You’re interested in giving that old concrete slab a new lease on life. But you haven’t decided which route to take. You could resurface it and use a stamp design to make it stand out. You could paint with colorful, outdoor-friendly paints. Or you could consider a color stain for concrete.
Color stains for concrete come in two big categories: acid-based stains and water-based stains. And while both can be used in a variety of ways, there are some differences between them. Let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between water- and acid-based color stains for concrete.
Similarities Between Acid-Based and Water-Based Color Stains for Concrete
Both kinds of stains can be used on new or old concrete. And whether your concrete is currently grey or colored, water- and acid-based stains can be effectively used. In addition, most stains have built-in UV protection as well as resistance to long-term wear. This makes them a great option for any concrete you may have, whether it’s walked on every day or never – and whether it’s inside or outside.
Like wood stains, color stains for concrete won’t conceal cracks or chips in your concrete. They are translucent, which means they enhance rather than hide. This is true of both water and acid-based stains. And neither kind of stain will completely mask an underlying color.
Finally, it’s important to note that both kinds of stains need to be applied in the same way. Before application, you’ll want to make sure that your concrete is completely clean, with no dirt, grease, or any other substance on it. A good power wash will go a long way toward preparing your concrete for staining.
Differences Between Acid-Based and Water-Based Color Stains for Concrete
It’s obvious that there are a lot of similarities between acid-based and water-based color stains. But there are also a number of important differences that are worth noting.
Acid stains are combination of water, metallic salts, and hydrochloric acid. They penetrate deep into the concrete and react with certain substances there. The acid etches the surface of the concrete, giving the salt the ability to move more deeply in. After the stain has done its work, it will be as much a part of the concrete as any crack or chip. So, acid-based stains cannot wash away or peel.
One of the disadvantages of acid-based stains is that the colors available for staining are more limited than with water-based stains. Acid-based stains generally come in earth tones, like brown, tan, or light green.
Water-based stains, on the other hand, give you the ability to create a much more colorful design. Instead of being limited to earth tones, water-based stains give you the option of all the colors in the rainbow, from the deepest black, all the way to pure white.
Although both kinds of stains penetrate the concrete, water-based stains use acrylics for their color, so they tend to not be as durable in outdoor situations. However, if you’re looking to stain indoor concrete, there are few better options than a vibrant water-based concrete stain.