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Buying Water-Based Stains

If you want to go beyond the subtle drama and subdued color palette of acid stains, then a water-based stain is your best choice. Most manufacturers offer dozens of standard colors, and often you can mix the different colors, like water-based paints, to broaden your options. (See these color charts.)

Like acid stains, these new-generation stains (typically a blend of acrylic polymers and pigments) penetrate the concrete to produce permanent color, ranging from translucent to opaque depending on the product. The key difference is that no chemical reaction occurs, so the color is more consistent. Most of these products are also low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and safer to apply because they are free of solvents and acids.

As when buying an acid-based stain, always conduct a color test first on the actual concrete to be stained, and buy the right amount of stain for your project by checking the recommended coverage rate.

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Buy a water-based stain if you want to choose from a broad palette of vibrant colors.
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