Decorative concrete and stained concrete have divergent finished looks. It’s a good idea to master the basics when working with colored concrete or concrete stains. Then move on to more challenging projects. Architecture often features decorative concrete AKA integrally colored concrete. Many aspects that effect the final color of concrete.
Contractors have been coloring concrete since the early 1950’s . The F.D. Davis Company introduced the idea in southern California. They added a chemical manufacturing waste product called synthetic iron oxide to traditional gray concrete mix , and were able to achieve a wide range of earthy tones.
integrally colored/decorative concrete
Pigments transform bland concrete into vibrant colors. Some are still mined from the ground but today most pigments manufactured in chemical plants. Pigments come in powder, liquid and granular forms. When added to cement mix, the pigment particles coat the larger cement particles.
Many factors affect the final color, but the most critical is the water to cement ratio. Water is added methodically as it permanently changes the concrete. It can lighten the final color. There are 2 benefits to using pre-colored concrete. 1. It’s installation is no different than standard concrete. 2 The color’s already inside. So you don’t need to add any color. Redi-Mix makes custom colored concrete to color match anything you can think of. It also has disintegrating bag technology that works with the mixer so there is no environmental waste and pigments are evenly dispersed.
Contractors must also consider the role gray cement plays in the final color. It’s difficult to achieve lighter tones with cement, so darker earth tone shades are a better choice. Inconsistencies can also come from using different brands of cements, combining colors and textures, and inconsistent curing.
Many techniques can be used to color concrete. Sometimes finished products that don’t meet client’s expectations. Probably the most common is adding a tinted sealer. You can buy pre-mixed color sealers or add color to a clear sealer. They’re available in various levels of finish, from flat matte sheen to high gloss shine that delivers a wet look, and vary in opacity to hide a multitude of imperfections.
Another method is to apply a decorative stain. Fairly translucent with a single coat, stains are added in layers to change the color of the surface it’s bonded to permanently. Finally, there is the use of polymer-modified section toppings. These micro-thin toppings come in any color in interior or exterior grade. They can be finished to replicate concrete.
When starting any project who you work with is important. Work with people and products with transparency regarding pricing you can trust to share your vision and help you bring it to fruition.