Sacramento / Rancho Cordova

(916) 361-1300
FAX (916) 361-1381


(916) 660-0140
FAX (916) 660-0142


(530) 961-9999
FAX(530) 961-9995


Home / FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Does Sack Content Or 5-sack Mean?

Sack content/mix is specified when ordering concrete, the amount of 94 lb sacks of cement in a cubic yard of concrete. Concrete is typically referred to as a 5-sack mix (or 5-1/2-sack, 6-sack etc.).

2. How Do You Stamp Concrete?

We recommend that you leave the stamping of concrete to an experienced and licensed contractor.

3. What Are The Advantages Of Dust On Colors And In The Mix Colors?

Dust on color, also known as color hardener, offers several advantages over integral color. While some contractors use integral color because it is easy to use and makes little mess, the colors are limited. Using color hardener produces a stronger, brighter, more durable and uniform concrete surface compared to integral color. At Spec-West we have over forty colors of color hardener in stock.

4. What Is Color Hardener?

Color hardener is used to add a dense layer of vibrant color into the surface of freshly placed concrete. The use of color hardener forms a long lasting color that can be more uniform, repeatable and is more abrasion and impact resistant than integral color.

5. What Is Release Powder?

Release powder is a dry pigmented powder that allows the clean release of stamping tools, while at the same time creates a highlighting color (also known as an antiquing effect).

6. Who Should I Hire, What Type Of Contractor Should I Hire?

That depends on the scope of work you want to have done. You can check out for a list of contractors in your area.

7. I Have A Low Spot In My Slab Where Water Collects, How Can I Remedy This Problem?

Please contact Spec-West for expert advice.

8. Will Sealing My Stamped Concrete Change The Look Or Color Of My Concrete?

This depends on the type of sealer that you choose.

9. I Have Colored Concrete And It Has Faded From The Original Color We Picked, Can I Match The Old Color And Fix My Fading Slab?

Please contact Spec-West for expert advice.

10. Do I Need To Apply A Regular Sealer After Thirty Days Of Applying My Cure And Seal?

Do you want more shine or more protection? If yes, a regular sealer can be applied after the concrete has cured. Be sure to use a water based sealer if a water based cure was used; and a solvent based sealer if a solvent based cure was used.

11. What Steps Do I Need To Take Before Sealing? How Do I Apply The Sealer?

Newly poured concrete must have a minimum of 15 days curing time, although 28 days time is recommended. If low ambient temperatures occur after the pour, allow for the full recommended curing time.

Before sealing use Spec-Clean to clean the concrete of any dust, dirt, contaminants or other debris and allow enough time for concrete to become moisture-free after cleaning (a pressure washer can also be a useful tool). Usually, 24 hours is sufficient drying time unless temperatures are low and/or the humidity is high.

When sealing, make certain that the surface temperature does not exceed 85 degrees, or the ambient temperature does not drop below 45 degrees at any time during the curing of the sealer. Cooler temperatures will extend both the dry and curing times of the sealers.

During days when surface temperature will exceed 90 degrees, it is best to begin sealing in the late afternoon or evening when the surface temperature has cooled. Do not apply in direct sunlight if the ambient temperature exceeds 90 degrees.

Do not apply any sealant when weather conditions are wet, or the surface to be sealed is not completely dry. Do not expose sealer to any water for at least 24 hours after application. Be aware of the environmental conditions and other man-made conditions, such as lawn sprinklers.

If using a roller to apply sealer, use a or 3/8 nap roller for flat concrete, or a nap roller for stamped concrete. Apply sealant evenly in two light coats. Do not re-roll over a previously rolled area until area is completely dry, and make sure to only roll in one direction.

If using a sprayer to seal concrete, apply evenly avoiding any puddles. If puddles do occur, back roll or back brush immediately and allow ample drying time before spraying a second coat.

12. Why Seal My Concrete? If I Dont Seal Colored Concrete How Long Will The Color Last? How Often Do I Have To Reapply The Sealer?

Concrete is a durable porous material which can absorb water, stains, and oil-based materials that it comes in contact with. By treating the concrete with a sealer, you can minimize the penetration of these intruders while allowing the surface to breathe, so moisture within the concrete doesn't become trapped.

Color longevity depends on the way the concrete was colored. If an integral color was used you could notice substantial fading in a short period of time. If a color hardener was used the color will still change but over a much longer time period. Applying a sealer will inhibit the fading of colored concrete while making the surface easier to clean. Cleaning and sealing decorative colored concrete should be done on a regular basis just like any other home maintenance.

The frequency of resealing will depend on how high a traffic area to cars, foot traffic, water, sun exposure and any chemicals the concrete is exposed to. If the surface begins to dull or lose its sheen after time, recoating with sealer will usually restore the luster. You made a substantial investment in your concrete therefore, we recommend protecting it by sealing your decorative concrete with our Spec-West line of decorative concrete sealers.

13. Can I Just Apply One Thick Coat Of Sealer For Better Protection?

For the initial application of sealer we recommend two thin coats. If you have a previously sealed surface one thin coat is usually sufficient.

14. Why Did My Sealer Turn White? (A Common Question, But, It Could Be Due To A Few Different Causes. Is It Chalky? Is It Milky?)

Please contact Spec-West for expert advice.

15. Is There A Sealer Made That Is Not Slippery?

Although all sealers can make concrete slick adding Spec-Grip to the sealer can help minimize this.

16. What Are My Options For Coloring Existing Gray Concrete?

There are generally two different types of stain for existing concrete: Water based stain and acid chemical stain. There are several brands and a wide variety of colors available.

17. What Types Of Concrete Stain Are Available?

There are basically two types of stain available, reactive and nonreactive. The reactive (also called acid stain) consists of an acid and water solution mixed with metallic salts that react with the lime in the concrete. This chemical reaction forms a bond with the top layer of the concrete creating the color of your choosing. Acid stained concrete has a marbled translucent finish that some call an old world effect. Since the color comes from a chemical reaction and there is a finite amount of chemicals you are limited to about eight colors per manufacture.

There are a few types of nonreactive stain on the market today, all of which consist of water, pigment and some kind of binder like an acrylic or polymer. Water based stains can mimic an acid stain effect, or be opaque to completely change the color of your concrete. Color choices range from bright to subdued colors or opalescent, even metallics. With layering techniques the color pallet is nearly unlimited, it is easy to see why water based stains have been gaining in popularity.

18. Can I Get Concrete Colors To Match My Existing Tile, Concrete, Pavers, Etc

Between stains for existing concrete and colors for a new pour we have over 200 colors to choose from. It wont be a perfect match but you could get close.

19. Can I Stain My Concrete Myself Or Should I Hire A Professional?

Although there have been several DIY success stories there have also been a great number of nightmares. To answer your question you must first ask yourself this: Am I willing to spend hours preparing the substrate properly? Am I willing to do several test samples to make sure that I like the end results? If you answer no to one or both questions then you might want to hire a professional.

20. Can I Use A Water Base Sealer Over The Top Of A Solvent Base Sealer Or Visa Versa?

It is not recommended.

21. I Have This White Chalky Power On My Concrete How Can I Get It Off?

Contact Spec-West for expert advice.

22. How Do You Stain Concrete?

Contact Spec-West for expert advice.

23. Do You Offer Videos Or Books For Decorative Concrete Applications?

Yes. We have several books and videos to choose from.

© 2009-2020 Spec-West Concrete Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.