Acid stains or Chemical stains react with the lime in concrete and color the concrete whereas concrete dyes offer transparent colors to the concrete surface. Whether you have a business property or a home, stained floors are an excellent alternative to traditional tile, wood and carpet. Two main options exist for you to choose for concrete projects – acid stains and acetone dyes. Instead of having dull grey concrete, you can have a variety of shades of red, green, blue and brown.
Let’s look at acid staining first. This provides concrete with a multicolored look similar to marble. Acid staining provides a customized look for your driveways, sidewalks, garage floors and decks, as well as indoor cement floors. Acid stains are a mixture of elements including water and hydrochloric acid. They react with calcium, a primary component of concrete. Once it is stained, the color is on there permanently.
Acid staining provides each piece of concrete with its own unique pattern. Concrete finishing and curing methods, as well as the composition of the aggregate in the concrete, lend a unique look to your flooring.
Acid stains must be properly sealed – you need enough of a low viscosity sealer with high solids content that cures to be extremely hard. This fills the pores which were created by the acid etching, and provides protection. Sealer can be applied after the use of the staining process or the dye.
A waxing is all that is needed from time to time to polish the finish. If you want a natural stone finish, this is your best option.
Acetone concrete dye, on the other hand, creates a consistent color and is very easily controlled. The concrete slab absorbs the pigments of the dye. This process allows you to achieve a layered or single color in less time than staining. Acetone dye is available in a variety of colors and these colors may be mixed to achieve even more variety. The acetone base can be sealed just 10 minutes after application. Your flooring can show an endless number of color variations.
Acetone dyes will provide a high gloss finish. Best for indoor applications, keep in mind that dyes are not UV resistant. Direct sunlight can fade them over time. But one of their primary advantages is an unlimited color palette.
Acetone stains are applied significantly faster than acid, and require less time to dry and stabilize. The dyes are actually clear solutions – the particles penetrate the concrete. The qualities of the dyes available today allow not only a quick application but much creativity in the color outcome.
Dyes can be used as the primary coloring agent or in combination with acid stains. Interesting decorative results are possible when you apply multiple dye colors and finishing techniques. Acetone dyes provide high color uniformity, and another main advantage to that process is that they are “in” the concrete forever.
Both acetone dyes and acid stains can turn your polished concrete floor into a work of art. As a rule of thumb, use acid stains for more abstract styles and use acetone dyes when you want more control of the flooring patterns.
Click HERE to watch the application of acid stains and dyes on concrete micro-toppings.
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