Stained concrete has remained an elegant, low cost, yet durable flooring option for homes and businesses. Stains will color concrete in ways that are often unpredictable, usually producing a marble or mottled look. Because each new concrete pour is different, stain reactions are different and will create artistic results that are unique to your floor. Decorative scoring or other techniques can be used to further enhance the final result.
Freshly placed concrete can usually be stained with minimal preparation. However, it is important to plan carefully prior to concrete pouring. Preparation includes proper site development, correct mix design, and proper finishing techniques. You can visit our FAQ page to view our Recommendations for Successful Concrete Staining.
Existing concrete will usually involve more extensive preparation, often requiring diamond grinding to remove glue, paint, or patch materials. During the grinding process, some of the concrete surface is removed, smoothing the surface and revealing sand and rock, and may resemble sand stone or terrazzo when completed.
Generally, there are three types of coloring options: acid stains, acetone-based dyes, or water-based stains and dyes.
Acid stains react with the free lime in the concrete, resulting in a chemical reaction that creates the variegated, permanent coloring that is so appealing.
An acetone-based dye's color and appearance is similar to acid stain, but requires that the concrete surface be porous enough to allow the dye to penetrate. Dyes allow a little more control of the final color compared to acid stains, and can be applied in less time.
Water-based stains and dyes are improving and are becoming more popular due to regulations that limit the use of acetone in some states.
Stains can be sealed with a myriad of options. Some are high-grade solvent based commercial sealers that are quite durable and require no waxing. Water-based sealers are effective in lower traffic areas and are less expensive to apply and remove. The sealer or topcoat is much more important than what choice of stain you use. Thought and discussion should be used in selecting the right sealer to determine what the situation dictates.