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The Best Concrete Stain for Your DIY Projects

Are you looking to add some character to your floors, walls, or countertops? If so, you should consider investing in concrete stains. If you’re new to purchasing concrete stains, however, you could be overwhelmed with the various formulations in the market. From acid stains to water-based stains, they all come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages – depending on the application and effects that you’re looking for.

Below we’ll talk about the different concrete stains before going through a DIY project that you can do and recommend 6 of the best ones to get you started. 

Choosing Your Concrete Stain 

There are a couple of different concrete stains, and they all come with their pros and cons.

Acid stains react with the concrete’s surface, so the color is permanent – a great perk. The downside of acid stains, however, is that it comes in minimal color choices. However, if you’re looking to create various effects, you can consider diluting the stain. Acid stains are typically used for exterior concrete surfaces because the color won’t change over time, especially if you keep the surface protected.

With powdered acetone dyes, they’re more suited for interior use and come in a good variety of colors. Since they’re not UV-stable, however, you can’t use them outdoors. A great pro of powdered acetone dyes is their short dry time. While acid stains need a couple of hours to set, powdered acetone dyes can dry in seconds. 

Then, you’ve got liquid acetone dyes. These are relatively thin, but they’re UV-stable. They’ve got an even more extensive range of colors compared to powdered acetone dyes and dry quickly. Water-based stains are predominantly used to bond the concrete, and they come in a wide range of colors. They’re mostly a surface coating, however, so don’t expect water-based stains to be absorbed into the concrete. You will have greater control over a water-based stain’s color, and they’ll provide you with a longer working time than dyes. 

Finally, you’ve got solvent-based stains. These are mainly used to tint solvent-based coatings and can dry reasonably quickly. If you’re using them indoors, you can pair them with epoxies and urethanes to create a solid color that’ll last. If you want to use this outdoors, you’ll have to use them with caution as the stain bonds to the coating rather than the concrete. 

Now that you’ve got a better idea of the different concrete stains, here’s a DIY project that you can do with concrete stains. 

DIY Concrete Kitchen Counter

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Transform your countertops into this gorgeous concrete kitchen counter at a fraction of the cost with this DIY project. To start, you’re going to need to gather all your details, this includes a large trowel, putty knife, mixing bucket and stick, measuring buckets, sandpaper, mask, sealant concrete, and the concrete stain. To start, you’re going to properly wipe down your kitchen countertop and get rid of any loose edges or bumps. Then, you’re going to have to sand the countertops before mixing up your concrete. 

Then, you’ll spread the concrete over the countertops with your trowel and allow it to set. After it has dried, you can sand the surface with coarse sandpaper – you should wear a mask when doing this. You’re then going to have to repeat these steps at least three to four times, and once your final layer has dried, you can add the sealant; at least two coats will do the trick. Finally, you’ll add your concrete stain with a paintbrush, allow that to dry, and you’re all good to go! This is much simpler than an extensive renovation process, and you’ll have a glossy concrete kitchen countertop in no time. 

6 Best Concrete Stains  

1. Kemiko Stone Tone Concrete Stain

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This concrete stain comes in an English Red color, and it won’t fade chip or peel. If you’d like, you can also purchase it in different colors; it comes in walnut, black, green, aqua blue, and more. It has an acidic base and is specially formulated to bond with the lime components in the concrete. You can use this concrete stain on walkways, entrances, patios, driveways, countertops, and more. 

It’s suited for indoor and outdoor use, and you can use either a plastic garden sprayer or a medium to stiff bristle brush to apply this product. Those who purchased this particular concrete stain mentioned that it’s both reliable and consistent, and the end result was perfect. It also holds up well, and plenty of customers have said that it spruced up their home’s overall aesthetic. 

Pros:

  • Suited to both indoor and outdoor use 
  • Won’t fade, chip or peel 
  • Comes in a range of different colors 
  • Reliable and consistent 

Cons:

  • Some have mentioned that the color comes out a little different from what they expected

2. User & Eco-Friendly Semi-Transparent Professional Grade Cement Stain

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Another excellent concrete stain, this water-based stain, also comes in a wide variety of colors and is made with quality ingredients. It’s great for a range of applications, from pool decks to concrete floors and driveways. You can even layer one or more of the various colors to get a marbling effect if you’d like. Other great benefits of this product include having a minimal odor, environmentally friendly, and being able to penetrate waterborne concrete and cement stain. It’s also non-acidic, so you won’t have to clean-up or neutralize any chemicals or residues. 

This particular concrete stain can also be used both indoors and outdoors, and the colors produced can be translucent or opaque – depending on how much water you add, or how many coats of stain you choose to apply. Those that have purchased it like how it’s easy to use, durable, inexpensive and produces a gorgeous effect. 

Pros:

  • Suited to both indoor and outdoor use 
  • Made with quality ingredients 
  • Minimal odor and environmentally friendly 
  • Non-acidic 

Cons:

  • You won’t get as slick of a concrete finish as some of the other products 

3. Acid Stain DIY Kit with 100% Acrylic Solvent Sealer

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This acid concrete stain comes in seven different colors that you can choose from. It also holds up, so you don’t have to worry about it chipping, fading, cracking, or peeling. It’s good to be used both indoors and outdoors and is excellent for beginners. The DIY kit comes with everything you need to stain your concrete successfully. 

Those that have purchased it mentioned that they’ve had some fantastic results and love how it’s an inexpensive product that comes with everything you need. Customers also appreciated how the product came with a phone number that they could call for any questions. Some tips from previous customers include getting a painter’s brush, and wearing gloves, breathing masks, and goggles when applying. 

Pros:

  • Doesn’t chip, fade, crack or peel 
  • Great for beginners 
  • Comes with everything you need 
  • Access to customer service if you’ve got any questions 

Cons:

  • Some mentioned that the color was darker than expected 

4. VIVID Acid Stain – 1 Gal – Walnut

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This concrete acid stain will transform any ordinary concrete surface to have either granite or marble aesthetic. Due to its powerful formula, the concrete stain will penetrate the concrete surface’s top layer and will not peel, chip, or crack. Colors produced are multi-colored and unique and will become a permanent part of the concrete. Since colors will look different depending on the concrete that you have, it’s recommended to perform a sample on the actual surface to test out suitability and color. 

Those who have purchased this concrete stain mentioned that it works, and you should always read the instructions a couple of times before proceeding with the application. Customers also said that you should do your research as the colors do vary depending on the quality of the concrete, you’re applying it to. 

Pros:

  • Doesn’t chip, fade, crack or peel 
  • It’s permanent  
  • Easy to do on your own 
  • Produces a great stain 

Cons:

  • Can’t leave it unattended, or the color will change exponentially 

5. TuffCrete Waterborne Acrylic Concrete Stain Paint

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This waterproofing concrete stain is everything you need to spruce up your concrete floors and vertical or horizontal surfaces. Upon purchase, you’ll get an entire gallon of concrete stain paint covering about 300 to 400 square feet. When applying, you shouldn’t do it under direct sunlight or on hot surfaces. Depending on your preference, one coat is good enough for a stain, while two coats will provide you with an opaque finish. 

The concrete stain paint dries fast, and it’s non-fading, so you’ll have a durable finish that can resist a range of products from detergents to oil and grease. It comes in 5 different colors and those that have used this concrete stain mentioned that the product goes on thin, so it’s easy to work with. It also dries quickly and does the job well.  

Pros:

  • You’ll get an entire gallon of concrete stain paint 
  • Dries fast 
  • Non-fading and durable 
  • Easy to work with 

Cons:

  • Not great for individuals that aren’t used to thinner concrete stains 

6. Rust-Oleum 247162 Concrete Stain Spray

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Last on the list is this concrete stain spray that’s both UV and weather resistant. You can combine it with other colors for a customized look or use it on your own. Since it’s a spray, it’s great for applications on smaller items and accent pieces. If needed, you can clean up the spray with soap and water.

Customers that have purchased this product were pleasantly surprised by how well it worked. The color blends very well with other colors, and shading holds well and works really well for some of the smaller projects.

Pros:

  • UV and weather-resistant 
  • Great for smaller projects 
  • Can be cleaned up with soap and water 
  • Color blends well 

Cons:

  • Some mentioned that the spray was a little runny 

The Bottom Line

We hope that this article was helpful when it comes to navigating the concrete stain landscape. When it comes to applying concrete stains, just remember to read all of the instructions provided with your product and do the necessary research to get the end result you want. You’ll also want to take the necessary precautions and prepare some masks and gloves. Once you’ve got everything ready, concrete stains are great to use on various surfaces – especially if you’re looking to add to the aesthetic of your indoor or outdoor space without the hefty cost.