Concrete Staining and Dying Concrete flooring is one of the most affordable flooring types there is. In addition to being lowly priced, concrete floors are highly durable and aesthetically-pleasing, often giving spaces a sleek and professional look. One way concrete floors can achieve this pleasant appearance is through polishing. Another way is through concrete staining and dying.

One of the perks of concrete staining and dying is that it can make concrete floors look a lot less dull. In fact, concrete staining and dying is a popular option for exterior projects in particular. Residential spaces like basements, driveways, patios, and even commercial spaces like reception halls can be found with dyed or stained concrete.

But wait…hold on…what exactly is dyed or stained concrete? Is there even a difference between the two? And how does one choose between one or the other? Is one better than the other? Great questions! Let’s talk about what they are.

The Difference Between Concrete Staining & Concrete Dying

While “staining” and “dying” sound like interchangeable terms, they’re actually quite different. Staining reacts chemically with concrete whereas dying permeates concrete. Both can be used in a variety of settings, though which is the best to go with is going to depend on two things: the desired final product and the state of the concrete that will be worked upon. Let’s elaborate further.

The Benefits of Concrete Staining

As mentioned earlier, staining reacts chemically with concrete. This is because chemical stains are acid-based and their acidity is what facilitates a reaction with the minerals present in a concrete slab. Concrete staining is ideal for settings that benefit from natural-looking, earth-based tones. This look can be further achieved by adding a stamped design, which can result in a marble stone appearance, as well as a natural wood and stone look.

Another way concrete staining differs from concrete dying is the semi-transparent nature of stains, which means they cannot cover other preexisting colors nor can they cover cracks. Interestingly, concrete stains can produce other colors apart from natural earth-based tones. In the case of water-based acrylic stains, these still react chemically with concrete, but can produce other colors while still maintaining the durability and stability of acid-based stains.

In terms of application, concrete staining is ideal for both exterior and interior design projects. The good news for exterior projects in particular is that concrete staining is pretty resistant to ultraviolet radiation and doesn’t wear and tear easily. As such, the colors tend to preserve really well.

The Benefits of Concrete Dying

As we talked about earlier, concrete dyes permeate concrete but do not react chemically with it. All that this means is that chemical bonds are neither disrupted nor created and is instead integrated into the mix. As such, for the most part, the color advertised on the packaging is the color you’re going to end up with.

The way dye permeates concrete is that it inserts itself into the concrete’s surface pores, which is why it doesn’t tend to change color. It’s a very quick process and doesn’t leave room for error. When choosing a concrete dye, there are two types: water-based or solvent-based. Both can be found in either powdered or solution form and have an unlimited color range.

The only downside to using concrete dyes is that they don’t withstand ultraviolet radiation the way concerete stains due and are not durable on that front. As such, concrete dyes are best used in interior design projects but are a poor choice for exterior projects if an ultraviolet sealer isn’t being used.

The Best Projects for Concrete Staining &. Concrete Dying

Now that we know the core differences between concrete staining and concrete dying, let’s further break down which projects are best for each. In most cases, you’ll use concrete staining and dying separately, though there are occasions in which you can use both to achieve a desired look.

The Best Uses For Concrete Staining

Given its high resistance to ultraviolet radiation, concrete staining is perfect for exterior projects. Concrete staining also holds up pretty well against other weather conditions. For individuals who want to use dye to get a precise color on an exterior project, this can be achieved with the use of an ultraviolet or UV sealer. Other reasons to use concrete staining is for projects that need to mimic other materials such as marble or leather, or earth-based tones like terra cotta.

The Best Uses For Concrete Dying

On the polar end of the spectrum are projects that fare better with concrete dying. Apart from interior design projects that won’t be exposed to ultraviolet radiation, concrete dying is also best for projects that require a specific hue or a wide variety of specific colors. For these types of projects, concrete staining is a poor choice as the stains mix in with the concrete’s natural color, resulting in a different color or tone altogether.

Another major advantage of concrete dying is that it can achieve a layered color effect and can be diluted in water to make the colors lighter. When working on a project with a tight deadline, concrete dyes can be applied quickly and don’t leave behind any residue.

The Concrete Etc is a flooring company with over 15 years of decorative concrete polishing and natural stone restoration experience. To learn more about how we can help your flooring needs, check out our services page or contact us.

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