Concrete staining is the process of applying a colored pigment or dye to concrete in order to change its appearance, and it’s available in virtually every color imaginable. There are actually three different types of products used for staining: solvent-based, water-based, and reactive stains.
What Concrete Stain Should I Choose?
When considering what type of concrete staining is right for you, there are a few factors that need to be evaluated: What’s your budget? How long do you want it to last? Do you need to protect the concrete from staining? How severe is your existing damage?
To find the answer of what kind of concrete staining you should pick, read below for a summary of many different kinds of stains.
Types of Concrete Stains
Water-based stained concrete
These types of stains are safe to use near any body of water (a lake or public drinking water supply, for example). They are also safer to use in general, since they don’t contain chemicals that are particularly harmful to the respiratory system. Disadvantages of water-based stains include their limited color selection, expensive pigment costs due to EPA regulations, and difficulty acquiring non-colored dyes (which must be custom mixed), as well as a tendency to dry with a milky white finish.
UV-resistant water-based stained concrete
This is where many of the drawbacks of water-based stains are eliminated, without sacrificing any strength or color vibrancy. UV resistant products are typically pigment concentrates (not dyes), making them easier to mix and ship than their solution counterparts. In addition, the addition of UV inhibitors and resins to the formula enhances resistance against fading, sun damage, and moisture damage.
Oil-based stained concrete
Oil-based stains typically offer a wider range of colors than water-based products do. Pigment costs are lower as well. In terms of disadvantages, oil-based stains need to be wiped on and soaked into the concrete, and they may need more than one coat. They’re also more difficult to clean up after applying (and remove from clothing or other surfaces). Some people find that oil-based stains dry with a milky white finish as well.
These types of dyes appear to be the best of both worlds–they offer a huge variety of color options, and can be used for both interior and exterior applications. The biggest drawback is that epoxy products are expensive, and application could involve hazardous chemicals if mixed incorrectly. Epoxy is very common on many a garage floor and outdoor space.
Acid stains are a totally different type of product than dyes or stains, and they actually require an acid activator (usually water) to work. Acid stain colors range from white to dark brown, and it’s easy to achieve a wide variety of shades by varying the ratio of acid stain to water. Since they’re not pigment-based like dyes and stains, they offer virtually unlimited color options. Acid stains are also very easy to clean up after application, since most acid stains contain no solvents or chemicals that could damage the surrounding environment (like water-based products).
Acrylic stains are often considered the best of all the types across the board. With easily-accessible products that can be bought at any big box hardware store, acrylic stains offer limitless color options, available in both water-based and solvent-based formulas. Acrylic is also designed with durability in mind–it’s effective at resisting damage from all types of stains (water, oil, acid), and it’s not affected by sunlight. Acrylic stains are also easy to apply–just spray on and wipe off. Some users report longer drying times (4-8 hours), but once it’s dry, acrylic stain is extremely durable and scratch resistant.
Stained concrete is an easy and inexpensive way to change the color of your concrete floor without going through the hassle of resurfacing them which is very expensive. Stained concrete can create an overall uniform appearance, making it look like honed or polished concrete. If you want to change the color of your plain concrete simply do some research on which stains are best for the application and have it applied by a professional.
For any questions about concrete staining or the process, call the best local concrete contractors, Titan Concrete today!