SEALING & STAINING
No matter if you have a nice concrete patio or a decorative concrete driveway, you will want to ensure you do whatever you can to keep it attractive and durable for long periods of time. Using concrete sealers can help protect your concrete while offering additional benefits.
Why should I seal my concrete patio or driveway?
1. Inhibits Mold
Concrete is porous, which means that it absorbs moisture. If this moisture doesn’t dry, it will create mold. Mold and mildew can form on concrete that is left wet for extended periods of time. This can cause a green discoloration to appear on your concrete surface. When you seal your concrete, you inhibit mold growth. This helps protect your concrete and keeps it looking better for longer.
2. Increases Durability
When exterior concrete is exposed to the elements, cracking, scaling, and other common concrete problems can occur. However, by sealing your concrete, you enhance the durability of the concrete, which can prevent damage. If you want to ensure that your concrete looks great and works properly, concrete sealer is a wise choice.
3. Extends Life
An average concrete driveway can last 25-30 years, but if it suffers from discoloration or cracking, you may find that you need to replace it sooner than you planned. Concrete sealers can increase the concrete’s longevity. When you seal your concrete, you increase the chance that your concrete lasts for those 25-30 years.
4. Offers Protection
There are many things out there that can damage your concrete, so it’s important to protect it. Sealer can protect your concrete from oil spills and other stains, as well as the sun’s harmful UV rays. Sealer will also lock out moisture, so freezing and thawing will not damage it.
5. Enhances Color When concrete is exposed to the elements, it can become discolored. This can make your concrete application look dingy or old. Topical and integral sealers can keep your concrete’s color intact, as they will protect your concrete from the elements and keep it looking clean and sharp for an extended period of time.
Why do people choose stained concrete?
Stained concrete appeals to many people who want to achieve unique decorative effects for a reasonable cost. Concrete stain does more than simply add color. Rather than produce a solid, opaque effect like paint or colored coatings, stains permeate the concrete to infuse it with rich, deep, translucent tones.
Can all concrete be stained?
Both acid and water-based stains can be applied to new or old and plain or integrally colored concrete. They can also be used both indoors and out, on everything from concrete floors and kitchen counter-tops to patios and driveways. The most important consideration is the condition of the surface. If the concrete is covered by grime, glues, coatings, curing membranes, or sealers that inhibit the stain from soaking in, the stain won't be able to penetrate and achieve full color development.
What are my color options with stained concrete?
Your color options will vary depending on whether you are using an acid or water-based stain. With acid stains, your color choices are a bit limited. If you want to go beyond the subtle drama and subdued color palette of acid staining, water-based acrylic stains will give you a wider spectrum of hues to choose from. Most manufacturers offer dozens of standard colors, including black and white. You can also produce deeper color effects with a stain by applying two coats.
How do I choose the right stain color?
Color choice is often dictated by personal preference or by a desire to match or complement an existing color scheme, such as staining a concrete patio or driveway to mirror other tones. Because stain color is permanent, many homeowners opt for neutral tones, such as light tans, browns, grays and greens. Regardless of what stain colors you choose, be aware of the following caveats:
- With acid-based stains, wide color variations are normal. Surfaces will have a mottled, variegated appearance, and these variations will be emphasized when the final coat of sealer is applied.
- With some acid stain colors, what you see in liquid form may not be what you get once the stain has reacted with the concrete surface. The stain may not reveal its true color until it has been allowed to remain on the concrete for several hours or longer. Always apply the stain to a small test area before covering the entire surface.
- Color effects will generally be more intense on new concrete than on older or weathered concrete.
We provide color charts to help you visualize the options.
What special effects are possible with stained concrete?
Depending on the color and application techniques used, stained concrete can be made to mimic everything from polished marble to tanned leather to natural stone or even stained wood.
What are the differences between acid stains and water-based stains?
Acid-based concrete stains are made up of inorganic metallic salts dissolved in an acid and water solution. They penetrate into the surface and react chemically with the concrete to form a permanent bond. The color they impart is translucent rather than opaque, resulting in deep, rich tones and attractive marbling effects.
Non-reactive water-based stains (typically a blend of acrylic polymers and pigments) fill the pores of the concrete surface to produce a colored film or coating, ranging from translucent to opaque depending on the product. The key difference is that no chemical reaction takes place, so the color is more consistent. Most of these products are also low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and safer to apply because they are free of solvents and acids.
Will the color fade?
Because stains penetrate into the concrete surface, their color is durable and long-lasting. When applied to properly prepared concrete, the color will not fade, chip, or peel away.
Conventional wisdom holds that old concrete, with cracks, surface discoloration, or surface imperfections, must be removed and replaced if improving the look of the concrete is the goal. But there are many options available for transforming that drab concrete patio, driveway, or floor into a new, decorative, colored concrete surface. Plus, you'll save money, conserve resources, and eliminate disposal problems.
Completely resurfacing concrete with a polymer-modified overlay is one way to upgrade the look. If your concrete is in good condition but just needs a facelift, you can also stain it to improve the appearance.