– Acid Stain vs. Water Based Stain –
I get this question all the time… acid stain vs. water based stain, what’s the difference? There are mainly two types of concrete stains, acid based and water based. Both have their qualities and drawbacks. This article should help you decide which is the best choice for your concrete.
Acid stains are by far the best looking. The organic patterning that an acid stain can create is always unique and has a natural stone feel to it. Unfortunately if the concrete is too old the minerals will not react with an acid stain. Newer, non-honed concrete will always get the best patterning and color vibrance from an acid stain. Usually acid stains are more expensive for these reasons: The concrete needs to be neutralized after the acid stain has cured. If the concrete isn’t neutralized any topcoat applied will be destroyed. It also takes more prep work when using acid stains. If you can imagine the product is very acidic and instantly rusts any metal it touches. It can also damage base boards and paint so all of the areas have to be thoroughly masked before application.
Water Based Stains
There are many different types of water based stains. Some come out looking similar to paint and some have a light transparent look. Some water based stains have an acid stain look to them and can be applied in multiple colors to mimic that look even more. Water based stains are usually easier to apply because they’re not acidic and are low in VOCs. That means no chemical gloves or respirators needed. They do not have to be neutralized and some can be fully cured in an hour or two. This makes them more cost effective option when on a tight budget. Water based stains have a more consistent look to them in general. Some people want a consistent color across their concrete so a water based stain would be the right pick for that specific look.
There are other concrete stains like some that are mixed with acetone. Acetone stains have a generic look to them since they don’t migrate deep into the concrete since the acetone evaporates so quickly. The acetone can also cause flash fires when applied to interior spaces. Acetone is also finger nail polish remover so don’t get it on the trim!
A concrete artisan in your area can help you decide on what concrete stain is right for your property. The concrete preparation and picking the right topcoat is just as important as deciding on the right stain. A professional can help you with all of these decisions and more so get started today. If you’re in the greater Treasure Valley area contact Sweet Concrete for all of your concrete staining needs. May the floors be with you!
Click here to see our water based stain color chart.