Concrete Staining vs. Painting

Concrete Staining vs. Painting:  Which option is right for you?

Concrete is an exceedingly durable material for driveways and patios, but it is not generally thought of as the most attractive choice. Many homeowners who tire of the typical grey shade will be delighted to learn that there are options for adding color to a concrete surface. While some opt for a concrete paint to brighten up their outdoor space or basement floor, others find that stain is a better solution. We have the lowdown on both of these coloring options, so you can find the one that works the best for your needs.

Painting Concrete

For those who would like to add a strong dash of color to a patio or basement floor, concrete paint may be a solution. This method of coloring concrete is usually the least expensive and can often be done without professional assistance. The drawback to concrete paint is that it is not made to last over the long term. Many homeowners with painted concrete surfaces find the color peels and fades long before they are ready to perform maintenance on the surface.

One way to extend the life of a colored concrete surface is to apply an epoxy coating rather than concrete paint. Epoxy lasts longer than paint, but provides the same colorful result with a rainbow of hues to choose from. It is best to hire a professional concrete contractor for this job to ensure the coating goes on well and lasts as long as possible. It is also important to note that epoxy will come with a higher price tag than regular concrete paint, so you will need to adjust your budget accordingly.

Staining Concrete

Staining concrete is not a new idea. In fact, Frank Lloyd Wright used this technique on one of his creations more than 60 years ago. Staining concrete is a similar process to staining wood. The stain mixture takes advantage of the porous nature of concrete to penetrate the surface and work into the material for a smooth, even tint. Today’s concrete stain comes in a broad range of colors, although most are within the earth tones. The stain will last forever, although it can fade with time and exposure to the elements. It is easy to refresh the tint by applying a fresh coat of stain periodically.

Concrete staining offers a more permanent solution to the issue of dull grey surfaces. However, staining processes can be tricky and are best completed by a professional concrete contractor. Concrete stain is also more expensive than painting, because there is more labor involved in preparing the concrete surface to accept the stain. However, lower maintenance needs usually make concrete staining a good value compared to painting techniques.

If you are tired of looking at the same, dull concrete, there are solutions. Paint will provide a broad spectrum of bold colors, while stain will offer a more subtle look that lasts a longer time. The choice of paint vs. stain will depend on the look you want, the maintenance you are willing to perform and the budget you can afford.