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Tips for Choosing the Right Stain or Dye for Your Project

Acid Stain

Concrete Floors SolCrete Denton, TX
Water-Based Stain

Decorative Concrete Institute Temple, GA
Concrete Dye

ConcreteNetwork.com
Integral Color

Concrete Patios Max Power Concrete Columbus, OH
Dry-Shake Color Hardener
Concrete Driveways Concrete FX Agoura Hills, CA
Color options available (See these sample color charts) Limited to earth tones and soft blue-greens Nearly unlimited; different colors can be mixed to create custom hues Nearly unlimited; colors can be mixed or diluted Limited to earth tones and pastel shades Comes in a wider array of hues than integral color, but tones are more muted than dyes or water-based stains
Can be used indoors and outdoors Yes Yes Check with the manufacturer. Not all dyes are UV-resistant. Yes Yes
Can be applied to new or existing concrete Yes Yes Yes New concrete only New concrete only
Can be applied to cement-based overlays Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Ease of application and cleanup Poor

After application, surface must be scrubbed to remove stain residue and to neutralize the acid.
Good

No neutralization or rinsing is required; application tools can be cleaned with soap and water.
Good

No need to clean the slab after application; dye particles are very fine and absorbed into the surface.
N/A Poor

Must be hand broadcast, and can be labor-intensive and messy to work with.
Application tool requirements A low-pressure sprayer, or brushes or sponges for detail work. All tools must be acid-resistant, with no metal components. A low-pressure sprayer, roller, brush or sponge A low-pressure sprayer, roller, brush or sponge N/A A bull float, to work the hardener into the surface
Performance Excellent

Because they penetrate the concrete surface, most acid- and water-based stains have excellent UV stability and wear resistance.
Excellent

Because they penetrate the concrete surface, most acid- and water-based stains have excellent UV stability and wear resistance.
Good

Some dyes are not recommended for exterior use because they can fade when exposed to direct sunlight.
Excellent

The color goes through the entire slab and will not wear away.
Excellent

Improves the strength and density of the concrete surface; also UV resistant.
Are safety precautions required? Yes

May contain corrosive components that can cause eye, skin, and lung irritation. Wear impervious gloves and boots, eye protection, and a facemask to prevent inhalation.
No

Water-based stains typically have a low VOC content and are safe to apply without concern for odors or toxic fumes.
Yes, if solvent-based

Solvent-based dyes are flammable and can produce hazardous vapors. For projects in occupied spaces or where ventilation is poor, use a water-based dye.
No Yes

Airborne powder can be harmful to breathe. Wear a respirator or facemask when working with these products.


Featured Products
Single Component Stain EnduraStain by Newlook. Premium quality & performance.
Acid Stain by Surfkoat Makes up to 2 gallons. Great for marble look.
Water Based Penetrating Stain 20 Colors - easy application & clean-up
Stain-Crete by Increte 9 standard colors. Useful for old or new concrete.
Translucent Stain GemTone by Prosoco. Suitable for indoor surfaces.
Renaissance Stain Discounts available for contractors. Up to 10%.
Reactive Concrete Stain Ready to use. Produces translucent, variegated, and other effects.
Stone Tone Stain 10 color options. Resistant to chipping and fading.
Metallic Stain by Westcoat Produces metallic ions that combine with concrete for a metallic look.
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