3 concrete stain types to consider

3 concrete stain types to consider

If you have a concrete floor at your home that you want to decorate, you might have considered staining your concrete floor or even might be. When browsing the products, you might have noticed that there are many types of stains available these days and they aren’t that clear about what they do or what they are. Every product says they’re the best.

I know it can be annoying to choose in this kind of situation so I’m laying out some basic facts about these products here so you might know what suits your situation the best.

As stated before, concrete stains come in all types these days. While they’re a great way to accentuate your home’s concrete floor, that doesn’t mean just anything will do. The options we’re going to go through here are acid, film-forming, and penetrating stains.

Acid stains

The most know stain is probably the acid stain. It’s been around for a long time and it has a good reputation overall is it’s UV resistant and very stylish way to decorate.

This stain leverages hydrochloric acid (or other acids like muriatic) as a base which allows it to create a translucent finished product. The process usually takes few days so, in that sense, it works out pretty fast.

After the acid reacts with salts and minerals embedded in the concrete, you not only achieve a great aesthetic, you get one that will not crack or peel in the future. Here it might be worth noting that acid stains are reactive as they cause a chemical reaction in the concrete, unlike the other 2 listed here.

As conventional pigment and polymer stains can’t bring about the same look, you can rest assured this concrete stain will provide you with a unique floor in your home. Of course, it can also be used outside as well.

The con side of acid stain is that the colors are limited even when the designs can be all unique. The good thing is that since it’s a chemical reaction in the concrete, it won’t be fading soon or peel off. Also, the colors that are achieved with this type of stain are really deep.

Acid stained floors should be sealed after the staining is done to protect the colors.

Best interior concrete stain will depend on usage

Film-forming stains

Another option is a film-forming concrete stain. Like paint, it forms a coat over the concrete so in a sense it might not be seen as a dye as such. It can still imitate the stain look and as a coat, it protects the concrete under it.

Liquid pigments and soluble polymers are blended together and then an adhesion promoter is added to the mix. This ensures that whether you’re pouring it over a concrete floor or a cement overlay, the final product stays stuck.

It’s one of the main reasons people prefer film-forming concrete stains over other water-based stains on the market. Like acid stains, it brings about a completely unique look that will separate your home from others in the neighborhood.

However, as it can achieve certain results that acid based stains can’t, film forming stains may be the one you end up preferring.

Now it ain’t all sunshine in the film-forming world as it can suffer from the same problems as paints do at some conditions. Since the result is not in the concrete itself, it can peel and flake of like paint does.

You might not need to seal these floors as they are already a film over the concrete. If you have complex decoration done, it might be worth to invest in sealing.

Penetrating concrete stain

Finally, penetrating concrete stains are another popular concrete stain offered by many manufacturers. This liquid can be added to acetone or water before being applied to your concrete floor.

As it penetrates the concrete surface, it is a more lasting solution than the film-forming stain. It can also provide many colors as film-forming stains do, but it might not reach the marble-like look that can be done with acid staining.

If you do penetrating staining with water, your floor will appear in a darker monotone. With acetone, penetrating stains are capable of all kinds of different colors. Just be sure to check from the manufacturer label that the stain can be used with acetone or if it’s one that’s supposed to be a water mix.

You might also have the option of combining it with acid stains, depending on the result you wish to achieve and if it can be combined. All manufacturers might not support this, but there are some that do.

Whichever you choose, penetrating stains enjoy a reputation for drying quickly, so you don’t need to give up your home’s floor for too long.

Aside from concrete, penetrating stains can also be applied to masonry, brick, stucco, and even many kinds of walls. This incredibly versatile option means you can use the same stain throughout your home for a number of different purposes.

Penetrating dyes should be sealed as well as they do not form a coating over the concrete. That means if you have seen the trouble of decorating your floor with this, you should also seal it to protect its value.


Now there are good and bad sides to everything. I hope this helped to open these 3 concrete stain types up, but what is the best concrete stain will still depend on the outcome wanted and the room itself.

As stated, the main thing is to consider the floor and what is the room used for. If it’s in heavy use, something like an acid stain or penetrating stain might be good for it.

When your room floor is on lighter use and you want more deep colors, you might want to decorate with film-forming stains. That way the deeper colors get to be enjoyed far longer.

It ain’t black and white though. In the decoration world and on your property you should do what you like. Things like this, in the end, will come out as how often you have to redecorate.

Also, as stated before, you can try combining different stains and see how it will go. If the result is good, there is the option of sealing as well. Regularly sealing the floor with the correct type of sealer could give it good UV protection and also protection from mechanical wear and tear.

This way, you get to enjoy your floor until you get bored of it.