What To Consider When Buying Integral Color Concrete

By Sally Delacruz

A variety of colors are available today that can be added to concrete. They come in different forms and can be added in a number of ways. Each method offers certain advantages and disadvantages. One of the main advantages to using integral color concrete is that the color extends throughout the slab. This means that even if it is abraded, chipped or scratched, it does not lose color. This method also offers savings in labor as the mixing occurs before the slab is thrown.

These products are available in liquid, granular and powdered forms. They are usually a blend of natural or synthetic iron-oxide pigments and wetting agents. The synthetic pigments have more tinting strength than the natural ones. One of the limitations of using this method is that the hue is less intense and more subtle than that achieved when using shake-on hardeners.

Iron-oxide pigments are basically black, red and yellow. These colors are then combined in different ratios to produce the many other colors available. Charts can be found on websites of suppliers showing a wide variety of attractive, earthy colors. Customers must be aware that the exact color seen on the chart may be reproduce exactly due to factors like the types of cement used and methods of application.

The liquid form of the product usually comes in pails or buckets. Many ready mix plants have liquid dispensing systems and pails can be delivered to the plant for mixing into a batch. This allows colors to be precisely dispensed into the mix, helping to create a good, cohesive mix.

Dry pigments are packaged in disintegrating bags of different sizes, from 1 to 25 pounds or more. These are usually used for smaller projects and the whole bag can be added without having to open it and create a mess. Thorough mixing is extremely important or streaking can occur.

When applying the concrete, it is important to maintain the same slump throughout the process. If too much job site water is added or the surface is splashed with water when finished, this affects the ratio of pigment to cement. The eventual colors then appear too light as the more water used, the lighter the colors.

Cost of application using this method may be more than when just applying colors to the surface of a slab such as when using shake-on hardener. As most cements have a graying effect, some of these colors should only be added to very light or white cement and this can also push costs up. Liquid pigments will usually cost more but they do have the advantage of blending easily and being less messy. Fortunately, labor usually costs less due to the fact that pigment is mixed in before application, so no extra costs are added to apply it.

These products are ideal for many projects, large and small. They look great on stair risers and treads or driveways with different architectural finishes. As long as they are thoroughly mixed in, the colors are uniform and do not fade when exposed to sunlight.

About the Author:

No comments:

Post a Comment