Staining concrete imparts a luxurious richness that can’t be achieved with any other coloring medium. Rather than produce a solid, opaque effect like paint, stains permeate the concrete and infuse it with translucent tones that vary, depending on the surface they are applied to and the application techniques used.
Stains for concrete come in two categories: acid-based chemical stains and water-based acrylics. Acid stains work by penetrating the surface and reacting chemically with the lime in the concrete. Once the stain reacts, it becomes a permanent part of the concrete and won’t fade, chip off or peel away. The palette for acid-etch staining is generally limited to earthy tones, such as tans, browns, terra cottas and soft blue-greens.
Water-based stains come in a much broader spectrum of hues. Like acid stains, water-based stains penetrate the concrete to produce permanent color, ranging from translucent to semi-opaque, depending on the product.
Metallic epoxies are a versatile option for concrete. A light or dark epoxy base is applied, and the metallic accent can be artistically worked to create as dramatic or as subtle an effect as desired.
Applications for staining range from walkways and patios to interior floors. Stains can also be applied to vertical surfaces.
Concrete stains are intended to enhance, rather than disguise a surface. They will not hide cracks, blemishes or other flaws in existing concrete. Instead, the “flaws” become part of the character of the new surface.