Coloring Concrete

Many customers that I speak to have a specific desire for how they want their finished product to look. Determining  what type of material or colorant to use can be both fun and tricky.  A lot of the time this comes down to deciding what materials to use to achieve those results as well as what kind, if any colorants to use.  I have listed some examples of different finishes and mixtures below.  The purpose of this blog post is to provide examples of coloring techniques for concrete.

Concrete dyes

Okay, so this might be the most tricky technique if you have multiple pieces to pour.  The trick here is getting the water to dye ratio very similar (like baking similar) between each pour.  Some people have said this is hard to use for items like benches because even though they are using the same dye some one leg will turn out much darker or lighter than the other.

The treat..  If you are looking to create a chalky colored finish like a terracotta, concrete dyes are a great medium.  Another plus side to using concrete dyes is the color is consistent through your piece.  For example if the piece is worn down over time the color is not only on the surface.  Here are some examples of finished pieces using History Stones Molds and concrete dyes.

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Concrete paints

Oh the possibilities with this one.  Concrete paints allow you to get crafty or artistic, but there surely is no going back if you mess up.  So plan this one out.  Making marking points or sketches with a pencil first certainly isn’t cheating.  I guarantee this is a fun and satisfying project.  I recommend patio paints.  They are designed for painting concrete and the paint is impressively resistant to time and weather.  Still, you might want to consider sealing your finish project.  The paints go on like an acrylic.  Here are some examples from crafty to professional.  If you are planning on painting a large piece like the column below, Behr paints or something similar will work great.

handprintsfinal patio_paint_outdoor paintedtuscany

Acid Stains

Acid stains certainly have their own effect, and it is beautiful.  If you are looking for a perfectly imperfect finish this may be the medium to help you achieve that.   You can purchase acid stains at most hardware stores, however you might find a larger selection of colors at a specialty concrete store.  We use the brand Brickform.  Make sure you use rubber gloves and safety goggles when you are using acid stain.  The acid is so strong it creates a foaming reaction on the surface of the concrete when you apply it.   So, just make sure you do not get this on your skin!  Have you noticed the beautiful concrete floors in Starbucks?  This is a good example of acid stain finishes.  Concrete floors and acid stain go great together.  Here are a few examples of using acid stain for your other projects.

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