The term "colored concrete" refers to concrete with pigments added during the mixing process. It is a fast growing trend in the concrete industry including the residential sector.
|Pouring concrete with sandstone color added to the mix.||Colored concrete that's been stamped and antiqued with release powder.|
There are a few reasons why it's becoming more and more popular among customers as well as contractors.
Adding color to the mix is a quick, easy, and fairly inexpensive way to customize the appearance of concrete. You don't have to wait for the concrete to cure to color it as you would with paints or stains. Once it's poured and finished there's no need pay another contractor to come and color it. This makes it cheaper than any of the other decorative options.
The greatest advantage of colored concrete vs alternatives is the consistency of the color throughout the thickness of the slab. All concrete eventually chips, pops, or scales on the surface, especially in harsh climates with many freeze and thaw cycles. When this happens to concrete that only has color at the surface, any defects are very apparent because they will be the gray or white color of regular, uncolored concrete. Concrete that's colored throughout does a much better job of hiding those defects.
There are also a few drawbacks to integral color. Some colors such as blues and greens are very expensive to produce which significantly increases the price of the concrete. Ready mix companies may also charge an additional fee for extra truck cleanup so that future loads aren't contaminated with pigments.
Colored concrete charts do not differ very much between manufacturers. It's important to understand that the final color won't match the chart exactly. Therefore, you can easily spend too much time deciding colors. As a contractor with experience in integral coloring, I can tell you that some colors are so similar that I can't tell the difference when the concrete is poured. Here is an example of a color chart.
Because there are many uncontrollable variables that determine the final color, it is impossible to guarantee the exact color once the concrete has cured and is sealed. Temperature, wind speed, humidity, sunlight, precipitation are some of the factors that alter the final appearance. Because these can change throughout the course of a project, integral colors can differ slightly from one pour or load to the next. You need a knowledgeable and experienced contractor to get the best possible results.