Color Choices for Staining Concrete Color Choices for Staining Concrete

Most people may think of concrete as a dull, grey substance, but staining concrete with color is a way to get out of that rut and make your concrete floors beautiful and unique. Staining concrete involves a process that mixes special acids and metallic salts to make it bond to the concrete and change its color. Read on to learn about some of your options when you stain concrete.

Types of Concrete Stains

There are two types of concrete stains: acid and acrylic. Acid stains go through the concrete to about 1⁄16-inch to 1⁄8-inch, and they last as long as the concrete itself lasts. The acid paint causes a permanent bond between the concrete and the paint. It’s great for places that get a lot of foot traffic since it won’t rub off.

You can choose from several different colors to stain your concrete with acid stain paint. Your local hardware or home supply store can show you samples, but how the actual color turns out depends on the original hue of your concrete. Most acid concrete stain makers offer choices based on the following colors: tan, brown, terracotta shades and a variety of blue and green. Colors can be combined to make darker shades.

If you choose a water-based acrylic stain, there are more color choices. These come in many standard colors like black, white, and other tints. You can also mix these together to get the shade you want.

Applying the Stain to the Concrete Floor

Before you can apply the colored stains, you have to make sure there are no impurities, oil or other dirt on the concrete or the stain won’t mix in correctly. If needed, these can be sanded off using sandpaper or some mechanical method.

Whatever color of stain you pick, it may look a bit different when you actually paint it onto your concrete floor. You won’t know the final look and color for several hours after you put it down. If you are concerned about this, then it’s best to only paint a small area and let it dry first before putting down the rest.

How old the original concrete is can also play a part in how the stain looks after it dries. Older concrete could absorb more of the stain and end up darker. Once again, it’s best to only do a small section until you know the final outcome.

You can also add a clear coat over the finished paint job to give it more gloss and help to seal it and keep it clean. The stains are applied using a spray method, sponging, or scrubbing it into the concrete. You should wear protective gloves, as well as nose and eye protection when applying stain. Any residue left behind after the stain dries has to be treated like hazardous waste, as it is dangerous and can burn your skin due to the acid.

Mix-In Methods

Besides painting your dry concrete, there is also a method that actually mixes in color before application as the concrete itself is being mixed. This process uses special coloring chemicals and can be either mixed into the wet concrete or poured onto freshly laid concrete before it dries. One big disadvantage to this method is that you don’t know the final shade of the color until it actually dries, but it is an easy method for staining concrete.

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