The Difference Between Water-Based and Solvent-Based Dyes
Water-based and solvent-based dyes are used to deepen the color of stained concrete. There are several differences between these two types of solvents, but the main difference is that solvent-based dyes provide deeper, richer colors. Both types of dyes are typically applied to concrete overlays and polished concrete floors, and they are often applied to existing or older concrete slabs.
Solvent-based dyes can be dangerous mostly because they are flammable. In fact, some manufacturers only sell their dyes to experienced applicators, since an open flame in a building along with solvent dyes could cause an explosion. Make sure that your concrete contractor is experienced in using solvent based dyes.
Solvent-based dyes can provide amazingly bold and beautiful colors which cannot be achieved through any other methods. The translucent finish of solvent dyes are bold and beautiful, as pictured above, when applied over an acid-stained concrete floor. Dyes can be used full strength to attain greater depth of color or diluted with water or solvents to produce paler shades or a lighter, more translucent color wash (source: concreteflooring.com). When using solvent-based dye floor preparation, it is extremely important that the floor be completely clean. The cleaner the floor, the better the dye will penetrate. Your concrete floor contractor will explain to you the best ways to get your floor clean before the dye is applied.
Water-based dyes are more green friendly, as they do not contain as many harmful chemicals as solvent-based dyes. The colors are not as bold with water-based dyes. In fact, the finished color of water-based dyes tends to be more subtle and soft, which is a great choice for kitchens and bathrooms. Because they are not as bold as solvent-based dyes, water-based dyes cannot hide some of the imperfections in the concrete, as solvent-based dyes do. Water-based dyes are easier to apply and easier to clean up. So if you are looking for a more environmentally friendly dye and softer tones, then water-based dyes are best for your floor.