“Hair by Charlie” – A commercial concrete acid stain project

This one started with a call from Steve. He wanted us to take a look at the floors of a hair salon that he was remodeling in Dallas. Commercial concrete acid stain projects are always stressful.

hair by charlie salon

It’s hard when you need to tightly coordinate with other subcontractors who aren’t worried about walking on your still wet floors. Then there’s the tight deadline, and to boot, the floors were in horrible shape. Ironically, that was the least of our worries, as the client wanted a “distressed” look for their floors.

chipped up concrete floor

We often get asked about staining floors that previously had tile on them. Our answer is always the same—you’ll still be able to see the tile pattern in the floor after we’re done. Whether it’s a commercial concrete floor or a residential project, it makes no difference, even if you grind the floor like we did in this project. The tile pattern—or what we call a tile “ghost image”—is readily apparent in the final acid stained floor.

same view of chipped up concrete floor after staining

Now, that doesn’t mean it looks bad, and it works very well with this salon’s theme; we just want to make sure that there are no surprises at the end of the project. 

If a client wants to eliminate this, we usually apply a microfinish overlay that will hide the “ghost image” and at the same time fill in small divots, holes, cracks, and patches. In this case, we didn’t go that way; we ground the floor, patched some of the really rough areas, and then applied the acid stain.

tile ghost image in front of receptionist desk

By grinding the floor, we are ripping off the top layer of the commercial concrete floor, exposing the stone, sand, and cement that make it up. When an acid stain hits a ground floor, it will definitely react and change its color; however, it tends to create a more uniform look throughout the floor with much less variegation and marbleizing than if the floor was not ground.

tile ghost image around barber chairs

Overall, everyone was very pleased with the final result of this commercial concrete floor. It has a striking, rustic appearance that works well with the rest of the decor. Now, understandably, this may not be for everyone. If you are looking for a more finished floor, then the way to go is the microfinish overlay that covers up many defects. It really just depends on your final expectations.

closeup of tile ghost image
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