We often receive requests for “staining and sealing” concrete floors. While a variation of this request can be an inexpensive way to make concrete floors look a bit better, there are numerous other factors to consider before choosing this finish for your next project.
Pros and Cons of Staining and Sealing Concrete Floors
Staining and sealing concrete floors actually involves using concrete dye, rather than a stain. The concrete is prepped with an initial grind, dye is spread evenly over the surface of the floor and two coats of sealer are applied on top. This request seems to be especially popular for basement floors and other residential applications. However, it is not a long-term flooring solution.
Staining and sealing concrete floors can only temporarily improve the appearance of basic concrete. The sealer generally wears off in three to five years, and then, the same sealer used initially needs to be applied again. This involves remembering what sealer was actually used in the first place. Additionally, sealers are acrylic, which is in itself not an overly durable material. It shows scratches, and spills can lead to blushing (a milky or whitish appearance). Because of these issues, we very rarely recommend this process for concrete floors.
Alternate Concrete Flooring Systems
Instead of staining and sealing concrete floors, we recommend mechanically polishing or epoxy coating. Here are some popular options:
- Dying and mechanically polishing. This is the most popular and most recommended alternative. Polished concrete floors are extremely durable, require little maintenance and last virtually forever.
- Decorative epoxy. Decorative epoxy coatings are durable and resistant to chipping, abrasions, stains and moisture. They can be customized to fit any decor.
- High-aggregate epoxy. For industrial applications, this is generally the best alternative. An epoxy coating is one of the toughest and most durable concrete coatings available, and adding aggregate to epoxy increases the durability even more.
If you’re still not sure what you need, we’re always available for free consultations!