Stains create a unique mottled, variegated appearance on concrete. Acid stains are water based acidic solutions that contain metallic salts that react with the concrete’s free lime. The acid opens the concrete’s surface pores and allows the metallic salts to penetrate. The resulting color will not chip off or peel and is UV stable. Acid stains typically come in approximately 8 earth tone colors in the black, brown and blue/green families.
Stains are also available in water based formulas. Water based versions offer a wider range of more vibrant colors.
Dyes are finer in particle size than stains and allow for easier penetration of color. They can be used alone or in conjunction with stains to provide a larger palette of colors.
Dyes are typically more vibrant in colors and can be used full strength of diluted to create different shades. Dyes work extremely well with polished concrete indoors but do not work outdoors as they are not UV stable. Dyes are applied to structurally sound concrete and can be blended and diluted to achieve a wide range of colors. Here is a color chart that you can enlarge by clicking to see the different options.