What’s the Difference Between Stained and Dyed Concrete Flooring?

If you’ve chosen decorative concrete flooring for your home or business, you’re going to be given a few choices for color, texture, and finish. When choosing how to color your concrete flooring, you’ll hear about acid- and water-based stains, as well as acetone dyes. Each of these is a viable and durable method for coloring decorative concrete flooring, but you’re probably wondering what the differences are and how you can decide which will be right for you and your concrete floors.

Acid based stains change the color of the concrete by reacting with the salts and minerals in it. They create a translucent effect, rather than an opaque finish, and the look will often vary, creating a marbled and textured appearance for your flooring. Of the two types of stains, acid stains are traditionally lower maintenance than water stains.

Water based stains sometimes require new applications every 2-5 years to fight against fading. However, when you choose a quality water based stain, like SunH20 from Sundek, you’ll be less likely to need any reapplications, especially if you choose one of their concrete sealers to waterproof and weatherproof your concrete flooring.

Both water and acid stains come with a certain amount of unpredictability. Because the results are dependent on either chemical reactions or the variations in the concrete itself.  They do not always produce exactly the same colors. However, if done properly, this can actually be a benefit. If, however, you’re depending on getting exactly the right color, a dye may be the way to go.

Sundek makes a dye that can be used with either acetone or water. When used with acetone, it creates a more opaque, even color, much like the effect achieved by painting but more durable and permanent. When mixed with water instead of acetone, this dye gives a more washed out and varied look, which can imitate the look of marble or other stones.

Both stains and dyes can be used with stencils to create a pattern over all or part of your floor. You can add a multi-colored logo to the front entrance of your business using decorative concrete flooring, or you can make a stamped concrete floor appear to be made of limestone or marble.

These methods of coloring your decorative concrete flooring can be used together or separately, depending on the effect you want to create. Talk to your concrete dealer about your color options, and they’ll give you recommendations for the best way to get a polished or textured concrete floor in the color and/or pattern you want.