Colored Concrete

September 1, 2017


One advantage to concrete is that you have several options. Concrete can be a decorative, appealing element that enhances your outdoor space.

You can customize your concrete further by combining colored concrete with other techniques. For example, if you use a broom finish technique and/or concrete stamping you can add various patterns in order to have a unique, eye-catching look. You could even take it a step further and add designs to the concrete by sandblasting.

How it’s achieved

Colored concrete is achieved by adding natural mined pigments that have been manufactured in a chemical plant and added to the concrete. The color is not caused by a typical application such as a paint or dye.

The color that you add to the cement needs to be strong enough to overwhelm the original gray. The final color of the concrete will be the color that you get after mixing the colored concrete with the gray concrete.

The color shouldn’t fade. If you don’t regularly maintain your colored concrete it will change color. However the concrete care is virtually the same as with your typical gray concrete. The only real difference that you may notice is that you might have to clean and reseal it more often.

Colors

In order to get a really light shade of concrete you would need to mix it with white concrete, which is more expensive.

Water affects the color and permanently changes it.  Adding water usually makes the color lighter, which is why it’s important not to use water if colored concrete is drying too quickly. Instead a “surface evaporative control agent” should be used.

Another thing to consider is that concrete is not always the same shade of gray, and can, in fact, vary in color. In order to keep the concrete as consistent as possible it is important to use the same company and supplier throughout your project.

To keep a consistent appearance, use a colored curing compound that matches all of the batches of concrete that will be used in the same project.

Tips

Normal concrete problems will probably look much worse and exacerbated in colored concrete. It’s easier to ignore small issues with a typical pour, but imperfections become more apparent when using colored concrete.

One colored concrete idea is to add a darker tint and sandblast the concrete to expose the aggregate. Doing this can help diminish the appearance of oil and grease stains in driveways and parking lots.

Colored concrete is also often used as a landscaping technique to help features blend in better with nature. The standard gray color can draw unwanted attention, but if you using a colored concrete that looks similar to the surroundings can create a softer, more subtle effect.