Concrete Stain or Paint?
People are constantly amazed as just how versatile concrete is and at just how many different finishes we can offer them. From polished concrete floors to driveway pavers, there are so many choices depending on both your needs and your personal tastes. As well as the potential for different textures and patterns, more and more people are asking us about colored concrete. As the best concrete contractors in Northern Virginia, we can help you navigate through the different options available and which one will suit your location best.
Water Based Concrete Staining
There are two types of concrete stains available for you to choose. Stains are easier to apply and dry faster than concrete paint, but they do not offer any real protection to your concrete surface. Stains are applied after the surface has been thoroughly cleaned to ensure any specks of dirt or other debris do not affect the finished look. A water based stain will need sealant applied to it once it has dried, both to protect the surface as a whole and to prevent the stain or paint from fading. Water based concrete stains come in a wide variety of colors.
Acid-Based Concrete Staining
Your other option is to choose an acid based concrete stain. As the name suggests, this version contains an acid, hydrochloric acid to be exact. So, great care needs to be taken when applying it. It can cause skin and lung irritation. As professionals, and with years of experience, our team always uses proper safety equipment when applying this stain. Acid-based concrete stains work by penetrating the uppermost layer of your concrete and then reacting with the hydrated lime in the concrete. Once the reaction has happened, the stain becomes a part of your concrete floor--not just a thin coating--and won’t chip or fade.
The big advantage of concrete paint is that it completely encases your concrete surface and will also protect it. The disadvantage is that it requires a lot of preparation work, including degreasing the surface, then cleaning with a special acid to remove any chemicals. Then washing. As with the acid based stain, this stage of the process needs to be done with great care while wearing safety equipment. Once the surface has been properly cleaned, the final stage of preparation is to apply a primer/sealer to protect the concrete from moisture. Once this stage is completed, our team will be ready to apply the actual concrete paint.
For certain locations, such as garage or showroom floors, there is another option. A two-part epoxy paint that does not require the same level of preparation as standard concrete paint. With this option, the floor just needs a thorough cleaning before application. There are various options for the design of your finish, including colors and aggregates. As with some of the other choices, epoxy can be dangerous to work with, so our professionals always work with safety in mind.