10 Best Concrete Stains of 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks
Staining your concrete is an awesome way to revive its life and give it a nice and glossy look. It’s definitely a cheaper alternative to tiling while saving you a lot of time. The market is saturated with many manufacturers claiming to sell the best product. Searching for all the available brands and comparing them to find the best one suited for your needs could take you longer than staining concrete.
Your primary goal is to stain concrete, not to spend hours or days looking for the best product. That’s why we’ve made your search easier so that you can get to work immediately. Our reviews consist of 10 products that highlight the features, benefits, and drawbacks of concrete stains.
We’ve also added a buyer’s guide that explains what you should look for when buying a concrete stain and provide answers to questions about making a good purchase.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Kemiko Stone Tone Concrete Stain||
|Best Value||Concrete Coatings VIVID Acid Stain||
|Premium Choice||Concrete Resurrection Cement Stain||
|Rust-Oleum Concrete Stain Spray||
|EnduraCoat Acid Stain DIY Kit||
The 10 Best Concrete Stains – Reviews 2021
1. Kemiko Stone Tone Concrete Stain – Best Overall
The Kemiko Stone Tone is available in various colors, but what’s really appealing about this product is that you can mix it to a ratio of 1:1. That means one gallon will make two gallons. This is perfect if you’re looking to cover a large area while saving money. Coverage of this product is approximately 400 to 800 square feet per gallon. Kemiko Stone Tone will help you to turn your concrete to look like it’s marble or glazed stone while saving you money thanks to its ability to mix.
It’s an acid-based stain that produces zero volatile organic compounds (VOC), so you don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals. Kemiko produced it to bond metallic ions with the lime components in the concrete to give your various colors that will last in the concrete. This concrete stain is easy to apply and penetrates into the concrete so that you get a rich color.
You might find that this product doesn’t work so great on old-style concrete. It might be necessary to go over that area more than once.
2. Concrete Coatings VIVID Acid Stain – Best Value
This acid stain penetrates the concrete’s top layer to cover it with a color that shouldn’t crack, peel or chip. It provides the optimal result with minerals that exist in concrete and have cured for at least 28 days. With 1 gallon, you can expect to stain about 250 to 500 square feet of concrete. That obviously depends on how many coatings you use.
This manufacturer cannot guarantee color due to various factors, so you could end up with a completely unique concrete stain color. It’s best to sample to avoid being disappointed, but getting a unique look is definitely a plus if you like it.
We found that this stain was a bit thin, so you might have to do a few coats. That just depends on your surface.
Overall, after comparing the features and prices of all the concrete stains that we reviewed, we found that the VIVID Acid Stain was the best concrete stain for the money.
3. Concrete Resurrection Cement Stain – Premium Choice
The Concrete Resurrection Cement Stain comes in a 32-ounce bottle of concentrate, mixing from 1.25 to 2.5-gallons. Besides choosing from a variety of colors, you will find that Concrete Resurrection produces unique patterns. This product is environmentally friendly, but it doesn’t have an odor.
As with all concrete stain products, you have to make sure that your surface is thoroughly cleaned, especially if it’s got open pores. Concrete Resurrection is water-based, so you don’t have to worry about residues and chemicals. You should be able to cover an area of 100 to 500 square feet with each bottle.
This product also comes in handy for arts and crafts, wood staining, and faux finishes. To apply this product, you’ll need a pump sprayer, brush, cotton rag, HVLP sprayer and sea sponge. Don’t be surprised to find one bottle can’t cover the full 500 square feet. It might need slightly more than one bottle to do a proper job.
4. Rust-Oleum 247162 Concrete Stain Spray
Rust-Oleum is a semi-transparent concrete stain spray that comes in a 15-ounce bottle. It’s water-based and is perfect for small statuary and accent pieces. You can combine this concrete stain with other Rust-Oleum colors to get a unique concrete stain color.
The manufacturer has ensured that it’s UV and weather-resistant, so you shouldn’t see any chipping or peeling. Application is also easy, and it cleans up with soap and water. This product works well to restore your old fountain to look new and revive faded brick pavers from looking dull to becoming rich. Since it’s a spray, you don’t have to worry about other cleaning materials such as brushes and sponges to do the job.
If you don’t get a thick color with the first coat spray, you’ll have to spray more to get that deep, rich color.
5. EnduraCoat Acid Stain DIY Kit
The easy-to-use Endura Coat Acid Stain DIY kit is perfect for first-time users. The complete kit comes with a concrete stain, cleaner, neutralizer and sealer. With 1 gallon of stain and sealer, you can get up to 250 square feet coverage. But that depends on your surface and application technique.
You can use this acid-stain kit indoors or outdoors to get a high-quality marble finish. Once you’ve applied the stain, use the sealer to protect your concrete from the environment.
Although the kit you’re getting has good products, it might be necessary for you to get a coating stripper or a surface conditioner to complete the job. This kit is quite costly, so that’ll mean you’re going to incur more costs with additional products. If you regularly maintain your concrete, you probably won’t need all the products in this kit.
6. BrandBold Brilliance Concrete Acid Stain
BrandBold Brilliance Concrete is an acid stain that is resistant to fading from ultraviolet light and produces a permanent non-yellowing color. You can choose from 14 BrandBold colors to do a 4-step concrete staining process, but you’ll also have to buy the Neutralizer & Degreaser, as well as a Sealer if you want to do it properly.
Use it indoors or outdoors since it contains low or zero VOC options. The nice thing is that Brilliance is cost-effective, and you won’t have to maintain it, so that helps to save money. It’s also not necessary for you to do any complex mixing as its ready for use.
This acid wasn’t that effective in penetrating deeply into the concrete, so that leaves a light shading. If you want a really dark color, you’re going to have to apply two coats, possibly three to get the best result. Don’t be surprised if the concrete stain color is slightly different from the bottle. That’s because the stain formulation renders the final color after the reaction happens.
7. BonWay Water Based Concrete Stain
BonWay is a water-based semi-transparent stain that you can mix with distilled, reverse osmosis, or deionized water. You’ll find that this stain dries relatively quickly, allowing you to use a sealer a few hours later. Besides the fact that you can use it indoors and outdoors, it’s also UV light and weather resistant.
If you don’t mind diluting, the BonWay will perform at a 4:1 ratio. For example, 1 quart will produce 1 gallon. That’ll cover up to 250 square feet of concrete. If you buy the gallon size, it’s possible to get up to 5 gallons after dilution. That could cover up to 1,000 square feet. Besides the great coverage, this stain also doesn’t smell bad. Also, the color that you get from this product is good.
Just keep in mind that altering the dilution rate might cause the color to be altered. So, you might not get a really rich color if you don’t dilute properly. In that case, you’ll have to apply several coats to get a dark color.
8. Surecrete EcoStain Water-Based Concrete Stain
Surecrete EcoStain’s 32-ounce concentrate is available in various colors and can be brush rolled, sprayed, or sponged. It’s possible reach a 10:1 mixing ratio, resulting in 1 to 3 gallons after dilution. Count on getting about 1 gallon because 3 gallons is pushing it. You should be able to cover about 200 square feet in a single gallon.
It’s got zero VOC, and you don’t have to neutralize it with ammonia. Also, it’s environmentally friendly, and good for use indoors or out. This product is fairly simple to use and is also UV-resistant. Having said that, it’s also quite pricey. You might find that the more you dilute the product to get better coverage, the less potent of a color it produces. So, that’ll mean you’ll have to apply more than one coat.
9. Elevate Water Based Concrete Stain
Elevate comes in a 1-gallon container but contains only 32-ounces of colorant to cover about a 200 square feet surface. Once you’ve mixed this product, you’ll get a stain that’s UV-resistant and needs to dry overnight so you can use a sealer the following day.
You won’t need to neutralize it, and it’s also environmentally friendly, with a very slight odor that you might not even pick up. The VOC in this product is low, so you can use Elevate indoors or outdoors.
You might find that this stain doesn’t produce a strong color. In fact, it might be a very weak color. That results in having to apply multiple coats just to get a rich color. Applying extra coatings reduces the coverage area, so you could end up paying more than you bargained for. Also, even if you apply multiple coats, you could experience poor retention.
10. Walttools Water-Based Concrete Stain
If you like a wide variety of colors, then Walttools Stain has 40 colors of this semi-translucent concrete stain. You can dilute it for lighter coating, but don’t be surprised to find that it’s going to be too light even to notice a major difference after application.
If you buy 1 gallon, you’ll be able to cover about 250 square feet. It’s mostly suitable for small projects, but it dries fairly quickly. It’s UV-stable, so that allows you to use it indoors or outdoors, but you’ll have to seal it so that you can get a rich color. It’s possible that you’ll also have to apply several coats to see a difference in color.
Diluting it will make the color even weaker, but even if you don’t dilute, you could find that it’s not very potent.
Although reviewing different products is important to decide which one to purchase, you also have to know the different concrete stains that exist, what they do and for what purpose they are most suitable for. The purpose of the buyer’s guide is to answer those questions so that you know what product you should look for.
This type of stain reacts with the concrete’s surface. The color should be permanent if you have applied a sealer. One of the limitations of acid stains is the color. Even if you dilute the colors, you’ll still find that you’re limited to earth-tone options. This type of stain is perfect for outdoor concrete, as it’s meant to last a long time.
Acid stains tend to provide the most strength and stickiness with a concrete surface out of all the types. That’s one of the reasons that they tend to be more expensive. Their particles are absorbed into the concrete, creating a longer-lasting effect.
Since water-based stains come in a variety of colors, they are considered more like a paint that’s produced to bond with concrete. The difference with water-based stains is that their particles are usually too big for the concrete to absorb, so they provide more of a coating for the surface than absorption like acid stains.
Since most water-based stains are UV and weather-resistant, you can use them outdoors, but you’ll have to reseal regularly to maintain your concrete more frequently than with acid stain. They usually produce very low VOCs.
If you want to tint solvent-based coating, then you’ll like to use this type of stain. They’ve got a reputation for drying quite quickly, but you’ll have to make sure that it’s compatible with the coating’s chemical make-up.
Solvent-based types are more suitable indoors. The problem outdoors is that the stain bonds to the coating, not the concrete. Once the coating wears off, the stain color will also diminish. It’s better to opt for a solvent-based sealer if you want to protect outdoor surfaces.
Always put safety first. Although applying concrete stains isn’t very dangerous, don’t forget that some of the products may have harmful chemicals. It’s best to be safe than sorry. Wear safety goggles, rubber boots, and gloves when applying stains. Also, don’t forget to wear a mask to prevent inhaling any potentially harmful fumes.
Before you can stain your concrete, you have to prepare the surface; otherwise, a stain will make even the slightest imperfections jump out of the concrete. You can use mild cleansers, degreasers, and a pressure washer to get the surface as clean as possible.
Important Features to Consider
Regardless of its potency, you have to look at the ease of application. A concrete stain should be easy to apply because it will determine the effort you have to exert, which could impact the result. It also determines if you have to buy additional products such as cleaners or brushes. Some concrete stains are sprays, so they don’t require brushes and other accessories.
Every manufacturer should specify how much surface their product can cover. The more surface it can cover, the fewer expenses you’ll incur. Coverage shouldn’t affect the quality of the stain. That means the stain shouldn’t lose richness the bigger surface you apply it on.
With some stains, you can dilute them to get more surface coverage. Some provide a dilution ratio of 4:1. Others can provide a 10:1 ratio. That allows you to cover more surface, but it shouldn’t compromise the stain quality. The stain shouldn’t become thinner once diluted. If that happens, you might have to apply more than one coat to get a dark color.
How long a concrete stain needs to dry will impact how you plan the project. With some stains, you might have to leave it overnight before you can apply the sealer the following day. Some stains can dry in a couple of hours, allowing you to continue the rest of the process the same day.
There is the cleaning pre-application, but you also might have to do cleaning post-application. It’s usually acid-based stains that need a good cleaning after application so that you neutralize the surface and remove any residue that might’ve remained. That means you’ll also need to get neutralizing solutions to clean before using water.
Water-based stains don’t require neutralizing solutions, so cleaning is relatively easy. In most cases, you can use water and soap.
After you’ve concrete stained the surface, it doesn’t mean that your job is complete. A sealer is mostly used after acid-based stains to give the concrete an extra layer of protection from ultraviolet light and moisture. You can also use it after applying a water-based stain to ensure even more protection.
You have several factors to consider when choosing a concrete stain. After looking at all of the 10 product reviews that we’ve done, we found that Kemiko Stone Tone Concrete Stain was the best overall product. It had great features and fared better when compared to the other products.
Finding a product that’s good quality is important, but it’s also got to make financial sense. When you find a product that’s great quality but also has a good price attached, you know you’ve found the winning combination. For us, we found Concrete Coatings VIVID Acid Stain to be the best concrete stain for the money. If you’re looking for a premium product, you’ve got to check out Concrete Resurrection Cement Stain. That was our pick for the premium product from the 10 products.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Concrete Stains – Reviews 2021
- 1. Kemiko Stone Tone Concrete Stain – Best Overall
- 2. Concrete Coatings VIVID Acid Stain – Best Value
- 3. Concrete Resurrection Cement Stain – Premium Choice
- 4. Rust-Oleum 247162 Concrete Stain Spray
- 5. EnduraCoat Acid Stain DIY Kit
- 6. BrandBold Brilliance Concrete Acid Stain
- 7. BonWay Water Based Concrete Stain
- 8. Surecrete EcoStain Water-Based Concrete Stain
- 9. Elevate Water Based Concrete Stain
- 10. Walttools Water-Based Concrete Stain
- Buyer’s Guide