Published on 3/11/2018
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A short guide to adding colour to your concrete
Cover photo by Noah Buscher@noahbuscher on Unsplash
What's coloured concrete all about?
Coloured concrete is a cool way to brighten up your outdoor living areas and driveway in 2018. There are two popular methods of colouring your concrete, firstly to pour integrated concrete, where the colour is added to your concrete via bags of colour at the batch plant, or secondly where it is thrown or broadcast over the surface of fresh concrete once it has been poured. There is a multitude of different colours available in todays marketplace, where decorative concrete is all the rage. Expect to pay between 10 to 30 percent extra to the concrete plant for your load of concrete when colour is added.
Integrated colour is consistent as colour exists throughout the load. The downside can be that the colour of your concrete may vary in situations where you require more than one load. And I guess you could say that much of the colour is wasted as it is below the surface and unable to be seen. Conversely "throw on" colour as it known is only broadcast over the surface, therefore there is not much waste and when added to your concrete it actually hardens the surface. The downside here is that when chipped or damaged by people and cars you may end up with imperfections as there is no colour in the concrete below the surface. Integrated colour or "colour through" concrete as it is commonly referred is the most popular of the two forms of colour addition in Australia. Because it is added into the concrete at the time of mixing, prior to the placement on site, the end result is an intensely rich & deep colour throughout the entire slab. The use of pigments through the slab will eliminate the loss of colour through general wear & tear, such as chipping, and promotes long term durability.
Photo : courtesy of Colourcrete Concreters Warehouse
Does coloured concrete fade?
A frequently answered question is does colured concrete fade. Cement Colors Inc state that the color can’t fade, but the concrete can. They answer the question by noting that the active ingredient in colored concrete is pure inorganic pigment which is made in a process of oxidizing metal, in essence, “fading” metal into a pigment powder. The resulting powder pigment concentrate is impossible to fade. Concrete, on the other hand does change with time and weather exposure. Even uncolored concrete which turns yellow, erodes and darkens as it accumulates dirt, dust and grime from the environment. Left unprotected or weakened by a poor mix design or finishing job, the surface of concrete “dusts” and erodes slowly until fine aggregate and sand particles are exposed. This same process occurs in colored concrete. The solution is to buy concrete from a supplier who offers mixes designed for durability and an installer with experience in finishing “architectural” concrete. Then keep coloured concrete fresh looking by protecting it with periodic applications of a good clear sealer.
What colours are available?
Depending on price you can purchase just about any colour to add to your concrete. The price varies when off white pigments are utilised, and in instances where two or three bags of colour are required to be added to each cubic metre of concrete.
Unfortunately your coloured concrete may not exactly match the color card given to you by your supplier. The final color is a function of the cement color, sand color, the amount of water used as well as finishing methods.
If your coloured concrete does not exactly suit your needs or in circumstances where there are some surface imperfections, coloured sealers van be added to the surface of your concrete after placement and curing. These sealers enhance and protect the surface of your concrete, ensuring you have both a consistent colour and bright, vibrant finish throughout.
You do not necessarily have to seal your coloured concrete. Colored concrete will get good and hard just like normal concrete. However, all concrete benefits from being sealed against stains and water damage. So even though it’s not necessary, sealing your colored concrete will make it look good longer and will help prevent dusting of the surface.
Photo Source : Colourcrete Concreters Warehouse
For more information on coloured concrete and decorative concrete check out these articles from concretebroker :
Tags: color color sealer colored concrete colour colour chart colour sealer coloured concrete decorative concrete integrated colour throw on colour