Stained Concrete

Stained Concrete is fast becoming a cost effective alternative to tile or carpet because of the beautiful finishes that can be achieved. Not only does stained concrete reduce the amount of airborne allergens that are associated with carpet, but provides an elegant aged look that is a great conversation piece. 

Types of Stain

When it comes to staining concrete there are several types of stain that can be used depending on the application.


Acid Based Stains

Acid based stains are the most common among the concrete stains. Most acid stains are a mixture of water, hydrochloric acid, and acid-soluble metallic salts. They work by penetrating the surface and reacting chemically with the hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide) in the concrete. The acid in the stain lightly etches the surface, allowing the metallic salts to penetrate more easily. Once the stain reacts, it becomes a permanent part of the concrete and won't fade, chip off, or peel away. Like stains for wood, acid-based stains are translucent and the color they produce will vary depending on the color and condition of the substrate they are applied to. Each concrete slab will accept the stain in varying degrees of intensity, creating natural color variations that bring character and distinction to each project. What acid stains don't offer is a broad color selection. You'll mostly find them in a limited array of subtle earth tones, such as tans, browns, terra cottas, and soft blue-greens. To see complete step by step instructions visit Kemiko's website or Kemiko’s Acid Stain Color Chart.

DIY Rating - 5*


Water Based Stains

Water based stains, unlike acid stains, are not reactive and provide topical colorant. They come as a concentrate that gets mixed with water making them more user friendly than acid based stains. They can be applied to give an opaque finish or can produce a transparent look similar to that of acid stains. Concrete artists enjoy using water based stains because the colors provide a truer finish. A leading manufacturer of water based stains is Smith Paints. To find out more, visit Smith Paints or see their Color Chart

Water based stains can be applied via airbrush, high volume low pressure unit (HVLP), production gun, pump (bug) sprayer, sea sponge and traditional bristle brush. For best results, create a “mist” of Smith's Color Floor on the intended surface.
DIY Rating - 2*


Acetone Based Stains

Acetone based stains contain pigment that is mixed with a penetrating solvent to color concrete surfaces. A small container of liquid pigment is mixed with one gallon or quart of acetone and can be applied through a HVLP gun or a sprayer that is fitted with acetone resistant gaskets. Acetone base stains can be used in conjunction with acid based stains to touch up any areas where the stain may not have penetrated. See the Kolour Dye Color Chart or browse Kolour Dye products.
DIY Rating - 3*

*We have developed the following rating scale based on the difficulty of the installation and steps involved. For those of you who are venturesome DIYers, this scale may help you rethink that project you had in mind and contact one of our trusted installers.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Simple       Not Rocket Science,
Not 1 + 1
        Call the Contractor