Stained Concrete

Stained Concrete

Custom Colors - Interior and Exterior

Stained Concrete

About the Service

  • Commercial & Residential
  • Interior & Exterior
  • New & Existing Concrete
  • Custom Colors
  • Low Sheen & High Gloss options
  • Custom Patterns & Designs
Classic Concrete Design provides custom concrete staining installations working closely with both Homeowners and Commercial Clients, delivering a finished product that meets both functional and aesthetic specifications.
To ensure customer satisfaction and proper implementation, an on-site consultation is paramount to discuss our process, details and address our customer's goals and expectations.

Concrete Dyes

Concrete dyes are becoming more and more popular now that they have become mainstream. The dyes are much more predictable “color wise” than their Acid stain counterparts. They can also be layered and controlled.

How Concrete Dyes Work

Essentially, concrete dyes are translucent, penetrating color solutions. Unlike acid-based stains, they do not react chemically with concrete. Instead, they contain very fine coloring agents that penetrate into the concrete surface. Most dyes are packaged in concentrated form, allowing flexibility in the end color. They can be used full strength to attain greater depth of color or diluted with water or solvents to produce paler shades or simply a light wash of color. You can also intermix different colors of dye to produce your own custom hues.

When to Use a Concrete Dye

Concrete dyes can further enhance your chemical staining projects and open up a whole new set of design options. The primary reason for using dyes is flexibility to obtain colors not possible with chemical stains. When concrete dyes are combined with chemical staining, there are no limitations from a predetermined color palette.
But dyes have a multitude of other applications as companions on chemical staining projects. Artisans have used them to:

Enhance stain colors in areas of a slab where the stain is not reacting with the concrete and the color needs to be intensified.
Add visual texture and depth to a concrete surface or cementitious topping.
Shift color from subtle earth tones to vibrant hues.
Build layers of color.
Soften areas where the chemical stain has produced an overly bright tone.

Concrete Dye Limitations

Dyes, like chemical stains, are intended to enhance rather than disguise the surface. They will not hide cracks, blemishes, or other flaws. Nor will they mask an underlying color. Dyes are transparent, so you really can’t do any color correction with them.

You should also expect variations and inconsistent color with dyes, even when applying them to the same surface. But most people find these variations desirable because they result in a more natural, mottled appearance.

Concrete Dyes – Surface Protection and Maintenance

Although dyes are formulated to penetrate into the concrete, it is still necessary to protect dyed and stained surfaces from wear and contaminants by applying a sealer.

We suggest treating stained and sealed concrete floors with the same care and precautions as hardwood flooring.

Avoiding sliding of heavy objects across the surface and frequent dust mopping to remove grit an abrasive debris is key.

Acid Staining

Unlike concrete dyes chemical (acid stain) staining colors the concrete by way of a reactive oxidation process with free lime calcium residing in the concrete. Acid stains are limited in color options and usually less predictable in color outcome when compared to dyes due to their natural formulations with acid soluble metallic salts and how they react with the concrete. Chemical staining creates a one of a kind floor that can not be duplicated. The overall effect lends a warm, inviting feeling with exquisite drifts of translucent color shadings like that of natural stone. Each concrete surface will accept the stains differently based on chemical makeup, age, porosity, mix design, texture, ambient conditions and initial color of the substrate. The stains react chemically at the surface, penetrating and leaving unique permanent color effects. This is a stain, not a film build coating, it will never peel, crack or chip.

Depending on application techniques acid stains can produce a vibrant or muted, multi- hued mottled look satisfying a variety of tastes and styles. Preferably, an inconspicuous area for testing samples is a good idea. Volume of stain needed and color options can be considered at this point. Although, due to the nature of this process, the samples sometimes prove to be deceptive and final results can vary in color. Remember, this reaction is unique to each concrete surface, expect color tones to be consistently inconsistent. Once stained and sealed, a permanent, low maintenance work of art has been created to be admired by many! Be prepared to rejoice the outcome whatever it might be! There are several standard colors available which can be intermixed, layered or diluted to achieve different looks. Please see our color samples page. If a more consistent look is desired, there are other options and products that can be used, but nothing else will produce the character or alluring sensation of an acid stained floor.

The key to success with stained concrete is working with a subcontractor who has extensive practical experience with both the staining of concrete and working with general contractors. We understand your issues. We are professional artists by training and experience. We are also fully licensed and bonded professional subcontractors and have worked on a very wide variety of new and remodel construction jobs. We would be happy to refer you to some of the contractors with whom we have worked who can vouch for our professionalism and integrity.

If acid staining is in your plans for a project, we encourage you to involve us as early as possible to be sure the slab is properly specified. Job scheduling needs to account for stain-penetration time, post-stain cleaning and drying times, and clear seal and waxing times. Even a tiny 100 square-foot job will take four days, due to these factors. It is also important to know how to protect the floor when the other trades are on the site.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why do people choose stained concrete?

Stained concrete appeals to many people who want to achieve unique decorative effects for a reasonable cost. Stain can be used to create an infinite array of colors and special effects on both interior and exterior surfaces. Concrete stain does more than simply add color. Rather than produce a solid, opaque effect like paint or colored coatings, stains permeate the concrete to infuse it with rich, deep, translucent tones. Some stain verbiage will use adjectives such as "antiqued," "variegated," or "mottled" to describe the distinctive look. Even when treated with the same staining product in the same shade, no two concrete floors or walls will look alike due to factors such as the composition and age of the concrete and surface porosity.

Q. Can all concrete be stained?

Both acid and water-based stains can be applied to new or old and plain or integrally-colored concrete. They can also be used both indoors and out, on everything from concrete floors to pool decks, patios and driveways. The most important consideration is the condition of the surface. If the concrete is covered by grime, glues, paint, coatings, curing membranes or sealers that inhibit the stain from soaking in, the stain won't be able to penetrate and achieve full color development without mechanically preparing the surface first.

Q. What are my color options?

Classic Concrete Design offers several vibrant stain colors to choose from. Please see our color sample page.

Q. How do I choose the right stain color?

Color choice is often dictated by personal preference or by a desire to match or complement an existing color scheme, such as staining a concrete floor to mirror the same tones as a paint color on a wall, or the stone on a fireplace. Because stain color is permanent, many homeowners opt for neutral tones, such as golden-tans, browns, grays and greens.

Q. What special effects are possible with stained concrete?

Depending on the color and application techniques used, stained concrete can be applied to achieve almost any look you desire; it provides a lot of color/texture variation.

Q. What are the differences between acid stains and water-based stains?

Acid-based concrete stains are made up of inorganic metallic salts dissolved in an acid and water solution. They penetrate into the surface and react chemically with the concrete to form a permanent bond. The color they impart is translucent rather than opaque, resulting in deep, rich tones and attractive marbling effects. Non-reactive water-based stains (typically a blend of acrylic polymers and pigments) fill the pores of the concrete surface to produce a colored film or coating to give a vibrant translucent finish. The key difference is that no chemical reaction takes place, so the color is more consistent. These products are also low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and safer to apply because they are free of solvents and acids.

Q. How much does stained concrete cost?

The cost of staining will vary considerably depending on the complexity of the stain application, surface prep requirements, and the size of the project.

Q. Does stained concrete fade?

Because stains penetrate into the concrete surface, their color is durable and long-lasting. When applied to properly prepared concrete, the color will not fade, chip, or peel away.

Q. How do I maintain stained concrete?

Although concrete stain is permanent and won't flake off like paint, it penetrates only the top layer of the concrete surface and will eventually wear away as the surface is worn by traffic or weather exposure. To prolong stain life, you should protect exterior stained concrete surfaces with a clear sealer and interior floors with a good floor wax. To keep your stained concrete looking its best, you will also need to clean it periodically by dry dust mopping and occasional wet mopping with a neutral-pH cleaner.

Concrete Staining Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary

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