Acid Stain is not a paint or coating agent, rather, it's a coloring process involving a chemical reaction on a cementitious material. A solution made with water, acid and inorganic salts reacts with minerals already present in the concrete, the result of this reaction is color. It works very well on new or old concrete, and we've seen impressive results over decorative polymer overlays as well as self-leveling products. Acid Stain is a very durable product if properly protected with sealer or wax, and it can be applied to both interiors and exteriors.
What makes Acid Stain so attractive? Acid Stain gives concrete a mottled, variegated, marble like look. It creates beautiful colors on concrete, mostly earth tone browns, reddish browns and greens. You can also create your own shades by mixing and matching your available colors, or applying them at different rates. Never expect Acid Stain to be uniform or have an even tone, you'll get different reactions from slab to slab, and even on the same job you may see different coloration patterns.
Acid Stain can be applied to walks, entrances, driveways, living rooms, bathrooms, patios, high traffic areas and even vertically to any cementitious surface
Not every concrete floor is eligible for Acid Stain, though age is not an issue, the shape it's in is. A smooth concrete surface will yield more attractive results than an old worn one. If the concrete is spalled, the aggregate is exposed or has previously been acid etched, the stain may not "take in" and will not look as desired because the aggregate does not react with the stain, only materials in the concrete paste do. On some applications where the surface is textured, as in stamped concrete or stamped overlays, Acid Stain provides even more depth of color, larger selection and realistic look to the surface.
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 customhues. 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. 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.