How to Use the Refinish and Restore Concrete Care Kit
THOROUGHLY read these instructions to fully prepare for this process and to achieve best results. These instructions apply to most decorative concrete projects made with integral pigment including countertops, fireplace surrounds, furniture, wall panels, and tiles.
STEP 1: Removing CHENG Sealer or most acrylic sealers
Product needed:CHENG Sealer Remover
If you have CHENG Wax on your surface, please see instructions below for removal*.
Evenly apply CHENG Sealer Remover over the entire concrete surface and allow 15 minutes to activate. Using a plastic scraper or brush, remove the residue created by the Sealer Remover.
CHENG Sealer Remover only works for concrete surfaces originally sealed with acrylic sealers. It will not remove any other type of sealer (epoxy, thermal plastic, resin based, etc.); check for manufacturer’s recommendation on how to remove sealers that are not acrylic based.
*BEFORE REMOVING SEALER: Removing CHENG Wax (if applicable). You’ll need Mineral Spirits, available at most hardware stores. If you are removing CHENG Wax, apply Mineral Spirits with a rag and work into the surface until the wax is fully removed. Thoroughly rinse the concrete surface and then proceed with CHENG Sealer Remover.
STEP 2: Neutralizing the Sealer Remover
Product needed:CHENG Surface Prep
Pour CHENG Surface Prep onto concrete and thoroughly wash the surface with a soft bristle brush, sponge or rag. Rinse with clean water. Repeat if necessary.
STEP 3: Polishing / Sanding, Part 1
Product needed:Hand-Held Polishing Pads (150-1000 grits)
This step requires “wet” polishing using Diamond Hand-Held Polishing Pads. This step will help to remove or minimize stains and minor imperfections in the surface. You will need to protect your walls, floors, and cabinetry from water by taping them off with plastic or a tarp. Start conservatively in a small, inconspicuous area using the 1000-grit. If the imperfection is not minimized with the 1000-grit, continue polishing with the 500-grit, a much coarser polishing pad.
You may want to use grits coarser than the 500-grit until you achieve the finish you desire. Be warned, polishing down with coarser grits will begin to reveal the aggregates in the concrete. The lower the grit, the more aggregate you will expose. The amount of aggregate you expose is determined by the type of concrete mix that was used to make your countertop.
Once you’ve reached your desired finish, you’ll want to refine your surface (create a “smooth” texture) by using the next finer grit, working your way back up to the 500-grit polishing pad.
STEP 4: Slurrying
Product needed: CHENG Concrete Acrylic Slurry
This step is for filling voids or pinholes that appear after polishing. It will also address minor etching caused by acidic matter left on the original surface.
The slurry is blended to closely match colors of the CHENG Pro-Formula Product Line and CHENG Smart Color. Minor color variations will occur. Please refer to the instructions for CHENG Concrete Acrylic Slurry. If your concrete surface was not made with the CHENG Pro-Formula line, you can select a color that best matches your surface.
STEP 5: Polishing / Sanding, Part 2
Product needed: Diamond Hand-Held Polishing Pads (500-grit + 1000-grit)
After the slurry has cured, resume polishing with the 400-grit to remove any residual slurry from the surface. Once the residual slurry has been removed, you can move to the 800-grit to complete the polishing process.
STEP 6: Sealing
Product needed:CHENG Concrete Sealer
This is the ideal time to seal the concrete—you can view the how-to video in the Video tab. You will achieve an even better seal by doing multiple applications of the 75% diluted solution every 20-30 minutes. If you do this you will not need to go on to the 100% sealer. We recommend up to 6 applications of 75% sealer/water.
Note: If needed, use a 0000# steel wool pad to lightly buff out streaking in the sealer finish after 24 hours of application.
Applying CHENG Concrete Sealer
There are many methods being used to apply the CHENG Concrete Sealer. The following method is used in our shop to consistently produce excellent results, while being relatively easy to master. We recommend practicing on a sample piece of concrete before attempting to seal an entire concrete project.
- Work in an area with relatively still air. Breezy or drafty environments can cause the sealer to prematurely dry, creating unwanted steaks.
- Do not attempt to seal under radiant heat or sunlight. Any source of radiant heat will cause the sealer to prematurely dry, creating unwanted streaks.
Supplies you'll need:
- 2 clean jersey rags. We prefer using recycled tee shirts.
- Protective clothing and rubber gloves.
- A bucket or bowl that will hold roughly 1/2 gallon.
- Cool, clean water. If you're working in a hot environment, put a handful of ice in a plastic bag and drop it in your water to keep it cool. Warm water will evaporate quickly, and cause the sealer to prematurely dry.
- 500ml of CHENG Concrete Sealer for every 30 square feet of concrete surface sealed.
CHENG Sealer Application:
- THE RINSE: Gently wash the entire concrete surface with a clean rag and fresh water. DO NOT "scrub" the concrete. Small particles of grit trapped in the fabric can scratch the concrete's polished surface. Make sure that all dust and dirt are rinsed off the countertop surface before proceeding to the next step.
- THE WATER SOAK: Use a fresh clean rag and saturate the entire concrete surface with clean water allowing water to penetrate for 2 minutes while keeping the entire surface saturated. TIMEOUT TIP: Do not use the same rag you used to wash the concrete surface in Step 1 as it might have particles of dirt or grit trapped in the fabric.
- THE WASH: In a 1/2 gallon capacity bucket or bowl, mix equal parts of clean water and sealer. For example: mix 1 cup of sealer with 1 cup of water. This will create a 50% dilution, which we refer to as the "wash."
- THE WASH SOAK: Using the same rag as Step 2, saturate the countertop with this wash, while keeping the wash solution continuously moving, ensuring that the entire surface stays wet for 5 minutes. DO NOT allow any area of the surface to dry out.
- THE FINAL WASH: For the final wash, add additional sealer and water to the remaining wash at 3:1 ratio. For example add 3/4 cup of sealer and 1/4 cup water to remaining 50/50 wash.
- THE FINAL WASH SOAK: Saturate the concrete surface with the "final wash,” keeping the wash moving for 5 minutes adding additional wash as needed to ensure the surface of the concrete does not dry. The concrete surface should appear as if skim milk has been spilled over the entire surface for the full 5 minutes.
- THE WIPEDOWN: Tightly wring out the rag you have been using in Steps 2-6 and wipe up excess puddling or pooling wash. TIMEOUT TIP: Wipe surface in long straight strokes leaving a paper thin (tissue paper thin) layer of sealer remaining. Do not wipe the surface dry, allow the thin layer of remaining sealer to slowly soak into the concrete.
- THE REPEAT WASH: Apply a second coat (starting again from Step 6) 30 minutes after you have completed the “final wash." We recommend up to 6 applications of 75% sealer/water. Allow the Final Repeat Wash to dry for 24 hours.
IMPORTANT! The Water Drop Test.
Visualize your concrete surface as a sponge you are trying to fill with sealer. If water will absorb into the concrete (as indicated by the water drop test), it means you need more CHENG Sealer. Since no two pieces of concrete are the same, some concrete will require additional sealer. Depending on how porous your concrete surface is, you may need up to 6 sealer washes before your surface is completely sealed.
After THE REPEAT WASH has dried for 24 hours, place a drop of water on several areas of the sealed surface and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Wipe up the water. If the concrete has darkened beneath the water drop, the concrete isn't fully sealed: repeat Steps 3-8.
STEP 7: Waxing
Products needed: CHENG Concrete Wax, sponge wax applicator, wax removal cloths, CHENG Concrete Buffing Pad
You can wax your concrete surface 48 hours after the sealer passes the water drop test. Several thin “invisible” applications of CHENG Concrete Wax are recommended. Applying the wax with a sponge wax applicator will help achieve an ideal surface finish. Dampen the applicator with clean water and wring out. Use the damp applicator to apply a thin coat of wax in circular patterns, working on 2 square feet at a time. Immediately after applying the wax (before it dries), use the wax removal cloths to wipe off excess wax—it will seem like you’ve wiped up all of the wax but you will be leaving behind an “invisible” layer of wax protection on the surface. Repeat this process three times. Once the entire countertop has been waxed, use the CHENG Buffing Pad to buff out the finish. If needed, use a 0000# steel wool pad to lightly buff out streaking or unevenness in the wax finish.
STEP 8: Care, Maintain + Enjoy
Product needed: Concrete and Granite Countertop Cleaner, CHENG Concrete Wax, CHENG Concrete Countertop Polish
Congratulations, you have achieved the desired finish for your concrete surface! To continue enjoying the luster you have created, maintenance is key. The concrete surface can be cleaned with mild soap and water. No citrus or vinegar-based products should be used. Organic does not always mean “mild” and can include citrus ingredients that you’ll want to avoid.
Daily Maintenance. The Concrete and Granite Countertop Cleaner is a safe, non-abrasive, environmentally friendly cleaner ideal for daily cleaning.
Weekly Maintenance. The CHENG Concrete Countertop Polish will put an extra sheen on your concrete surface. It protects and beautifies your surface finish while enhancing the finish beneath. This non-toxic polish is food-safe and specially formulated for quick and easy application. Lightly “mist" the surface and then work it into the surface with a clean, soft cloth. For best results, use the polish once a week.
Monthly Maintenance. We recommend waxing monthly with CHENG Concrete Wax; it protects and beautifies your surface finish while enhancing CHENG Sealer beneath. This non-toxic, durable wax is food-safe and specially formulated to improve the stain-resistance of the CHENG Concrete Sealer while providing a renewable shine whenever your surface needs a little "pick-me-up." Clean up spills as soon as possible.