If you live in a place where the weather can be extreme, such as in Denver, you may have noticed that your concrete floor needs to be treated to increase its durability. Finding the ideal solution can be challenging, so we have narrowed your search by comparing three common options you might have overlooked. Below is a comprehensive guide on concrete staining, epoxy coating, and acid coating to inform your decision.
A concrete stain mainly adds color to the floor while still making it more durable. Therefore, concrete staining should not be confused with painting. While painting results in a thin layer of about 0.005 inches on the concrete surface, stains soak deeper into the concrete for a more lasting effect.
Although all concrete stains come in various tints, shades, textures, and shades, they can be classified under:
It coats the concrete surface to add color and does not need a sealing compound. Since it is only a coating, it is not permanent, and you will need to reapply a concrete sealer every 3-5 years depending on foot traffic, weather, chemicals, or other agents that can cause the film to peel.
As the name suggests, penetrating stains penetrate the concrete’s pores to create a more permanent solution for high traffic areas. They can be applied on top of previously stained or sealed concrete surfaces since the concrete’s age and composition will not negatively affect the outcome. They give the surface a translucent appearance meaning that any flaws on your floor will remain visible. For instance, you are likely to have mold and mildew in summer when the humidity levels are considerably high. Therefore you must remove such bacterial growth before applying penetrating stains.
What Are the Benefits of Concrete Staining?
Whether you want to stick to one color for the entire space or wish every room to have its own theme, concrete staining extends to you the luxury of choosing whichever shade or tint you prefer.
If you go for the penetrating stains, you will have color that will not peel or fade with time. Concrete staining also forms a protective layer on the concrete and reduces the possibility of mold and mildew by creating a water-resistant surface.
Economical Benefits of Concrete Staining
You do not have to start from scratch; you can apply it on a previously stained or sealed concrete floor, making it an economical choice. Concrete stains also help reduce your energy bills by creating thermal insulation, increasing energy efficiency, and lowering power consumption. This benefit is instrumental in a city like Denver because winter and summer temperatures can be too low and high, respectively, compared to other places.
Besides preventing the growth of bacteria and mildew that would be very expensive to remove, concrete staining also makes the floor scratch-resistant, eliminating the need for high maintenance costs. Moreover, cleaning it is easy because all you need is to regularly sweep and mop without worrying if the floor will absorb water or the broom cause scratches.
You are spoilt for choice; from stenciled designs to other visual effects, concrete stains will adhere to your taste. You can as well design the concrete to complement any existing décor. This aesthetic appeal comes in handy when putting your house up for sale, especially in very competitive real estate markets like Denver, where home prices have gone up by tens of thousands in 2021.
Where Best to Use Concrete Staining
Concrete staining brings durability. Thus, it is mainly used in spaces that have lots of heavy machinery and foot traffic, such as:
- Outdoor spaces
Acid stains chemically react with the concrete’s minerals and etch the surface to create a natural marbling look. They come in a limited variety of colors that comprise browns, tans, soft blue-greens, and terra coats. They are more expensive, and their application demands more experience and safety precautions.
Benefits of Acid Staining
Since the acid’s chemicals react with the concrete, you can be sure that the resulting surface will be permanent. It, therefore, will be ideal for factories, schools, and other areas that experience high traffic and pressure from heavy machinery,
Does Not Limit Your Options
If you feel the acid-stained concrete floor is no longer meeting your needs, you can install another floor on top. Of course, the more flawless it is, the higher the chances of you not requiring any other preparation before installing your new floor.
The great thing about chemical reactions is that none has the same result; therefore, it is the ideal choice if you are going for a unique look. However, you will have to engage a professional for a perfect appearance that suits the textures you want. Besides, a professional assess the result’s achievement because the concrete floor’s age plays a significant role.
Acid stains have a beautiful outcome beginning with the range of colors you wish to incorporate in your space to the patterns and textures you can have.
What You Should Consider When Choosing Acid Staining
On average, the entire staining process can take 48 hours. Although some prefer leaving the acid stain to penetrate for a day, the longer you allow it to penetrate, the deeper the hue will be. Most of the labor will be spent rinsing and neutralizing after the stain has been applied because the acid stain leaves a physical residue that must be removed before any sealer is applied. If the staining is used on new concrete, you must wait for the curing process to be complete; it takes about 21 to 28 weeks.
If you are interested in having a bright-colored space, acid staining will not be an excellent pick because all the manufacturers have limited your options to earth tones.
While having a unique look is great if that is what you are looking for, sometimes it may not work so well with spaces that require uniformity. At times even if you use the same color and application method, the result will be different.
Epoxy coating is a resin and a polymer hardener mixture combined and then applied on a concrete surface within a limited period to prevent it from hardening before use. Once applied, the epoxy chemical reacts with the concrete to create an adhesive bond. The epoxy coatings vary in thickness. The coating material’s chemical formulation determines the resistance to certain chemicals, while the thickness and physical properties of the coating film will determine the resistance to mechanical loads.
Types of Epoxy Coatings
Solid Epoxy Floor Coating
This coating type is the most recommended since it lasts up to 20 years and can withstand all sorts of impacts from heavy machinery and traffic. Professionals use hardeners to dry up the epoxy floor coating in solid form when bonding with the concrete. Its thickness is usually 2mm maximum, and it is sensitive to temperatures. Thus, professionals recommend using it in areas with no vapor migration.
Water-Based Epoxy Floor Coating
It is usually the type you will find in a DIY kit. Further, it spreads thinly to give your surface a protective coating resistant to abrasion, chemicals, stains, and water. It does not last as long as the solid epoxy floor coating. However, you can apply as many coatings as you will need since it is cheaper.
Solvent-Based Epoxy Floor Coating
It acts as a floor sealer and primer but is not recommended because most of the solvents available contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that can have short and long-term adverse effects on your health. They are usually thinner and easy to apply with the film’s thickness being determined by the percentage of solid components; they usually contain 30% to 70% solids.
Benefits of Epoxy Coating
Applying an epoxy floor coating will cost between $3 and $10 per square foot, which is quite affordable than the $5- $12 price tag that a high-end concrete staining will cost you.
Professionals use epoxy coatings in both residential and commercial projects. Besides, it can be customized to result in a unique design that caters to your preferences.
Ready in Few Hours
Unlike staining, which will take two days for the staining process to be complete, an epoxy coating only needs 12 hours to dry, and you can walk on it within 24 hours. However, curing takes up to 7 days.
Just like stained concrete, applying an epoxy coating will create a long-lasting protective film that will withstand heavy impact. It can last nearly half a lifetime making it a perfect choice for outdoor spaces and factories where heavy machinery is operating.
There are various ways you can maintain your concrete floor. Now that you know what epoxy coating, acid staining, and concrete staining involve, you can make the right decision for your space. As discussed, having a professional do the prepping and consultation for you will ensure that you end up with a high-end outcome that will consequently be cost-effective.
Learn More About the Differences Between Concrete Staining vs. Acid Staining vs. Epoxy Coating
Whichever method you choose, Miles High Coatings has over 12 years of experience in all types of coating and painting projects. We serve the Front Range from Denver to Fort Collins. Reach out to us for a free consultation so we help you determine which coating suits your project. We can then give you a free estimate of the treatment method you decide.