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If you want to go beyond the subtle drama and subdued color palette of acid staining, consider using non-acidic water-based stains, which come in a full spectrum of hues. Most manufacturers offer dozens of standard colors, including black and white and even metallic tints. And in many cases, the different colors can be mixed, like water-based paints, to broaden your options.

Water Based vs. Acid Stains: A look at new water-based stains for concrete and how they compare to traditional acid stains

Like acid stains, these new-generation stains (typically a blend of acrylic polymers and pigments) penetrate the concrete to produce permanent color, ranging from translucent to opaque depending on the product. The key difference is that no chemical reaction occurs, so the color is more consistent. Most of these products are also low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and safer to apply because they are free of solvents and acids.

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