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Understanding the Differences Between Concrete Dyes and Stains October 28, 2019

Windham, Windham
Understanding the Differences Between Concrete Dyes and Stains, Windham, Connecticut

Dyes and stains both transform the appearance of concrete. When choosing between colored concrete options, you’ll need to take into account texture, color, and where the concrete is located. If you’re unfamiliar with the differences between stains and dyes, the following guide can help you decide which option is best for your project. 

Concrete Dyes

Colored ConcreteDyes work by slipping into concrete pores. The particle size of dyes is so small that it works its way deep into the concrete surface. This ease of penetration allows the dye to easily and effectively distribute color evenly, leaving little or no residue on the surface. The pigments in dyes don’t react to the concrete so you achieve a better uniformity with dyes than with stains. Though some dyes are made to be UV-resistant, this material works best for enclosed patios or areas with heavy shade. 

Concrete Stains

If you’re looking for a colored concrete that closely matches the look of natural stone like marble or granite, concrete stains are the way to go. While dyes offer uniformity of color, stains give a marbled effect. Stains chemically react to the calcium hydroxide in concrete, giving a textured look.

Stains fall into three different categories: acid, film-forming, and penetrating. Acid stains don’t rely on pigments to impart color, but instead use chemicals to react with the concrete’s minerals and generate a naturally etched appearance. Penetrating stains are more permanent than others, as they seep into the pores of the concrete. Film-forming stains closely resemble paint, as they sit on top of the surface. Over time, this stain type wears down due to foot traffic and the elements. Acid and penetrating solutions are generally UV-stable, which makes them ideal for outdoor use. 



To optimize your colored concrete project, it’s wise to use high-quality material. Builder’s Concrete East in Windham, CT, offers ready-mix concrete made from top-quality materials, making it ideal for every size project from driveways to patios to pools. Visit them online to browse their products or call (860) 456-4111 to discuss your ready-mix concrete needs. 

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