To achieve a more dramatic look, water-based concrete stains are often a good choice. Available in a wide spectrum of hues, water-based stains present a beautiful and durable color option. In many instances, it is even possible to mix different colors to broaden available color options.
Since water-based stains are not actually a covering or a paint, there are no worries that the color will chip from the floor. Maintaining a water-based concrete stained floor is quite easy, usually requiring only damp mopping with a neutral cleaner or dust mopping.
While water-based concrete stains are applied in a manner similar to acid-based and reactive stains, there are some differences regarding how these two types of stains function. While acid-based stains work by responding with the ingredients in the concrete in order to drive a chemical change, water-based concrete stains work by staining the concrete with pigments rather than chemical reactions. Water serves as the carrier to allow material, including a binder and pigment, to follow. The binder, which could be a silicate or acrylic polymer, works by locking the pigment into the concrete. The pigment is responsible for imparting the color.
Water-based stains actually work by flowing into the pores of the concrete and then bonding with the cement. It should be noted, however, that water-based stains do not alter the concrete chemically. For this reason, water-based stains are not technically permanent in nature. Without a sealer being applied, this type of stain could wear away from the concrete.
Problems with water-based concrete stains can occur if there is not a good topcoat or a proper surface profile. Since this type of stain works by carrying the pigment into the pores of the concrete, those pores must be open in order to receive the pigment. This means that having a good profile is absolutely essential. The profile cannot be smooth or slick or the color will not bond.
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