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Achieve Fast, Long-Lasting Color With Dyes

Dyes have become increasingly popular for residential applications because of the many color options available and their ability to be layered for the most vibrant effects. They differ from stains in that they do not rely on a chemical reaction to deliver results. Instead, dyes simply penetrate the surface to impart color. The particles in dyes are smaller, which allows them to seep into the pores of the cementitious surface, resulting in long-lasting, fast, and vibrant results. And with dyes, there’s very little cleanup required.

A dye consists of a pigment and a solvent (like acetone). The results will vary depending on how far into the concrete the dye is absorbed, the formulation, and the technique. Water-based and solvent-based dyes can produce beautiful results, and when combined and layered, they can create special, customized colors and results.

Acetone Dyes

The most commonly used solvent-based dye is acetone dye. There are two types of acetone dyes: powdered and liquid.

Powdered Acetone Dyes

Powdered acetone dyes are typically only used for interior applications because they are not UV stable. They are available in a wide assortment of colors and have a very quick dry time, oftentimes drying in seconds. One of the most popular applications for powdered acetone dyes is on floors that will be polished. Unlike many other options, these dyes are absorbed by the concrete, so the floor will maintain its coloring after the polishing process.

It’s important to note that these dyes cannot be used on a concrete surface that has been sealed. The pores of the concrete must be open if the dye is to be properly absorbed. If the cementitious surface you are interested in coloring has already been sealed, however, you can grind the surface to remove the sealer and open up the pores of the concrete.

Liquid Acetone Dyes

Although it is referred to as a dye, liquid acetone dye is absorbed by the concrete and really acts more like a thin stain. Like powdered acetone dyes, liquid acetone dyes dry rapidly, which can be great when you need to achieve fast results. However, they differ from their powdered counterparts in that they are UV stable and can be used for exterior applications. They also offer an even wider color palette.

It’s important to note that these dyes should not be used on surfaces that will be polished. Unlike powdered acetone dyes, liquid dyes will leave a superficial film that polishing will remove.

Need Professional Advice?

If you’d like to learn more about dyes and how they can provide your decorative concrete overlays with beautiful, long-lasting color, please call The Concrete Décor Store at 210-617-7565 or stop by. We’re here to help!


Integral color and color hardeners offer another great option for getting pleasing colors in concrete overlays at home.

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