A lot of people tend to use the words stain and dye interchangeably. If you are looking to refinishing your concrete floors it’s important to know the difference between stains and dyes.
The Science Behind Stained & Dyed Concrete!
Stains are great for outdoor applications because they are UV resistant. Another benefit is that they are truer to their appearance on the color chart and can achieve a more solid look. Stains are made from pigment and do not dissolve completely in water or solvents.They are micro ground to very small particles and the solvent caries these particles into the substrate, in our case, concrete. Since stain does not penetrate as deep as dye and sits more on top of the concrete it cannot be used when diamond polishing concrete.
Dyes create a much more durable concrete floor because they penetrate deeper into the concrete. This also makes them more translucent, giving that vintage style so many homeowners are in search of nowadays. They are metal complex dyes that are made in a laboratory. Their particle size is about a 1,000 times smaller than a stain particle. Plus, they are completely soluble in a solvent such as water or acetone. Dyes are carried into the substrate deeper than a stain.
Salt & Pepper Analogy
One of the easiest ways to remember the difference between stained concrete and dyed concrete is to think of stain as pepper and dye as salt. When salt (dye) is mixed in water it completely dissolves but when pepper (stain) is mixed in water it gets distributed in the solvent but does not dissolve.