Concrete stains have been around a long time, and they are becoming a popular flooring finish that is being incorporated into the styles and designs of today’s homes. Stained concrete floors are unique, interesting, long-lasting … and so easy to maintain!

Reactive chemical stains (water based acidic mixture) contain metallic salts that react with the lime content in concrete.  When the stain is applied, it forms a permanent bond with the concrete and the finish won’t peel or chip since it’s integrated into the concrete by the process.  The result is dramatic, variegated, and translucent color tones in reds, browns, and tans.  Reactive chemical stains are the perfect choice if your concrete is new.

Nonreactive water-based acrylic stains don’t rely on a chemical reaction for the color.  These stains penetrate the concrete surface and the color pigment is deposited into the open pores of the concrete. The result is a more opaque and uniform surface finish.  If your concrete slab is older, has had a lot of traffic and possible surface damage, you’ll want to select a nonreactive stain that will hide those imperfections and provide a more uniform finish.

Old carpet glue, holes from carpet tack strips, household stains, etc. will define the end result.  Grinding the existing surface can help to mitigate some of the effects, however, they won’t entirely disappear and will add to the interest of the finished product.  So, if you like a lot of interest and character in your floor, reactive stains will certainly accomplish that.  If you prefer a more consistent, conservative finish, you will want to select a nonreactive stain.