The color of stains is strong and long-lasting because they penetrate the concrete surface. The color will not fade, chip, or peel away when applied to properly prepared concrete. Acid and water-based stains can be used on both new and old concrete, as well as plain and integrally colored concrete. They may be used on everything from concrete floors and kitchen counters to pool decks and driveways, both inside and out. So in saying that acid stain can last 5 to 20 years depending on many factors.
Inorganic metallic ions dissolved in an acid and water solution make up acid-based concrete stains. They enter the surface and make a permanent link with the concrete by reacting chemically with it. They produce translucent rather than opaque color, which results in deep, rich tones and appealing marbled effects.
Water-based stains are made up of a mixture of acrylic polymers and pigments that fill the pores of the concrete surface to create a colored coating that can be translucent or opaque depending on the product. The main difference is that no chemical reaction occurs, resulting in a more consistent color. Because they are free of solvents and acids, water-based stains are also low in VOCs and safer to use.
Yes, you must seal the concrete after the stain has been applied and dried. Depending on the concrete sealer used, it's usually recommended to seal the concrete every couple of years to keep the color from fading. If you choose a high-quality concrete stain and sealer, you may be able to shorten the period between resealing to every 3-5 years.