A concrete surface can be given color using a variety of methods
and materials. Wet concrete can be given color by adding pigments
to the mix or by broadcasting materials over the surface of freshly
poured concrete. Cured concrete can be given color through the
use of acid stains, water-based stains or oil-based stains. Color
can be achieved through the use of pigmented sealers and even
through the use of certain botanicals such as turmeric or coffee.
Concrete by Design works only with cured concrete (and as a rule uses primarily acid/patina stains) and there are several reasons for this. First, unlike water-based stains or add-mixtures, acid stains yield a unique mottled pattern where in color drifts into lighter and darker areas giving a beautiful marbled effect. Acid stain penetrates the surface of the concrete much more deeply than water or oil-based products making it much more durable than other applications. Rather than coating the surface of the concrete, acid staining is a chemical reaction. A solution of water, acid, and inorganic salts reacts with minerals in the concrete. A beautiful array of colors can be achieved through this reaction ranging from, tan, brown, and reddish brown to a variety of blues and greens.
Acid stain will not mask any permanent stains or imperfections in the concrete. If your concrete floor is unsuitable for acid stain, you may want to consider water-based stains. These stains come in a much wider selection of color and many can mask underlying imperfections in the concrete. While these stains do not yield the natural mottling associated with acid stain, many very beautiful effects can be achieved with these products through skilled application and layering of different colors. While water-based stains do not penetrate the surface as deeply as acid stains, an application of an appropriate sealer will yield an almost equally durable surface.