Have you ever wondered about the most effective way to revamp an already polished concrete surface so you can add vibrancy and enhance appearance? You may want to consider applying a concrete dye.
In the past decade, concrete and color have rapidly evolved, and concrete dye has become a leading concrete infusion product. You can use concrete dye to change its color from the usual grey to a striking shade or use it to create appealing artwork.
Concrete dyes come in a wide selection of color palette, unlike stains. They do not chemically react with concrete like the stains, so the effects are less mottled and more predictable. Dyes also give you more control when applying, which can allow you to come up with more graphic designs.
What are Concrete Dyes?
Concrete dyes are made up of extra fine organic pigments designed to penetrate a concrete surface and bring out a translucent color effect. They have little to no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can turn into toxic fumes, causing severe health problems.
Dyes can be used solely as the primary coloring agent or together with acid stains or with a primitive color used as an accent shade. You can also blend most dyes since they are compatible with each other to create a vast array of color variations. Furthermore, you can apply multiple dye colors to get decorative effects using the faux-finishing method.
Although dyes are not purposely used to hide imperfections in the concrete surface or for patching polished concrete, they augment the existing color variations. For instance, acetone dyes are designed for unsealed polished concrete floors. But if the floor is sealed, you need to remove the sealant (this can be done through concrete grinding) before applying the dye.
When Should You Apply Dye To Polished Concrete Floor?
The best time to apply dye according to manufacturers is at the grit level just before applying the final protective finish for polished concrete, followed by the densifier.
However, Bob Harris, in “Bob Harris’ Guide to Polished Concrete Floors,” offers a differing view. He claims that he successfully applied dye at the 400-grit stage right after the slab had densified since the dye is soluble and can readily penetrate the polished concrete.
Overall, it all depends on the condition of your concrete floor, so it’s advisable to seek advice from the dye manufacturer.
Unlike acid stains, you don’t need to neutralize the concrete floor after applying dye. However, you need to clean up the residual dye to prevent it from spreading on the surface. Some experts recommend using a mop for small projects or auto scrubbers with a vacuum system for large projects. Also, since dyes dry in a few minutes, you can apply the final polish and the liquid hardener soon after removing the dye residue.
Water-based vs. Solvent dye? Which is the best?
Concrete dyes can be categorized into water-based and solvent dyes. Water-based dyes are ready to use and do not need any mixing. Concrete experts recommend that you apply this dye at around 400 grit (same stage as the solvent dyes). However, since water-based dyes dissolve in water, you may first have to apply the densifier to make the concrete surface less permeable, especially if the polished concrete is soft. And since water-based dyes do not contain acetone, they are safe to apply unlike solvent dyes.
On the other hand, some solvent dyes come in the form of dry powder. These dyes need to be mixed with alcohol or acetone before they can be used. The others come premixed and ready for use. If you want to minimize the color intensity, you can thin the dye by adding more acetone/alcohol.
However, solvent-based dyes are extremely flammable, so you must take the necessary precautions when applying them. For instance, you need protective gear, specifically protective gloves, safety glasses, and an approved respirator. You should also ensure that the room’s ventilation is up to par and there are no present open flames.
Dyes can transform and add charm to a plain, dull, and gray surface. Better yet, they are quick, easy, and safe to apply for both residential and commercial spaces regardless of the concrete polishing system you had used initially.