Concrete can be colored or stained in a variety of ways, including acid stain, water based stains and concrete dyes. Each are translucent or semi transparent stains that penetrate the substrate and create a natural and beautiful color.

Acid stains consist of a mild acid that penetrates the surface and generate a chemical reaction with the free lime (calcium hydroxide) in the concrete. The resulting oxides fill the pores in the paste layer of the concrete, permanently changing the color of the surface. The color development is a total chemical reaction and is concrete-dependent. This coloring system is typically earth toned and very organic. No two concrete slabs will look or react the same way.

Water based stains are highly-micronized inorganic pigments (typically a blend of acrylic polymers and pigments) which come in a much broader spectrum of hues. These are also penetrating and transparent but not reactive in any way.

Concrete Dyes are similar to water based stains, the only difference is that they can be mixed with slovents such as Acetone to dry much quicker, penetrate deeper into the concrete and create a richer color.

Like stains for wood, concrete stains are semi-transparent and are intended to enhance rather than disguise the surface. They will not hide cracks, blemishes or other flaws in existing concrete. An existing concrete slab with major cracks or spalling is usually not a good candidate for staining because any patchwork is likely to show right through the stain. For flawed slabs we would recommend to resurface with a Microtopping first, then a coloring system of your choice.

 

Recommended Concrete Coloring Systems

Consolideck – High Performance Concrete

Duraamen – Decorative High Performance Flooring 

Elite Crete – Seamless Flooring Systems 


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