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Is it better to stain or dye concrete?

Oct 9


Concrete stain and Paint are the two options for color concrete. A coating applied to fresh concrete gives it more than a decorative finish. Concrete coatings can protect concrete from discoloration, chipping, and other damage.


Concrete stain or Paint is the best choice for anyone who plans to use concrete in an outdoor or indoor project. When comparing the pros and cons of each type of finish, there are many factors to consider. Pittsburgh Concrete Countertop experts have briefly explained how to choose the right option for you in this article.

Coating Or Penetrating

Even though Paint is designed to bond appropriately with concrete flooring, it only sticks to the surface. It creates a thin layer of protection on the surface. Concrete Paint will reveal the concrete below if it cracks or peels. Concrete stain is more durable than concrete Paint because it bonds to the surface differently.


Concrete stains can be used to color the surface. Concrete acid stain is a more penetrated product than others. Stain reacts differently with concrete than Paint, which can create a unique effect that is difficult to control. Concrete stain wins this round because of its durability, longevity, and resistance against foot traffic.

Translucent Or Opaque

Do you need to cover a concrete spot that is discolored or stained? Paint is believed to be the only way to make concrete opaque, apart from integrally coloring it. Concrete stain is transparent and will show any texture or marks. However, you can color concrete surfaces without needing to paint them.


Concrete dye is an opaque and easy-to-apply concrete surface color. Mixing concrete dye pigment with a solution will disperse it. Concrete surfaces that are opaque will appear opaque.


Direct Colors' Vibrance dye is an excellent option if you have stubborn stains and discolorations that won't disappear. This guide on where and how to use concrete dye provides more information.

You can use dark colors to hide marks or cover them up if you need to. For example, this Direct Colors customer made his entire tattoo parlor an homage to Alice in Wonderland by using only Direct Colors concrete color products.


Concrete paints used to have Concrete stain is the clear winner in busy homes, even rooms with low usage levels.

Wear Resistance

Concrete is prone to cracking and peeling Paint. Even premium concrete floor paints can cause a weak bond with the surface. The stain can penetrate the concrete and seep into the surface. It won't chip unless there is a lot of loose concrete. It will also require stabilization repair to reveal the concrete underneath. This is a rare situation that homeowners will have to deal with.


Most stained floors in a house only require occasional cleaning to keep them looking their best. You must keep your feet painted, especially with pets or children. Even in a small room, concrete floors can be damaged by Paint. Concrete stain is more durable than Paint and offers more excellent wear resistance.

Preparation Requirements

Homeowners will need to prepare the floor for concrete or stain to be applied to an old slab or floor. A floor that isn't adequately cleaned, degreased, sanded, and smoothed will not look its best. Paint requires more preparation than stain.


Paint requires a clean surface. Homeowners should apply muriatic acid before painting. Concrete stain is less labor-intensive than Paint for homeowners worried about acidity. Paint can mask stains and make it easier to prep work; most stains can be removed by degreasing. Do you want to ensure you have everything you need to stain your project? Check out Direct Colors' DIY Concrete Seal and Stain Kit.

Application Difficulty

Paint is more flexible than stain, as anyone can apply multiple coats. Concrete color can be used as a DIY project, but it is much easier than homeowners think. A homeowner can learn all the skills necessary to complete a floor by practicing on another concrete slab. It can be challenging to make the Paint smooth and even, as it often shows brush marks while drying. Concrete stain is easier to clean because it is transparent and easy to remove after application.