When it comes to restoring the color of your decorative concrete surfaces, Antiquing is becoming more popular and could be the most effective and affordable solution for revitalizing and restoring its beauty.  Antiquing can provide a touch of elegance and is simplified so it can be done by the seasoned professional or the experienced DIY’ers.  Antiquing is a process that involves adding a modeled or variation in color to stamped concrete surfaces.  It provides color variations based on the application and intensity of the color you select.  

Surface Preparation

As with all color and sealer applications, it is mission critical to start with a clean surface.  Power washing alone will not provide the cleanliness desired for optimum finishing.  Remove all debris and clutter from your surface and do a thorough inspection of the surface.  It is important to identify areas that may be cracked or settled.  If you have many cracks, they should be addressed prior to moving forward.  Selected a Eco- Friendly Cleaner like Redi-Mix Colors Cleaner Degreaser 1100.  This product will not only clean the surface but also do a deep dive in the pores of the concrete and remove/extract any contaminants that may compromise your color and sealer applications.  Follow manufacturer instructions carefully and allow the surface to dry thoroughly before moving on to your next step.  A second cleaning may be required depending on how long it has been since the surface has been cleaned.  

Antiquing Application

The easiest Antiquing method is done using a powdered pigment-based product like RMC Tique.  RMC Tique comes in a variety of colors to enhance your decorative concrete surface.  You will need 2 – 5-gallon pails for mixing, clean water, and a long handled medium bristle bush (like one that would be used for cleaning a deck on a boat.  Each 5-gallon bucket should be filled with 2 gallons of water to start.  Per the manufacturer’s instructions, add the recommended amount of RMC Tique Powder to first 5-gallon pail of water and mix with medium bristle brush.  Remove brush from bucket and apply to your surface using back and forth along with circular motions.  Continue to repeat this process over the entirety of your surface.  Utilize the second pail when the first pail gets toward the bottom so you can stay in motion and complete the entire application.  Once the surface is dry you will see where the RMC Tique has settled into grooves and patterns in your surface, and you can apply more if you desire darker accents.  Once the surface is completely dry, use of a backpack blower to remove excess dust is helpful, otherwise light sweeping is acceptable. 

Sealing – Choose the right Sealer

The first step in sealing Decorative Concrete is selecting the right sealer.  The two main types of sealers are topical and penetrating.  Topical sealers are preferred for Decorative Concrete as they provide a shield on the surface to enhance and protect the color(s).  A penetrating sealer will dive deep into the concrete and provide some resistance to stains but will not provide protection for the colors(s).  The best selections is a topical, acrylic, Cure & Seal for newly placed Decorative Concrete and a higher content solids, acrylic, sealer for older decorative concrete. Ghostshield Cryli-Tek 5505 is an excellent option. 

Sealer Application Hints

Take extra precautions in the drying time after washing and before sealing.  Not allowing the concrete to dry will result in hazing, bubbling and the overall performance of the sealer will not meet expectations.  Also be very mindful of concrete surface temperatures.  Concrete, no matter the age, is always gassing off after exposure to sun and heat.  It is always best to seal early in the morning, before the surface temperature is on the rise, or in the latter part of the day once the concrete surface temperature has gone through its cool down, gassing off, period. 

Long Term Maintenance

To keep your Decorative Concrete surface beautified and free of stains and appearance issues, consistent washing and cleaning is a must.  Do not use heavy bodied chemicals and or detergents.  Eco-Friendly Cleaners are available and won’t take away from the life of the surface like detergents will.  Depending on traffic, cleaning methods and sun exposure, it is best to reseal every 2-3 years.