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Concrete Staining vs. Epoxy Flooring

September 27, 2010 1:00 pm

When thinking about refinishing a concrete floor, both acid staining and epoxy coating come in a variety of colors able to enhance any décor. But what’s the difference between the two treatments, and how should homeowners choose the best option for their needs?

Acid staining: Staining is a popular option for homeowners looking to transform dull concrete into a more aesthetically pleasing form. Concrete staining is an appealing option because the results will be unique and depend on the colors used, the techniques for application, and the type of floor being treated. Staining works by penetrating the concrete with a chemical mixture of water, hydrochloric acid, and metallic salts, which are absorbed into the concrete surface reacting with the calcium hydroxide found within. Once this chemical reaction takes place, it is a color change that will not fade, chip away, or peel over time. The most common colors available for these stains are deep earthen tones resembling wood, stone, and marble, though newer formulations are allowing for more vivid colors like reds, yellows, and purples.

Epoxy flooring: Unlike concrete staining, epoxy floor finish is a permanent coating which is applied uniformly on top of a concrete surface, offering protection along with a palette change. Easily applied by do-it-yourselfers in a relatively short amount of time, epoxy flooring is an affordable, virtually hassle-free option for homeowners, with the added benefit of waterproofing, sealing, and a durable finish that will keep the concrete from breaking down or staining over time. Epoxy floor finishes also offer a wider range of color options than acid finishes, from bright primary colors to pastels and more earthy tones, and create a reliable and consistent outcome every time instead of depending on chance and artistic application to produce pleasing results.

Bottom line: Acid staining of your concrete may be an option for decorative, low traffic areas in no danger of erosion or staining and can produce attractive floor finishes. However, for high-use areas, and areas where home and business owners require high-quality, dependable results and maximum protection for their floor the practical benefits of epoxy flooring far outnumber those of staining.