Concrete Stain Types
Choose Your Weapon
There are three primary concrete stain materials you can choose from. As you would expect,all have their pros and cons. Always make sure you buy a penetrating product, NOT a film former! Some products that are advertised as stains are actually glorified paints. Avoid these at all costs!
The acid and aniline dyes are fantastic at producing rich color. The effect is often marbleized or like that of grained leather. These are probably the most costly and require caution during the application. You are working with acids or a base type material.
Solvent based stains are similar to traditional wood stains. They use a hydrocarbon solvent to transport the stain color deep into the concrete. You can actually stain concrete with woodstains - I have done it, but not intentionally! - and they can have a long lasting effect! If you don't believe me, just try it on a little patch of concrete behind an air conditioning compressor. Some solvent stains can change color over time. Be sure to ask about this if you choose to go this route.
Water based and acrylic stains are some of the newest technology. These are very environmentally friendly and allow for some deep earth tones and pastels. Choose a company with a solid track record and experience and you will have a very homeowner friendly product to work with.