as recommended by the manufacturer..
2. Apply one coat of sealer as recommended by the manufacturer.
3. Mark your pattern as directed in Step No. 1 above.
4. Cut your pattern as directed in Step No. 2 above.
5. Clean your floor as listed in Step No. 3 above.
6. Apply another coat of sealer as recommended by the manufacturer.