Real estate


Rogue rouge: Get stains out of your concrete sink

Q. We recently purchased a new town house with all sorts of state-of-the-art finishes and products, including white poured-concrete sinks. Initially quite handsome, they stained badly. The culprit? Makeup. The sink’s manufacturer has been unresponsive, so I’m trying to figure out how to remedy the problem. I’m thinking of using a darker stain on the sinks and countertop. Do you have any advice for doing this in a way that will not make matters worse?

By the way, the builder, who has been very helpful, said to me, “In a few years we will all wonder why we thought using concrete for this purpose was a good idea.” He also said he will never use this provider again.



A. Concrete is naturally porous, so countertops and sinks made with that material should always be sealed to protect them from stains, scratches, and even water absorption. This sink should have been sealed after installation and maintained periodically with maintenance coats.

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There are three types of sealer available: penetrating, topical, and hybrid. A hybrid sealer will soak into the concrete, similar to a penetrating sealer, and leave a micro-topical shell that helps provide abrasion resistance.

There are a multitude of concrete sealers on the market, but it’s important to choose a product that meets the unique performance requirements. The most important rule to remember is that less is more. You should apply sealer in multiple thin coats instead of one thick one.

Your idea of staining it a different color makes sense. If you like the current color, however, you might be able to remove the existing stains and then seal the sink. Here is a source for more information:

Q. I have a bathroom floor that’s cheap linoleum and dreadful looking. I am on a strict budget. When I looked into replacing it, I learned that I would need to hire a plumber to take the toilet out and put it back — very expensive. Is there any way to paint the floor? There probably isn’t, but I thought it was worth asking.


ANNE, Marshfield

A. Paint will not last. My best advice is to get estimates from a plumber and flooring company, create a budget, and save up. If you’re too tight on cash, you can learn how to remove the toilet and flooring yourself and do the prep work. Then you can hire a flooring company at less expense to install new linoleum.

Dear Rob

After reading your advice about drips and my wedi bathroom system, I tightened up around the shower head — no more puddles (“The natural: Cedar is big hit for house siding,” Ask the Carpenter, May 21). And for some reason I can’t explain, the other areas have dried out as well. Thank you so much for your help. Hopefully the problem is resolved.


Rob Robillard is a general contractor, carpenter, editor of, and principal of a carpentry and renovation business. Send your questions to or tweet them to @globeaddress or @robertrobillard.