Acid staining concrete is one of the oldest techniques used to achieve a natural looking colour and marbled looking concrete floor. While this technique can be beautiful, it does have several flaws built into its method that recent advances in chemical and equipment technology have allowed us to avoid.
We find decorative dyes and tints work much better and provide a more predictable outcome as compared to a reactive state like acid stained concrete. The major benefit to using a decorative dye is that the floor does not need to be neutralized with gallons of chemicals and freshwater prior to staining the floor. The other benefit is that because the colour is not dependent on a chemical reaction, we can produce a near exact match, for your vision of colour.
In the past, the benefit to acid stained concrete is that this method would etch the floor while colouring it, creating a process that not only provided the look the end user was going for, but also prepared the surface for an acrylic or urethane sealer.
While these sealers are okay for low traffic areas, they still require frequent maintenance and re-coating because they are thin in nature and will eventually flake off because of the minimal amount of surface preparation achievable by an acid stain.
More advanced technology has lead to a system that allows for staining, hardening, and sealing concrete without the use of cheap sealers or acid stains. This process is commonly referred to as a cream polish or a no grind polish with decorative dye added. The process works like this; first, the floor is machine abraded at approximately a 100 or 200 grit resin, then the floor is hardened and stained using industry recognized staining products that are compatible with chemicals used to harden the concrete. Lastly, the floor is finish polished, sealed and burnished.
If exposed aggregate is desired, the same system can be used, however the first step is to grind the floor prior to going ahead with the process as described above.
The overall benefit of polishing while using dye impregnated hardeners to achieve an acid stained look is that the colour is then locked into the floor rather than precariously placed below a thin layer of low performance sealer.
Colour ranges are much more plentiful with concrete dyes as opposed to acid stains because they are not dependable on the chemical reaction with the concrete. You can see a full range of decorative dye colours by clicking here.
While the look may be what you’re going for, the process might not be the best option depending on your planned use of space. Contact one of our concrete dye professionals today to discuss weather any of the methods above are suitable for your space.