Concrete Stain Vs. Dye: Which Is Better?

by | Jun 8, 2022 | stained concrete

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Concrete Stain Vs. Dye: Which Is Better?

Although concrete stains and dyes seem to accomplish the same goal of changing the color of a concrete floor, they are very different in practice. When it comes to creating beautiful flooring, the location, condition, and intended use of the area the floor will be in are all important factors when it comes to choosing stains or dyes. Concrete dyes are easy to apply and require less expertise, while concrete stains are available in a wide range of colors and finishes, making them an excellent choice for creating decorative concrete floors. To decide which one is right for your property, you’ll also want to factor in how long-lasting each finish is to ensure that you get the most out of your investment.

What Is Concrete Stain?

All concrete stains are penetrating stains that change the color of a floor by penetrating concrete substrate. They can be acid or water-based, and are also UV stable, making them the perfect choice for outdoor floors and areas that will be exposed to lots of sunlight. Concrete stains are often used instead of other floor coatings, such as epoxy. A garage epoxy floor, for example, will last for a few years before it begins to chip, but stained concrete will last even longer. 

Concrete stain colors vary depending on which kind of stain you choose. Acid-based stains chemically react with the limestone in concrete and can be used to create rustic-looking finishes or a decorative marbling effect. A concrete acid stain is ideal for creating neutral tones and shades of blue or green. Water-based stains have color pigments that penetrate concrete and can be combined with a wide range of colors to create custom shades to match the vision you have for your property. 

What Is Concrete Dye?

Concrete dyes are water or solvent-based and are ideal for indoor floors. Both concrete dye powder and liquid can be diluted to create a watercolor effect or used at full strength to create more vibrant tones. Solvent-based concrete dyes are made up of smaller particles that penetrate concrete once they are applied, creating vibrant color saturation. The color of the dye seeps into the pores of the concrete and is almost as long-lasting as a concrete stain. One of the downsides of using concrete dye is that there is little room for error because the dye is absorbed so quickly. 

The Pros & Cons

Although it can seem challenging to choose between stains and dyes, weighing the pros and cons can help you choose between them. 

Concrete Stain 

Pros

  • UV stable, good for outdoor areas
  • Can be used to create marbled and other decorative finishes 
  • Long-lasting
Cons

  • More expensive than concrete dye
  • Requires specialized equipment 
  • Acid stains have VOC emissions

 

Concrete Dye

Pros

  • Less expensive than concrete stains
  • Easier to apply, can be done as a DIY project 
  • Can be used for polished concrete floors
Cons

  • Will fade with exposure to sunlight, not ideal for outdoor floors
  • Not ideal for marbling or other designs

 

The Stain Is Where It’s At!

As a company that specializes in creating beautiful custom floors, we are confident that we can help bring the vision you have for your commercial or residential property to life. When it comes to creating long-lasting decorative concrete floors, we recommend and stand by concrete stains. Concrete stains are a classic choice and worthwhile investment that increases the value of your property. At Paradigm we are proud of our professional portfolio of work and our reputation for integrity. If you are considering transforming your floors and want to upgrade your property with a stylish new look, contact us today!

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