Acid Etched Concrete Stain is used throughout our home:
Our floors are a 6 inch solid concrete slab with embedded radiant heating tubes. Since radiant heat is most effective (and efficient) when the insulating floor covering are minimized, we decided to eliminate them all together. To turn the bare gray concrete into a personalized art-form, we decided to use an Acid Staining technique to add an organic coloration to the concrete.
Acid-etch is becoming a common do-it-yourself concrete floor finishing technique, but the standard method to add a "tile-look" is to score the tile design into the concrete with a rock saw. Since we were planning on finishing at least 2000 sq ft of floor, the thought of scoring all those lines was overwhelming, plus the reality of all these 1/8" grooves collecting dirt and grime for the next 10 years was a deterrent. I researched for alternatives, but found none. So I invented my own.
Instead of scoring, I decided that masking the grout lines with 1/4" tape before applying the acid etch would be a LOT fasted and cleaner than all that scoring. After hunting high and low for 1/4" tape, with no luck, I built a small jig that let me strip 1" tape down to 1/4" in mass amounts. By the time we were 3/4 through the project we located a great source for 1/4" tape that did a great job and saved lots of time.
We used Kemiko brand of Acid Stain. During our project, we experimented with various colors and concentrations until we had developed what we considered the most effective and expedient approach. Here's a short chronology of our room projects. Click on any of the images to get a closer look.
After the first few rooms, we weren't content with basic square tiles. We started playing with big and small tile layouts, and all sorts of combinations. The really fun thing about this faux tile approach is that you can "Tweak" the tile dimensions to ensure no partial tiles at any walls, no matter what the design. It does take a bit of geometry and some fancy measuring, but you can even take care of walls that aren't square. If you spread the error over many tiles, you never notice it.
After experimenting with tile patterns, Lisa tried her hand at adding accents to the tiles. This is done after the etching process, but before the floor is sealed. We found one particular metallic-gold ink that looked great against the darker stain colors.
For the final room we really went to town with the design. After about a hour with a spreadsheet trying to figure the lengths to give full tiles, we spent a few hours laying out a three part design. Our idea was to simulate an area rug in the middle of the living room. We combined tile groups at 45 Degrees to each other with a triple band separating them. We used this band for a stenciled animal print design in gold.
Here are some finished rooms. Click on the image to see the floor details.
This site is all about building a cool, energy efficient house, that makes maximum use of earth sheltered design, passive solar heating and cooling, geothermal exchange energy management, and right sizing of the house for it's designated use. The home's placement is on a south-facing hillside in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. This site describes the design process, the technologies used and the expected results. We also have a comprehensive Links Page for anyone who is also interested in designing a similar project.