Unlike dyes, concrete stains are generally classified into three categories: film-forming, penetrating and acid stains. All three types of stains come in a variety of colors, tints, shades and textures, but each uses different technology to create distinct decorative looks. Film-forming stains have been around the longest and are still very common today. Like paint, film-forming stains simply coat or lay on top of a concrete surface to add color to a concrete surface. However, over time, exposure to weather, traffic, chemicals and other harmful elements will cause film-forming stains to fade, peel or flake.
A more permanent alternative to film-forming stains are penetrating stains, which are designed to literally penetrate deeper into the pores of concrete and bond to the concrete. The water-based, polymer-bonded technology in penetrating stains minimizes the possibility of it fading, peeling or flaking while being VOC-friendly. In addition, penetrating stains are available in an almost endless assortment of tints and shades ranging from very light translucent colors to bright and bold solid colors. Typical water-based and user friendly, water-based penetrating stains can often be mixed together to create new colors without any adverse effects, they are often translucent and do not hide surface defects or flaws.