Concrete has graduated from grimy warehouse flooring to a trendy interior design option. However, while natural concrete certainly has natural beauty, it can also make your home look like, well, a parking lot. All it takes to change that is a splash of color.
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If you want to color your concrete, you can choose from a few different methods. Here’s a closer look at the specifics of each one to help you pick the best option for your needs.
This type of color treatment relies on a chemical reaction between the staining agent and the concrete itself. After applying this solution, the stain penetrates the concrete, causing it to change colors.
Chemical stains are the best way to color concrete.
Every concrete floor reacts with the stain differently, which gives you a completely unique and beautiful finish. The color is also permanent. No amount of cleaning or wear and tear will cause it to fade.
However, your color options are mostly limited to earth-tones with this option. Since it doesn’t create a cover over the existing concrete, it will also show any previous imperfections in the floor.
Water-based stains are similar to chemical options, but they have a much wider color range. You can choose from neutral colors to bright shades of blues or reds. This treatment can also be more opaque than chemical stains, which will help hide impurities in the concrete.
If you want something that will last just as long as chemical stains but prefer more color choices, you should try water-based staining.
The dye solution coats the top of the concrete and causes it to change colors. However, it doesn’t capture the beautiful uniqueness of stain treatments. Concrete dye tends to make the floor look a bit more artificial, especially because you can pick brighter color options.
This method works best on polished concrete. If you want something that fits your concrete just how it is, you might want to stick with a stain.
Epoxy does change the color of your floor, but it covers the concrete in a layer of resin. Because of this, your concrete floor won’t look like concrete anymore. It will have a different texture and feeling. While you can choose from a wide range of color options with epoxy, you should avoid it if you want to keep the natural appearance of your concrete.
Staining your concrete is a fairly quick and simple job, but you still need to be prepared, especially if you’re staining the concrete in your commercial building. You’ll need to empty the room of all furniture and items in advance, so you may want to switch up your work schedule or let your employees work from home for a few days.
Here’s what you can expect during the job.
The professional staining team will start by giving your concrete floor a good cleaning. This will remove any dirt or grime that’s gathered on the surface so it won’t show through the finish later.
Next, the team will apply the first layer of stain with a spray gun or a brush. They’ll block off entrances and put boundaries along the walls to avoid splattering any color on other surfaces.
Once the first layer is done, you have to wait for it to cure. After about 15 minutes, the stain will be dry to the touch, but that doesn’t mean it’s done curing. Give it at least 20 hours to finish, and follow the installer’s instructions about walking on/touching it.
Depending on the color you chose and the shade you want, you may have to apply another layer of stain after the curing process. If you have to apply more stain, you don’t have to wait the full 24 hours between coats. Instead, a few hours, such as five or six, should be enough.
Next, the installers will rinse the floor to remove any excess stain from the surface. If you chose a chemical stain, they’ll then neutralize it with ammonia and do a second, final rinse.
The last part of the project is sealing the surface. This will ensure the color treatment stays in good condition, and it will also help protect your concrete from damage.