Acid Stained Concrete
Acid stained concrete is not a dyeing or pigment-base coloring systems, but a chemical reaction. A mixture of water, salts and acid is applied to the concrete surface and later neutralized by a basic solution of ammonia and water. This chemical reaction with the existing minerals (primarily lime) in the concrete creates new colors on the concrete surface. Due to inconsistencies in the surface of concrete, acid staining creates a variegated or mottled appearance that is unique to each slab. The thickness of this color change ranges from 1/16 to 1/32 of an inch. Exterior concrete surfaces may not color as well as interior surfaces because the environment has leached or percolated out the mineral content. As well, any exposed aggregate (rocks) in worn concrete will not accept staining.
Chemicals commonly used in acid staining include Hydrochloric acid, Iron chloride and Sodium bicarbonate.
Water Based Staining
Water Based Stains are similar to acid based stains in the sense that one can still achieve a translucent look like acid; some stains are able to achieve an opaque color and/or a translucent effect. The main difference is that acid stains react to the concrete and change the physical make up of the concrete material, whereas water based stains are more of a “coating” that bonds with the concrete. There are many variations of water based stains that have come into the decorative concrete industry that perform in a number of different ways. Some are polymer based, acrylic and epoxy.
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