The Battle of Acid-Stained Concrete Vs. Metallic Epoxy Coating – What Wins?

getting the concrete floor ready for a metallic epoxy coating

One of the biggest questions that take over a home or business owner’s mind when it comes to flooring is: which floor is the right choice for me? Most flooring systems have pros and cons, whether wood, tile, carpet, or epoxy floor coating. When it comes to decorative coating for a room with concrete, the choice usually comes down to acid-stained concrete or metallic epoxy coating. To determine the answer, they need to know how the two differ. The professionals at Steel Coated Epoxy Floors explain what they are and the main differences between them to help you make a choice.

What is Acid-Stained Concrete?

Many businesses and homeowners use a finishing technique instead of a concrete floor coating, like acid-stained concrete. Acid-stained concrete is a finishing technique in which acid-soluble metallic salts are mixed with hydrochloric acid and water. This mixture reacts and penetrates the hydrated lime in the concrete. It etches the concrete surface for salts to go deeper easily. The stain becomes part of the concrete surface, giving it a hue ranging from neutrals to terra cottas.

How Is It Applied?

Contractors begin with cleaning and scraping the concrete to remove any stains and dried substances. Afterwards, soap and water are mixed to ensure a clean surface before the process. Next, they apply an etching solution to the concrete to open its pores and allow the mixture to pass to the surface. Then, working in sections, the contractor will spray the area with plain water to dampen it and prevent acid burns. Lastly, a mixture of degreaser neutralizer and water is applied to the floor to remove all acid residue.

acid-stained concrete in a room

Benefits of Acid-Stained Concrete


Acid-stained concrete is durable. It’s inflammable and UV light-resistant, preventing peeling, discoloring, and fading. Done correctly, it also remains unaffected by water. However, it lasts 5 to 20 years, depending on many factors.


The acid stain likely won’t fade if you forget about concrete maintenance. Spills are also easy to clean up.


Acid-stained concrete is usually translucent. The color the stain produces depends on the substrate it is applied to and can vary in intensity. However, the color selection is limited to earthy tones like brown, tan, or muted blue-green.

What is Metallic Epoxy Coating?

Metallic epoxy coating is still relatively new compared to the other flooring systems on the market. It’s technically still a traditional epoxy floor coating with iridescent qualities coming from metallic pigments. It gained instantaneous popularity and became one of the most popular decorative concrete floor coatings after its introduction. Nowadays, manufacturers have their own unique and snazzy metallic coating products. However, the variance is somewhat superficial. In addition, metallic coating shares the basic traits of epoxy floor coating.

restaurant with epoxy floor coating

How Is It Done?

The type of epoxy coating used for the decorative flooring is 100% solids epoxy. It has a long set time of around 12 to 24 hours. The long set time helps to disperse the primary and secondary metallic pigment better. The flooring contractor will let the pigment flow and settle using gravity and rheology for a unique finish every time. Next, the secondary coat is placed in isolated spots, and the epoxy base coat is applied and leveled once the secondary coat is added as desired. Contractors then disperse the pigment using squeegees, leaf blowers, denatured alcohol, and paint rollers.

Benefits of Metallic Epoxy Coating

Metallic epoxy coating is popular because of the many benefits it offers:

Decorative Coating

Similar to luxury vinyl tile, carpet, and wood laminate, it adds a decorative coating that’s often unique since the metallic pigments don’t follow a set pattern. It’s the perfect coating to cover up the damaged concrete underneath since it’s opaque. The coating also has an artistic appeal, making it work for residential or business environments.

Quick and Simple Application

Because of its quick and simpler application, metallic epoxy coating is the go-to flooring choice for many contractors. It requires one thick application of epoxy after grinding and finishing crack repairs to the concrete. Many can finish the process within a day, depending on the condition of the concrete.

Low Yellowing

Since metallic epoxy coating has thicker iridescent pigments dispersed in the epoxy, it is not only an attractive flooring choice, but it also has low yellowing. It fits all performance needs and doesn’t require constant replacements or fixes.

Resistance to Chemicals & Heat

Like other epoxy floor coating, a metallic coating is resistant to chemicals and heat. Epoxy is resistant to transmission fluids, gasoline, bleach, oil, etc. This high resistance makes epoxy a beloved floor coating type in the automotive industry. In addition, epoxy is also resistant to heat. Even the most basic epoxy can withstand 150°-300° Fahrenheit of heat.

mechanic in workshop worry-free about spilling because of chemical-resistant floor

The Bottom Line – What Flooring Wins?

Acid-stained concrete and metallic epoxy coating are popular choices for concrete because they make it more durable and resistant to chemicals and moisture. However, when it comes to picking between, metallic coating takes the top spot because epoxy creates a thick layer over the concrete, making it last longer. Moreover, there are more choices of colors and finishes with epoxy than with acid-stained concrete.

Looking for Epoxy Flooring Contractors?

If you are looking for an epoxy floor coating that offers multiple color choices and finishes, check out Steel Coated Epoxy Floors. We offer the best epoxy floor coating that coats your garage or any other room and makes it lasts a long time. Our professionals will help you get the exact finish you want while ensuring that the floor is extremely durable. We offer commercial and residential coatings, both with a lifetime warranty. You can get our steel-coated epoxy floors and concrete floor coatings in areas such as Draper, Layton, Las Vegas, and Prescott.

Contact us for more information on our services.