Concrete Stain vs. Concrete Dye: What’s the Difference?

Concrete stain and dye are not the same thing. Though the results might look similar at first, the long-term effects are vastly different, especially if they were applied to outdoor concrete.

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When you’re ready to move beyond boring, dull gray and decorate your concrete, deciding on either concrete stain or dye depends on the effect you are envisioning and the type of concrete structure you’re renovating.

All About Dyes

Dyes are a pigmented material that penetrate the concrete surface. They’re a popular concrete refinishing material because they are easy to apply as a DIY project. Dye is low in VOCs and does not require a wide array of specialized equipment. Many are water-based and easily applied with a sprayer, roller, brush or sponge.

Another great benefit of dye is the virtually unlimited color options. You can choose literally any color since the dye is fully customizable. The only problem? Dye isn’t UV stable. It will fade in just a few months, making it not the best choice for outdoor concrete.

Also, you won’t see much variation with concrete dye. It usually only produces a monotone color, unlike the variations and affects you can achieve with staining.

After the dye is applied, most manufacturers recommend applying a coat of sealer to lock in the color and protect the surface. This may have to be reapplied on a regular basis.

Different Types of Stains

Concrete stain is a much more detailed, specialized type of application. You can opt for either penetrating or acid-based stain. Penetrating stains are usually water-based and can be combined with other colors to create a unique shade.

Acid stains take the quality up a notch or two. This type of refinishing effort chemically reacts with the concrete, generating a natural-looking appearance. Some projects turn out looking almost like marble. Since acid stains require professional skill and special equipment to apply, they are slightly more expensive. However, since they are able to stand up to UV rays and regular, weather-related wear and tear, they are the best option to upgrade your outdoor concrete surfaces.

Which Is Right for Your Project?

The setting matters most when it comes to selecting the concrete stain or dye, but the most important fact to keep in mind is that concrete isn’t boring. It’s your blank canvas! Whether indoors or outdoors, you can use your concrete to exhibit your personality and design preferences.

Trust the Experts

Packman’s Coatings is Utah’s resident concrete stain expert and we aren’t afraid to brag about it! We have been transforming dull, gray concrete for over a decade. Our years of experience make us the right skilled contractor to choose for your concrete revitalization project. We want to hear about your ideas, and we’ll bring our own dash of creativity to provide you with plenty of options. Let’s talk details!