Concrete Stains VS Concrete Dyes: What’s the Difference

Concrete as a material is a generally versatile option that can be applied in different ways for either residential or commercial spaces. When one first thinks of concrete, it is not generally considered an overall creative option to go for. With the right solutions, however, there are different ways that you can visually enhance the material and apply different aesthetics to blend with or compliment any room.

There are two options that you can go for if you are looking to be creative with your concrete. That is either to have it stained or to dye it. Both options can provide creative benefits for your concrete but they also provide different features that need to be considered.

What Makes Concrete Stain and Concrete Dye Differ From the Other

Concrete stains and concrete dyes are not just options that you can alternate between when it comes to visually enhancing your concrete. Each material holds its properties that are best applied in different ways depending on the concrete project.

What Defines A Concrete Stain

The first thing to know about concrete stains is that they are generally classified into three categories: film-forming, penetrating and acid stains. Each one provides a variety of colours, tints, shades and textures, but each uses different technology to create distinct decorative looks.

The oldest and often used type of stain among the three is film-forming stains. Film-forming stains resemble paint because it simply coats or lays over the top of the concrete surface which will give an aesthetic appearance. However, it can end up with stains, peels, and flakes over a short period from exposure to chemicals, traffic, weather, etc.

Penetrating stains on the other hand is a more long-lasting option. Typically water-based, this stain is designed to penetrate deeper into the pores of concrete and bond to the concrete. With an array of tints and stains, penetrating stains make for a durable option and when not tinted with colour, offers a translucency that does not hide surface defects or flaws. For something that offers a range of colour and texture options while providing extra protection for your concrete, acid stains are the best option.

In comparison to the other stain options, acid stains do not rely on colour pigments to alter the decorative appearance of concrete. Rather, they chemically react with the minerals in the concrete to generate a natural-looking marble appearance by physically etching the surface. Whatever stain you decide on, it can make for a reliable and stylish feature for your concrete.

What Defines Concrete Dye

Concrete dyes are a type of material that can be either water or solvent-based, and are typically available as a powder, in solution, or as a liquid concentrate. Depending on manufacturing can be dispersed in a solvent or water. The material transmits colour by penetrating concrete or other porous cementitious surfaces and generally do not have a chemical reaction with concrete materials.

Rather, concrete dyes are nonreactive and smaller in particle size which allows for easier penetration and colour saturation. This ultimately leaves less residue on the surface, speeding up the application process, and thus leaves a permanent pigment in comparison to a stain. In addition to this, concrete dyes provide a more uniform colour in comparison to stains but are not UV-stable and would fade in the sun in a couple of months, which limits their use to indoor spaces. It is recommended to have the dyes have a sealer applied for better protection.

How to Choose One Over the Other

Both materials may offer different benefits for your concrete project but they also work best in different circumstances. If you are aiming to have an outdoor concrete feature like a concrete driveway or concrete patio, a concrete stain would work best given that it is better able to withstand ultraviolet light and are also less likely to wash away when exposed to the elements. Other than this, it is the best option when you wish to have it mimic another material like marble or aiming to use earthy tones.

Concrete dyes, on the other hand, work best for projects that require a wide range of colours or a unique hue or floor design that calls for a layered, variegated effect. Other than this, concrete dyes are also the best option for a time-constrained concreting project as dyes leave no residue behind, allowing for quick cleanup and overall faster application.

What Help Can Cranbourne Concreters Provide You With

Concrete stains and dyes may be beneficial applications for your concrete for different projects but the best way to end up with quality results is with a professional service group. By choosing Cranbourne Concreters, you can gain reliable professionals that can deliver budget-friendly options for all concreting needs with a range of services. Whether you are looking to have stylish and functional concrete with a quality concrete stain or wish to brighten it with a dye, Cranbourne Concreters can help you with any concreting need.


There are many benefits to be gained when you choose to have concrete as a material for any indoor or outdoor project. In terms of style, the best option to enhance the material is to either select a concrete dye or concrete stain. Both materials offer their creative benefits but are best applied for different scenarios such as the need for UV protection or a quick solution to styling your concrete. Either choice you make between concrete dyes and concrete stains can help enhance your concrete project with the right application.

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