Updated: Aug 23
Changing the color of a concrete slab can be done a few different ways. In our world of polishing concrete it is typically done one way. So lets discuss that way first and then we can talk about other methods.
At Rose Restoration we use the term "dye" (vs "stain") to describe the method of applying a solvent based colorant to concrete during a polishing or grinding job. This dye is a powder that is mixed with a solvent (typically acetone but alcohol and sometimes water is used) and applied with a pump sprayer to the concrete. This is typically done at a 200 grit in the concrete processing world.
The process we use for a dyed and polished floor is as follows: grind and smooth the floor with low grit diamond abrasives (#50, 100, 200) and then dye the floor, densify the floor and then finish the floor using a series of higher grit diamond abrasives (#400, 800, 1500). After diamond polishing is complete the floor is sealed with a sealer. This sealer can be an impregnating sealer or guard type sealer. Guards require a burnishing to achieve their best final look.
The process we use for a grind and seal floor is similar to above but typically eliminates the higher grit diamonds (400, 800, 1500) and densifier.
So, if you have made it this far and you are wondering what other ways can I change the color of my concrete? Well there are two other options. The first is to have the concrete dyed during installation. The concrete supplier can add dye packs to the mix. The second is to apply a topical film forming coating. Many suppliers will call a coating a "stain" which is why we like to differentiate by calling our colorant a dye. These stains will typically look like a paint or a urethane coating.
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