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The Many Faces of Colored Concrete

By Tanya Bryant, Brickform






A chemical reaction produces oxide colors on cured concrete by reacting with the free lime in the concrete's surface. The process produces a variegated look that is easy to maintain, is UV-resistant, and that will not chip, crack or peel. It also reduces surface-glare on walkways, driveways, patios and entrances.
Photos courtesy of Brickform


Architectural or decorative concrete has become one of the most popular ways to color and texture concrete, especially since it costs approximately a third less than many natural materials. There are many decorative concrete solutions including: coloring, staining, texturing, sandblast stencils, sealing products, and all the accessories needed to create fantastic, lasting impressions in concrete.

Gray concrete may be structurally strong and dependable, but it can be so much more. Decorative concrete coloring systems work together to produce beautiful concrete surfaces wherever your creative vision demands them.






Use texture mats on flatwork to add depth and slip-resistance or combine with Antique Release to achieve the look of other paving materials. Allow the concrete to cure for 28 days after application and then apply the sealer to protect the surface.


Blush-Tone Acid Stain brings new creative possibilities to the art of decorative concrete installation. It allows the installer to create colors with real depth and dimension, with shadings and highlights that are unique and captivating. Acid Stain opens the door to a whole new palette of creative expression on decorative concrete projects.

Depending on the application technique, acid stain can create thousands of different looks ranging from the understated elegance of burnished leather to the ageless beauty of natural stone. A chemical reaction produces oxide colors on cured concrete by reacting with the free lime in the concrete's surface. The process produces a variegated look that is easy to maintain, is UV-resistant, and that will not chip, crack or peel.






A powdered, colored, bond-breaker should be specified to keep texturing tools from adhering to the surface of freshly imprinted concrete. When applied to the concrete and the texturing tool by the contractor prior to texturing, a portion of it becomes imbedded into the concrete leaving behind an "antiqued" appearance. A variety of color effects are possible by using a release color that either matches or contrasts with the underlying concrete.


Stain is durable enough for commercial applications in restaurants, showrooms and retail spaces. It also reduces surface-glare on walkways, driveways, patios and entrances. In addition, it is available in many standard colors, with a coverage rate of 200 to 300 square feet per gallon.

Use acid stain with decorative sandblast stencils to create distinctive borders and themes. Greater visual interest can be achieved by using stain over concrete surfaces colored and antiqued with Color Hardener and Antique Release. It also works well on integrally colored concrete, creating eye-catching combinations that cannot be duplicated with other coloring techniques.






Using a dry iron-oxide pigment allows for the creation of different color shades by the mixing and matching of stock color. It can be used for cast-in-place, pre-cast, and tilt-up concrete, concrete block, and textured concrete and pavers such as this commercial site.


Color Hardener is a colorant and surface hardener designed to work with texturing tools to produce clear, sharp impressions in new concrete flatwork and floors. A dry, shake-applied hardener, it is made from the finest pigments and aggregates available. It is engineered specifically to color cast-in-place concrete, while hardening the concrete's surface. The hardened surface is resistant to weathering, wear and normal abrasion.

Color hardener can be troweled and broomed, or textured by using texture mats and liquid release. Create the look of expensive materials such as handset tile, brick or quarried stone by using a powdered release.

Antique Release is broadcast onto the concrete surface prior to the placement of mat-type texturing tools or rollers. It is a powdered, colored, bond-breaker used to keep texturing tools from adhering to the surface of freshly imprinted concrete. At the same time, it can be used to add color, shading and highlighting to the design. When applied to the concrete and the texturing tool prior to texturing, a portion of it becomes imbedded into the concrete leaving behind an "antiqued" appearance. A variety of color effects are possible by using a release color that either matches or contrasts with the underlying concrete.

Stain is durable enough for commercial applications in restaurants, showrooms and retail spaces. It also reduces surface-glare on walkways, driveways, patios and entrances.

Liquid Color is a water-based iron-oxide integral color that is added to the mix creating uniform tones throughout the concrete. It can be used in combinations with any surface color to create beautiful effects, especially with sandblasted surfaces. Made from the finest pigments, it is highly resistant to UV fading, and comes in 24 standard colors, with custom color matching available.

Powdered Integral Color is a dry iron-oxide pigment for mixing into unplaced concrete. Its unique package design reduces inventory demands for distributors by allowing for the creation of different color shades by the mixing and matching of stock color. Powdered integral color can be used for cast-in-place, pre-cast, and tilt-up concrete, concrete block, pavers, and textured concrete. It is available in 19 standard colors with custom colors available.

Designing with saw-cuts on flatwork can add definition while sandblasting exposes the aggregates and creates the appearance of different colors. Use texture mats on flatwork to add depth and slip-resistance or combine with Antique Release to achieve the look of other paving materials. Allow the concrete to cure for 28 days after application. Protect your masterpiece by applying a sealer.







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September 18, 2019, 9:44 am PDT

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