February 15, 2018 – Welcome to my new website! I hope this newly revamped website can answer all your questions about the art of acid stained concrete, and in particular, what our company, Faux Real LLC can do for YOUR floors.
Stained concrete has been around for many years in some form. Frank Lloyd Wright is said to have stained the floors of some of his houses with coffee (which is mildly acidic) before sealing them. Commercial acid stains in eight or nine colors have been available for about 75 years. When I began my staining adventures in 1994, however, there were no books published about staining and no decent videos. (DVD’s were not yet invented).
In 1996 I ordered an 8-minute video from a stain manufacturer and was shocked at how bad it was. The voice-over said to mask the surrounding walls, but they showed a worker scrubbing stain into a floor and splattering it on the bare walls. The narration said to wear a mask, but the worker in the video wore none. My first thought was “Gee, even I can do better than that!”
I hired a local videographer who told me how to write the script and stressed that the filming would only be affordable if shooting was pared down to two days. I wrote a twenty-minute video in which we shot each step in the process as we did it at a client’s residence. That house had multiple rooms, so we could prep each room up to a different stage. We managed to film all the process shots in one day. On the second day we shot the introduction and conclusion at my friend Barbara’s house, which we had stained the year before and which she had decorated to enhance our floors. I gave the video the unoriginal title of “How to Stain Concrete Floors,” and made about ten copies to give to builders.
In the 1990’s Albuquerque experienced a radical building boom and was called “the golden buckle on the retirement belt.” People streamed into New Mexico to work at the Intel chip plant, at Sandia Labs, or to retire to a better climate. Having been a starving artist for 26 years, I had no thought of actually making money with my video. My goal was to save time and energy, since every builder who called kept asking the same questions. Here was a way to inform builders and possibly a few DIYers of everything involved in floor preparation and staining, plus how to avoid some of the problems which we had so far run into.
However, when my brother Lanny, a business management consultant, saw the video he suggested that I try selling it online. He lived nearby and was vastly more computer-savvy than I, so he became my publisher with a new-fangled system of online sales called “Pay-per-click.” We were stunned by the volume of searches and responses we got from around the world. It made sense, however, as staining was just then becoming a low-cost alternative to tile and carpet, and all the new houses going up here were built on a concrete slab which called out for enhancement.
Lanny rushed into the information vacuum and wrote online paeans to my work, which made me blush. He also became quite a taskmaster and insisted that the next step would be for me to compose an illustrated stainer’s manual, which he could print on waterproof paper in a looseleaf binder so that anyone could reference it at the jobsite. I moaned and groaned a bit, as he assigned me more and more writing jobs while I was trying to run a company with 6 workers and keep up with all the new bids.
I always enjoyed writing, once I got started, so an Advanced DVD and manual followed the standard manual for stainers, and to keep my buyers up-to-date I wrote Newsletters and later something called a Blog. During the recession, which hit Albuquerque in 2007, the stampede for information abated and by that time stainers in all parts of the country were making their own how-to film clips and posting them for free on YouTube. Lanny got involved in other projects and turned the order fulfillment over to me. I closed my online store last year and now sell my educational products through Amazon.com.
On this new website we are posting our earlier newsletters under the heading “Published Articles” as well as a series of twelve articles I wrote in 2015 and 2016 for Concrete Décor Magazine, which in my opinion is the best and most colorful magazine in the decorative concrete field.
I will be posting my earlier blogs online monthly, and writing new ones as new discoveries occur in my field. That field is a narrow one in the staining world, since I don’t pour wet concrete, cast countertops, or apply thin overlayments. I am a fan of REAL acid staining on a nicely cured REAL concrete slab. The idea of grinding and polishing the same slab seven times with a heavy machine and expensive diamond pads (to expose the little stones in the matrix) strikes me as the most tedious and boring job imaginable. All the things I don’t do you can read about in the online archives of Concrete Décor or Concrete Construction Magazines.
What intrigues me is the intersection of acid staining with all the skills that I learned as a fine artist studying batik, print-making, collage and oil painting. I want to treat the concrete slab as a canvas on which to create the most exquisite faux–natural effects possible. It is custom work for discriminating clients and a challenge that still attracts me and my assistants.