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How Dyes Work
Dyes vs. Stains: What are the differences?
Benefits of Concrete Dyes: What users say
How to Use Concrete Dyes
Application & Maintenance Techniques
Sealing Colored Concrete
Decorative Options with Concrete Dyes
Revving up the Color Palette with Concrete Dyes
Color Effects with Concrete Stains and Dyes
Concrete Dye Color Chart
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Common Questions about Concrete Floors: Are they cold? Are they loud? Are they expensive?
Comparison Chart of Concrete Coloring Products
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Concrete Contractors: Find Concrete Dyes

When applied full strength, dyes can produce dramatic color accents, such as this border stripe.

Essentially, concrete dyes are translucent, penetrating color solutions. Unlike acid-based stains, they do not react chemically with concrete. Instead, they contain very fine coloring agents that penetrate into the concrete surface.

Both water- and solvent-based dyes are available, with each type having unique qualities. Water-based dyes, such as Colormaker's Someru, generally produce soft pastel tones. Bolder hues, including red, blue, yellow, green, purple, and orange, are possible with solvent-based products. AmeriPolish from American Decorative Concrete Supply Co, and Pro-Dye from Brickform are examples.

Most dyes are packaged in concentrated form, allowing flexibility in the end color. They can be used full strength to attain greater depth of color or diluted with water or solvents to produce paler shades or simply a light wash of color. You can also intermix different colors of dye to produce your own custom hues.

When to Use a Concrete DyeConcrete dyes can further enhance your chemical staining projects and open up a whole new set of design options. Harris says that the primary reason for using dyes is flexibility to obtain colors not possible with chemical stains. "When concrete dyes are combined with chemical staining, there are no limitations from a predetermined color palette," he explains.

But dyes have a multitude of other applications as companions on chemical staining projects. Artisans have used them to:

  • Enhance stain colors in areas of a slab where the stain is not reacting with the concrete and the color needs to be intensified.
  • Add visual texture and depth to a concrete surface or cementitious topping.
  • Shift color from subtle earth tones to vibrant hues.
  • Build layers of color.
  • Soften areas where the chemical stain has produced an overly bright tone.

Concrete Dye LimitationsDyes, like chemical stains, are intended to enhance rather than disguise the surface. They will not hide cracks, blemishes, or other flaws. Nor will they mask an underlying color. "Dyes are transparent, so you really can't do any color correction with them," says Boyer.

You should also expect variations and inconsistent color with dyes, even when applying them to the same surface. But most people find these variations desirable because they result in a more natural, mottled appearance.

Harris says that when working with dyes, jobsite color blending is often necessary to obtain the hue you're after, since most dyes come in a limited range of standard colors. This may require an understanding of the basics of color theory. "Knowing that mixing blue and yellow produces green or that red and blue make purple allows greater flexibility with dyes," he says.

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