Altering your concrete walkway with a stain is a good way to improve its look. The stain adds color to the surface of the concrete, but you need to know which type works best for your needs. Learning more about the different aspects of the stains can be a good method for helping you pick the right one for your concrete walkway.
One form of concrete stain is an acid-based product. With this product type, the acids in the stain react to the minerals within the concrete, which alters the color of the surface.
It is important to note that concrete is comprised of several types of minerals, and their levels change from batch to batch. Many of the base components used to create concrete such as limestone and clay are mined from different areas of the country. Each mining location can have a different mineral level for each material they produce, which affects the levels in the products that most concrete contractors use.
For this reason, it is wise to buy a very small amount of the stain in the color you prefer and test it on a small portion of the walkway that people will not notice. If you have an area hidden by a bush or planter, these would be good spots to test. Once you know how the stain reacts to your concrete, you can determine if this is a good option for you to use.
If you prefer an alternative product, you can choose a water-based stain. Unlike acid products, this type of stain does not react to the minerals within the concrete. Instead, the water-based products absorb into the concrete, which changes the color of the concrete.
Concrete has pores that soak up water, and the moisture can alter the color of the surface, which is why your walkway will darken after it rains. The water-based stains soak into the concrete the same way, but only the moisture evaporates. Even though the moisture is gone, the color from the stain remains. This is similar to when someone pours grape juice onto a carpet. Even though the juice eventually dries, the color remains within the fibers of the carpet.
As with the other type of stain, you should still test a portion of your walkway with the water-based stain. If you prefer, you can test both types of stain side by side so you can see how each one will look.
For more information about concrete products, contact Unit Step Company or a similar organization.