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Stamped Concrete Repair and Restoration

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Stamped concrete requires routine maintenance, the frequency of which depends upon weather conditions, type and amount of traffic to which it is exposed, and if it has been properly and regularly maintained since installation.  If stamped concrete looks dull, faded, or is chipped, it’s time for some maintenance!  The process and expense to repair and restore it, however, depends on how the color of the stamped concrete was incorporated into the original concrete pour.

If the color pigment was integrally mixed into the concrete at the time of the pour, stamped concrete can be brought back to life by simply cleaning and sealing the surface.  On the other hand, if the color was applied and troweled into the top layer using a color hardener and the color is chipping off, the fix is a more involved process.

How do you tell if your stamped concrete was colored “integrally” or a color hardener was used?  Apply water to the surface of the stamped concrete – if it comes back to life and looks like it did when you had it installed, most likely it is integrally colored stamped concrete.  If you see chips in the surface where the color has worn off, it probably was colored with a color hardener at the time of the pour.

Once your stamped concrete is restored and looks like it did when it was brand new, the simplest way to maintain it and to keep it looking great is to properly clean and seal it at the first sign of sealer deterioration.  And, in the process, you will add to the life of your concrete!

Stamped concrete repair and restoration is one of the services Shades of Color provides.  Please give us a call at 303-840-0143 for a free estimate.

Stamped Concrete Restoration

 

Stamped Concrete Restoration

 

Paint Recycling and PaintCare, Inc.

Monday, January 30th, 2017

Until recently, the only resource available to homeowners for getting rid of leftover paint was to wait for the periodic government sponsored neighborhood hazardous waste “round-ups”.  Now Coloradoans have access to year around paint drop off locations where old and leftover paints can be recycled or disposed of at no charge to the consumer.

PaintCare, Inc. is a non-profit organization established by the American Coatings Association whose goals are to decrease paint waste and recycle leftover paint by setting up convenient drop-off sites for consumers in each state. Currently, PaintCare has programs in eight states, including Colorado, and the District of Columbia.  For drop-off locations, go to www.paintcare.org/drop-off-locations and enter your zip code.

The program is funded through fees applied to the purchase price of architectural paint.  The fee is added to the wholesale and retail purchase price of paint and is then paid to PaintCare by paint manufacturers.  State law requires retailers to pass the fee on to consumers.  The fees range from $0.00 to $1.60, depending on the size of the container, and sales tax is charged and collected on the fee.  Most retail stores in PaintCare states show the fee on their receipts so that consumers are informed about the PaintCare program.

Products accepted at PaintCare drop-off sites are:

  • Interior and exterior architectural paints – latex, acrylic, water-based, alkyd, oil-based, enamel (including textured coatings)
  • Deck coatings and floor paints (including elastomeric)
  • Primers, sealers, and undercoaters
  • Stains
  • Shellacs, lacquers, varnishes, urethanes (single component)
  • Waterproofing concrete/masonry/wood sealers and repellents (not tar or bitumen-based)
  • Metal coatings and rust preventatives
  • Field and lawn paints

 

PaintCare facilities will not accept aerosol products, industrial maintenance or specialty coatings, nor will they accept paint thinners/solvents, art and crafts paints, caulking, roof patch and repair, etc.

For more information about PaintCare, Inc. and the paint stewardship program, please visit its website at www.paintcare.org.

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Simple Steps for Winter Concrete Care

Friday, October 28th, 2016

Water and freeze/thaw cycles contribute more to the deterioration of your concrete than anything else … and, not surprisingly, most concrete damage happens during the winter!  By following some simple maintenance tips, you will significantly help your concrete weather the winter and add to its longevity.

  • Cleaning your concrete is the best and simplest task you can do to keep it looking its best.  Keep it free of dirt and debris by occasionally broom sweeping and using a leaf blower.  Periodically throughout the winter on warmer days, thoroughly hose off the residual materials (mag chloride, road de-icers, dirt and grime) brought into your garage and onto your driveway from your vehicles.
  • Immediately remove all snow and ice … and, if possible, pile it away from the edges of your concrete.  The less your concrete is in contact with water during the winter, the less it will be subjected to freeze/thaw cycles.
  • Use a snow shovel with rubber protected edges or a plastic blade or round off the shovel’s sharp corners to protect your decorative concrete from being gouged when shoveling snow.
  • Avoid using any de-icing chemicals that contain ammonium nitrates and ammonium sulfates, which aggressively attack and deteriorate concrete.  Sand or kitty litter is an environmentally friendly alternative to provide traction on icy surfaces.
  • Remove spills and stains from your concrete as soon as possible.  Most stains can be cleaned with a dish washing soap or Simple Green and a nylon bristle brush.  For tougher stains, use a cleaning product specifically designed for the stain and for use on concrete.
  • Repair cracks … concrete will crack – count on it!  When it does, repairing the crack is critical to maintaining the integrity of your slab since cracks are a point of entry for moisture.  A simple treatment for crack repair is to fill them with elastomeric or polyurethane caulking.

 

We also recommend applying a concrete sealer every other year.  Although a sealer doesn’t eliminate the need to maintain your concrete, it does add another layer of protection and can add years to the life of your concrete.

Let’s Get Real About Concrete

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Concrete is an amazing product that has been around for centuries and one that we would be hard-pressed to live without.  As common as concrete is in our world, what it can do, what it does, and what it should do is often misunderstood.  When you are considering a decorative or protective finish for your concrete, it’s important that you have realistic expectations of what your concrete is and what it and subsequent treatments can do.

Concrete is one of the most durable and long lasting products around your home when installed properly.  Durable, high strength, and crack resistant concrete does not happen by accident.  There are important steps concrete contractors should following during installation to ensure that concrete will look good and hold up for many years – appropriate site work, proper grading and installation of perimeter drains systems, installation of an appropriate subbase, soil composition and compaction uniformity, and installation of a vapor barrier.

Installing concrete is a challenging job and every concrete placement is different.  Concrete’s performance characteristics over the long-term are largely related to the quality of workmanship and materials that go into it. Concrete forms must be properly set which allows for proper slope or grade for drainage.  Concrete delivery may not seem to be an important concern, but it should be.  Did the delivery truck arrive on time and was there proper spacing between multiple delivery trucks?  Concrete materials and admixtures contribute to the characteristics of the concrete that arrives at the job site.  Proper troweling creates a smooth, hard, and uniform finish across the concrete surface.  Over-troweling and troweling too soon can create a weak surface.  Control joints must be properly installed and the depth of control joints is critical.

Other factors play into concrete’s end result and longevity:

  • Did the contractor add cure and seal to the concrete when it was poured?
  • Was the concrete poured when it was really cold … or really hot?
  • Has the concrete been properly maintained?
  • Have the prior property owners added or applied products to the surface?  If so, what are they?
  • Has the concrete been exposed to any contaminants?
  • Is there excessive moisture in, around, or under the concrete slab?

 

Do you know if all the appropriate construction basics were followed when your concrete slabs were installed?

Have you properly maintained your concrete including damage and crack repair?

Can you provide the details of all possible contaminants, glues, stains, etc. to which your slabs were exposed?

Probably not ….

Your concrete isn’t going to last forever.  And if you ignore spalling, excessive cracking, and other damage, you will significantly accelerate the failure of your slab which will ultimately lead to complete tear out and replacement.  The good news is Shades of Color installs protective and decorative coatings to concrete surfaces that can add years to the life of concrete.  You don’t have to tear it out – you can protect it, seal it, and add a decorative or protective finish to it.

Stamped Concrete Restoration

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

If your stamped concrete looks dull, faded, or is chipped, it can be restored to its original beauty.  The process and expense to restore it, however, depends on how the color of your stamped concrete was incorporated into the original concrete pour.

Stamped concrete can be brought back to life by simply cleaning and sealing the surface if the color pigment was integrally mixed into the concrete at the time of the pour.  On the other hand, if the color was applied and troweled into the top layer using a color hardener and the color is chipping off, the fix is a more involved process.

How do you tell if your stamped concrete was colored “integrally” or a color hardener was used?  Apply water to the surface of the stamped concrete – if it comes back to life and looks like it did when you had it installed, most likely it is integrally colored stamped concrete.  If you see chips in the surface where the color has worn off, it probably was colored with a color hardener at the time of the pour.

Once your stamped concrete is restored and looks like it did when it was brand new, the simplest way to maintain it and to keep it looking great is to properly clean and seal it at the first sign of sealer deterioration.  And, in the process, you’ll add to the life of your concrete!

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Damaged Stamped Concrete

 

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Restored Stamped Concrete

 

 

Decorative Concrete Stains and Overlays

Friday, May 27th, 2016

If you’re looking for a great option that adds a layer of protection to your concrete and dresses it up at the same time, consider concrete stains.  A concrete stain bonds to the concrete and forms a tough shield so it doesn’t fade, peel, or flake.  A bonus of solid concrete stains is that they can make ugly concrete look brand new by covering existing stains, discolorations, blotchy concrete, etc. and leaving a natural-looking finish.  In addition, concrete stains:

  • can be used on new or used concrete.
  • are resistant to acids, UV rays, oil, gas, and alkali.
  • provide a mildew resistant coating.
  • can be used on interior and exterior concrete.
  • are available in a variety of ready-to-use and tinatable colors.

 

If you’re having problems with your concrete, such as spalling, pitting, flaking or cracking, don’t ignore it … it will only get worse.  Instead, consider a decorative concrete overlay as a solution.  What if your concrete is just plain ugly and you want to freshen your home’s appearance?  A decorative overlay will renew the concrete surfaces around your home and, with proper installation and maintenance, will last for many years.  Concrete overlays:

  • are cheaper than removal and replacement of your existing concrete.
  • can be applied to both interior and exterior concrete slabs.
  • adhere to existing concrete providing protection from damage to the surface of your concrete slab.
  • can be applied in many textures, colors, and patterns.

 

Concrete Sealers

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Another option to consider for taking care of and maintaining your concrete is a concrete sealer. All concrete surfaces can and should be sealed. There are a wide variety of clear and colored sealers available on the market today, and they all have a specific purpose and suitability depending on the conditions, expectations, and exposure of the finished surface. The benefits to sealing your concrete are many:

  • Sealers protect concrete from spills and all kinds of stains.
  • Sealers reduce spalling, flaking, and cracking.
  • Sealers prevent moisture from penetrating the slab.
  • Sealed concrete is easier to clean and maintain!

 

A word of warning, however, SEALED CONCRETE IS SLIPPERY CONCRETE WHEN WET, so putting a traction additive in the final seal coat is highly recommended.

Not all sealers are the same and you will need to spend some time thinking about what performance and appearance features are most important to you.

  • Acrylic sealers are easy to apply, economical, UV resistant, and non-yellowing. They offer good protection against water and chloride intrusion, and are appropriate for both interior and exterior concrete surfaces. They form a thin protective film on the concrete’s surface, giving the end result a “wet” look (sheen). Acrylics are fast drying and you can generally expect the finish to last one to three years depending on weather and traffic exposure. Solvent-based sealers are extremely flammable and their fumes are potentially hazardous to breathe, while water-based sealers are safer and a good choice for indoor applications where there is little or no ventilation. Consider acrylic sealers for stamped concrete, concrete overlays, and decorative concrete in general.
  • Penetrating sealers are an excellent choice for concrete surfaces subjected to corrosion and freeze-thaw cycles where a natural matte finish is desired. They will not enhance or change the color of your concrete like acrylic sealers do, and this finish does not change the existing texture so typically it’s slip resistant. This finish can last ten years or longer. Consider penetrating sealers for raw, textured concrete driveways, walks, porches, patios, and pool decks.
  • Polyurethane sealers are two times as thick as acrylic sealers and produce a durable, chemical and abrasion resistant finish for interior use. Because of their strong resistance to stains and scuffs, polyurethane sealers are a great choice for high traffic areas. They come in a range of sheens, and the finish is transparent and non-yellowing.
  • Epoxies are high build protective finishes and provide a hard, long-wearing, abrasion resistant finish for interior use. Most epoxies are two component products which are mixed together prior to application. They are available in a clear finish and color pigment can be added as well. The end result is glossy and epoxy sealers may yellow over time. Consider epoxies for high traffic areas or those exposed to chemicals.

 

Basic Concrete Care & Maintenance

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

You might be asking yourself, “Why do I need to add yet another maintenance chore at my house? After all, isn’t concrete maintenance free?”  We hear you … and there is some truth to “maintenance free” concrete, but just a sliver.  In reality, there is nothing around your home that truly is maintenance free … nothing.

Concrete is a pretty amazing product when you stop to think about what it is expected to do.  And it’s continually subjected to liquids leaking from vehicles, tire marks, pet damage, snow melt chemicals and salts, UV rays, de-icers, dirt, grime, snow, rain, sleet, freeze-thaw weather cycles, hail, tire chains, kids’ toys, damage from garden tools and equipment, not to mention that it sits on a chunk of earth that is constantly moving and exposed to water.

The good news is taking care of your concrete can be as simple as cleaning it and repairing cracks.

  • Keep the surface free of dirt and debris by periodically broom sweeping, using a leaf blower, or rinsing the surface with water from a garden hose.
  • Immediately attend to stains by applying a cleaner or degreaser and power washing.
  • In the winter, immediately remove all snow and ice, and pile it away from the edges of your concrete. For traction, use sand or cat litter – salts or chemicals can damage the concrete’s surface.
  • Periodically throughout the winter on warmer days, thoroughly hose off the residual materials (mag chloride, road de-icers, dirt and grime) brought into your garage and onto your driveway from your vehicles.
  • Fill cracks with an elastomeric or polyurethane caulking.

FAQs about Exterior Painting

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Spring is fast approaching and handling home maintenance tasks is probably one of the last things you want to do with warmer weather just around the corner.  Regularly scheduled maintenance truly is a “must do” and absolutely will add to a home’s beauty and longevity.  Now is the time to walk around your home and take a look at winter’s damage.

How do you determine if it’s time for a repaint?

  • Painted surfaces are faded, chalking, or discolored.
  • There are cracks and/or peeling paint on your painted surfaces.  Worse yet, there’s raw wood showing through.  Pay particular attention to horizontal surfaces where ice and snow lie.
  • Your caulking has deteriorated, or there are cracks, holes, or gaps in the caulking at joints (jambs, windows, etc.)
  • Your garage doors show signs of wear and tear, and the door edges are worn or peeling.
  • Does your front door embarrass you?  Enough said … it’s time to return it to “Wow!” status.

 

Picking colors – where do you start?

  • Choose a color scheme that blends with the homes in your neighborhood and is also compatible with your next door neighbors’ houses.
  • Take into account the colors in other elements of your home, like your roofing materials, brick, stone facade, etc.  The flecks of color that go into making their dominant color are excellent candidates for siding and trim color choices.
  • White or light colors make a house appear larger and reflect the sun’s light and heat.
  • Dark colors can make a home look smaller, and the sun’s UV rays will fade them quicker … which means you’ll be repainting sooner!
  • Visit your local paint store and home improvement centers to check out their exterior paint color schemes which incorporate the latest in color trends and design.

 

And you can always ask your painting contractor’s opinion – we’re here to help you pick colors, too.  You can bet we’ve seen every imaginable color combination there is, and we’re as vested as you are in making your home look beautiful!

 

How do you go about getting a bid and scheduling the work?

Getting a bid from us is easy – call us at 303-840-0143, email us at shadesofcolor@msn.com, or select the “Contact” tab on our website and complete the requested information.

Given Colorado’s semi-arid climate, painters can paint exteriors year around as long as outside temperatures don’t dip below the mid-40’s in the daytime and through the night.  If it’s time for a repaint and you would like it completed before your landscaping begins its spring growth spurt, the time to get a painting bid is NOW!  If you’re not in a hurry and can wait until mid to late summer or fall, get in touch with us any time to schedule a painting bid – we can get your repaint scheduled almost any time before winter officially begins.

Happy Spring!

What are VOCs and what are they doing in my paint?

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are the solvents that are released into the air as paint dries. Exposure to VOCs in paint can cause symptoms such as headaches, nausea, fatigue, and dizziness, and the Environmental Protection Agency suspects some VOCs may be carcinogens. Long-term exposure to VOCs can lead to serious health problems such as liver and kidney damage. So why then are VOCs in paint? Solvents are required to spread the protective and decorative properties of paint and protective coatings. And paints that contain VOCs have the qualities we want in a protective coating, such as colorfastness and durability.

A typical can of flat interior latex paint contains about 150 grams of VOCs per liter compared to 50 grams per liter or less for a flat, low-VOC paint. When colorant is added at the point of sale, the VOCs from the pigment can add up to 100 grams per liter. Regulation of the acceptable amount of VOCs in paint varies at all levels:  the federal government caps VOC content to 250 grams per liter for flat paint, while the South Coast Air Quality Management District in Orange County, CA has set its standard at 50 grams per liter. Other states and regions in the country have established their standards somewhere in between. There is no industry wide definition of what “green” paints are and there isn’t national agreement as to a standard maximum VOC content.

What does this mean for the homeowner?

  • Carefully check the paint can label – the VOC content should be on the label. If not, check the manufacturer’s website for product specifications and other pertinent information.
  • Remember, adding colorant will add to the VOC content.
  • Paint labeled “No Odor” does not mean no VOCs – again, check the product specifications for VOC content.
  • When painting in a confined interior area, keep windows open and use an exhaust fan to keep fresh air circulating throughout.
  • Wear the personal protective equipment (PPE) recommended by the manufacturer on the Material Safety Data Sheet.
  • Ventilate the freshly painted area for two to three days.
  • VOC exposure is not as big a concern when painting outdoors because paint vapors dissipate quickly when painting in an open air environment.

 

Taking proactive steps to keep your exposure to paint fumes to a minimum goes a long way towards averting potential short and long-term health problems.

 

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