Differences in Stain Types Used for Stained Concrete Countertops

Posted on February 4, 2022 by Brent Phillips

Finishing Stained Concrete

As concrete is used in a wide variety of applications, stained concrete is an excellent way to customize and design your home while giving a new look and life to your concrete countertops. Regardless if your concrete surfaces are indoors, outdoors, for commercial or residential use, stained concrete is very popular for its durability and customizable features. Stained concrete’s appeal is related to its unique coloration. No stained concrete surface is the same as there are different factors within the concrete itself that have effects on the stain.

Factors that affect the look of concrete stains:

  • The original coloring within the concrete
  • The ingredients used to make the concrete 
  • Type and size of the aggregate used to make the concrete
  • Finishing methods
  • Even the age, moisture and weather conditions content of the concrete when you apply the stain

Acid vs. Water Based Stained Concrete

Once you have determined that stained concrete is the right option for your needs, it’s time to find the type of stain best suited for your concrete surfaces. Acid and water based stains are better suited for different types of applications so it’s important to keep in mind the conditions it is going to be exposed to such as the amount of wear and tear or UV light it receives per day. Depending on the functional requirements that are demanded from the stained concrete countertop, this will help determine which type of stain to use.  While there are several differences between acid and water based stains, they are all the result of how each type interacts with the concrete.

Acid-based Stains

  • Chemically reactive
  • Soaks deep into the concrete’s pores and chemically bonds with the minerals found in the concrete
  • No color layer, permanently alters the actual color of the concrete by chemically interacting with the natural coloration
  • Color ranges are natural and earthy tones
  • Very durable and resistant to chipping, flaking, peeling, and color deterioration
  • Creates beautifly luminous, semi-translucent surfaces
  • End results will vary depending on the components of the concrete itself, creating a one of a kind stained concrete countertop or floor
  • The longer the stain interacts and permeates with your concrete countertop or floor, the deeper the color becomes
  • Great for indoor or outdoor use as well as areas with considerable amounts of traffic
  • Acid stains last for the lifespan of the concrete
  • Routine concrete maintenance also helps protect the colors

Water-based Stains

  • Acts a bit more like a type of paint
  • Bonds with the surface layer pores of the concrete
  • Doesn’t permanently change the color
  • Color ranges are bolder and more vibrant
  • Less durable against wear and tear
  • Better suited for indoor concrete surfaces, rooms that don’t receive a lot of sunlight, or as accents for special features or borders
  • More opaque and covers up the natural coloration of the concrete
  • Prone to color fading and surface degrading
  • Has to be sealed in order to protect the color layer

Sealing the Concrete

Sealing not only helps protect and extend the lifespan of the concrete but also helps preserve the coloration after staining. With proper sealing, your concrete surfaces will be protected from moisture while also enhancing the colors. In addition, the sealant gives the colors a glossier and more vibrant appearance.

Long-Lasting, Elegant Stained Concrete Countertops

Homeowners choose stained concrete for their unique coloration and textures as well as durability and easy maintenance. From unique, natural textures to custom decorative effects, enhance and add character to your home’s interior with stained concrete countertops. Even if it has cracks! If you have any questions or want to schedule a consultation, contact us at Cunningham Coating Solutions! We can help determine the type of stain that will fit your needs.

Finishing Stained Concrete