Stained concrete is one of the most popular applications for transforming concrete slabs. Often referred to as colored concrete, homeowners, designers, and builders are drawn to stained concrete because of the unique outcome that can be achieved combining colors, application techniques, etc., on cement flooring and other substrates. The results are limited only by the creativity of those involved in the stained concrete process.
Because of concrete’s porous qualities and neutral tone concrete is the perfect blank canvas for topically applied color. Using acid-based chemical stains, decorative concrete contractors have been able to achieve rich, earth-toned color schemes resembling natural stone, marble, wood, or even leather, giving a completely custom look to cement floors, concrete driveways, patios, walkways, sidewalks, pool decks, concrete walls, and more.
Most stains are a mixture of water. They work by penetrating the surface and reacting chemically with the hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide) in the concrete. The acid in the stain lightly etches the surface, allowing the metallic salts to penetrate more easily. Once the stain reacts, it becomes a permanent part of the concrete and won’t fade, chip off, or peel away. Like stains for wood, acid-based stains are translucent and the color they produce will vary depending on the color and condition of the substrate they are applied to. Each concrete slab will accept the stain in varying degrees of intensity, creating natural color variations that bring character and distinction to each project. You’ll mostly find them in a limited array of subtle earth tones, such as tans, browns, terra cottas, and soft blue-greens.