Does colored concrete fade?
The color itself doesn’t actually fade, but the concrete does, so over time the color may appear lighter. The active ingredient in colored concrete is inorganic pigment. It is made during the process of oxidizing metal. Basically, during the process metal is faded into a pigment powder. This produces a powdered pigment that will not fade. It’s actually the same active ingredient as used in tattoos. Concrete is typically exposed to harsh elements and long durations of direct sunlight, so even concrete that is not colored will turn sort of yellowish over time and darken or erode from dirt, dust, and grime. Make sure to buy your concrete from a trusted supplier that has concrete mixes designed for durability available. Also, make sure the installer has experience with finishing architectural concrete. You can keep the colored concrete in top shape by periodically applying a quality clear sealer. (Click here for reasons to use colored concrete.)
Where do I get colored concrete?
A good place for homeowners to start is to search for local contractors in the yellow pages, the local newspaper, or online. Landscape contractors can contact their local Ready-Mix supplier for a referral.
How much does it cost to add color to concrete?
That answer depends on who you have completing the project and whether or not you are having any special decorative work done. About 10% to 30% is usually added to the concrete cost itself, but it usually doesn’t add much to the total cost of the installation. This is because the majority of colored concrete is mixed, applied, and finished the same way that regular uncolored concrete is.
Can I occasionally sprinkle water on my colored concrete like I have been told to do with regular concrete?
You do not want to sprinkle water on colored concrete. Water sprinkled on regular uncolored concrete is sometimes suggested to help it cure. The reason that you don’t want to do this with colored concrete is because it can lighten the concrete unevenly. The type of water you have also plays into it. Hard water can create white salt deposits which is not attractive at all. One of the better ways to cure colored concrete is to use a good quality clear cure and seal product. Some solvent based sealers work well also, but the majority of water based sealers won’t work. The sun can turn water based sealers yellow of white. Contact the manufacturer of the sealer if you have any questions about the product you decide to use.
Is a sealer necessary?
No, a sealer is suggested to protect the concrete against stains and water damage, as well as to prolong the appearance of the colored concrete. Colored concrete will cure just like regular uncolored concrete does, so it is okay not to use a sealer.
Why is my colored concrete darker in some areas than it is in others?
If the concrete has been recently poured and is less than two weeks old than it is probably still drying. If you notice that certain areas stay dark when the rest of the concrete has cured then it’s possible that you have moisture trapped in certain parts of the concrete, this is commonly referred to as entrapped moisture. You may notice these areas are where the concrete was hard troweled or where jointing and edging tools were used. Try scrubbing the dark areas with a stiff bristled brush and rinsing it with water. Do this process a few times over a couple of days and you should see the concrete lighten in color. If the concrete has not been recently poured and is more than two weeks old then pour some water on the darks spots to wet them then add some white vinegar and use a stiff bristled brush to scrub the dark areas. It may take a few times of doing this for the dark areas to lighten. (Click here for colored concrete info and photos.)
There are so many creative and custom options for finishing concrete, but first and foremost important is the concrete itself. At Custom Concrete Creations we have state of the art equipment and a properly trained team with years of experience. Custom Concrete Creations is a premier contractor serving the Omaha area as well at the Midwest. Give us a call or send us an email for your custom concrete finishing needs today!