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Do you have a concrete driveway, patio, or sidewalk? If so, you may be interested in giving it a new look by applying a concrete stain. Rockville, MD homeowners who love concrete floors know there are many different colors and types of concrete stains available on the market today, so it can be tricky to decide which one is right for your project. In this article, we will discuss the different kinds of concrete stains available and offer some tips on how to choose the right one for your needs. We will also touch on the best practices for maintaining your concrete floors to keep them looking beautiful for years to come!

Different Kinds of Concrete Stains

Unique in both application and appearance than dyes, concrete stains typically come from penetrating, acid-based, or film-forming varieties, offering an array of different textures, depths, colors, and visual effects.

The most enduring type of concrete stain is the film-forming stain that adds a layer to the top of a cured concrete surface to add color. However, this option is generally considered less durable in that it has a tendency to peel or flake away over time—particularly if exposed to repeated traffic, outdoor elements, or harmful chemicals.

Water-based penetrating stains, on the other hand, permeate the pores of the concrete and chemically bond with it, offering a wide variety of deeply embedded colors that are resistant to fading or weather damage and happen to be low in Volatile Organic Compound content. These types of stains tend to be more on the translucent side and therefore are not recommended for disguising any possible imperfections in the surface of the concrete.

Finally, we have acid-based stains, that chemically change the appearance of the concrete’s surface, often creating a type of marbled aesthetic. Obviously, these are slightly more dangerous to work with and generally are better suited to experienced flooring contractors, but they can create some visually stunning end results.

Is Concrete Stain Eco Friendly?

Some concrete stains rely on relatively harmful chemicals that must be disposed of properly to avoid negatively impacting the surrounding environment—however, water-based concrete stains are not this way. While every concrete job features unique conditions, it is generally considered that water-based stains are a little easier on the environment while still delivering a powerful and desirable aesthetic punch of personality. This is because water-based concrete stains have a low VOC content and also require no neutralizing chemicals during clean-up after application—unlike acid stains.

Is Concrete Stain Durable?

Because of the three different chemical makeups of each kind of stain, each stain will be more durable in certain situations. For example, if you are looking to decorate an outdoor patio, driveway, or walkway, you could benefit from an acid-based stain, as they are generally considered more UV stable. Water-based stains, on the other hand, are more likely to fade with prolonged exposure to sunlight—though both chemically bond with the surface of the concrete and deeply penetrate it, applying color at a deep level that is unlikely to peel or chip away. Film-forming stains are the most susceptible to chipping and are generally the least durable option for concrete staining.

Is Concrete Stain Oil-Based?

The short answer to this question is, typically, no. As we’ve detailed above, the three primary types of concrete stains are acid-based washes, water-based stains, and film-forming stains—none of which are oil-based. However, after applying your stain, you may want to consider applying an oil-based transparent sealer to add an extra layer of moisture and damage protection to your finished floors.

Is Concrete Stain Toxic?

Of course, if you do any amount of digging for “concrete stains” online, you are sure to find a wide, diverse, and saturated market full of different products made from various chemicals all touting to the be best for one reason or another. However, if you are concerned about using toxic or potentially reaction-causing chemicals in your home, you may have to do a little more research. Water-based stains are typically less chemically volatile, and you may even want to consider bio-acrylic sealers or tung oil sealers as well.

Of course, not all types of products considered “chemically sensitive” are going to finish your floors or countertops “right.” If you are at all overwhelmed by the wide array of different products out there, talk to a professional concrete flooring contractor today and share your concerns. They will have access to the best solutions in the industry and will be able to work with your desires and your budget.

How to Maintain Concrete Stained Floors

Part of the beauty of opting for concrete flooring is—other than the relatively low price point, the durability, and the enormous diversity of aesthetic potential—they are incredibly easy to maintain. Regardless of which of the three primary types of concrete stain you choose, keeping them clean, tidy, and free from damage is generally considered quite easy and low maintenance.

The first thing you are going to want to do is to dry mop, sweep, or vacuum your floors to remove any lingering debris, dander, allergens, dirt, etc. Then, simply select a neutral pH cleanser, dilute it with water, and gently wet mop the surface. It is pivotal that you let the concrete dry before heading to the next step—even if that means opening windows and turning on ceiling fans to speed up the process. If needed, reapply a wax or chemical sealing solution to add another layer of protection over your floors—but this should only be necessary every 2-5 years, depending on the amount of traffic your floor gets.

And that’s it! Replace any throw rugs and furniture, and you have sparkling, beautifully cared for concrete floors.

Concrete Stain Rockville, MD

Who knew there was so much to know about the fantastic world of concrete staining! When it comes to picking the right stain for your slab, driveway, patio, or even commercial retail space, there are several factors to weigh before picking the best one suited for your space. What will your foot traffic be like? Will the floor experience excessive UV exposure? Will you have time to air out the space when using a stain containing VOCs? Will your business or residence receive a tax write-off for choosing sustainable construction materials? And most of all, what do you want it to look like!?

If you’re looking for a professional contractor skilled at concrete stain, Rockville, MD and the surrounding area are best served by the experts at The Concrete, Etc. Contact us today for a no-obligation quote, or browse our portfolio of previous work here!