- Colored Concrete Home
- Hide stains, mimic nature, add interest
- Concrete color charts
- Ways to Color Concrete
- Concrete stains
- Integral color
- Dry-shake color hardener
- Concrete dyes
- Comparison Chart: Concrete Coloring Products
- Tips for Getting Great Results
- How to cure colored concrete
- Tips for getting the best results with color
- Checklist for integrally colored concrete flatwork
- Achieving different color effects with stains and dyes
- Where to get color inspiration
- Design Ideas for Colored Concrete
- Which color scheme is right for your home?
- Creating color and texture with stamped concrete
- Adding interest with exposed aggregate
- Creating excitement with color: Endless possibilities with polymer stain
- Concrete dyes expand the color palette of concrete stains
- Maintaining and Troubleshooting Colored Concrete
- Maintaining colored concrete
- Understanding colored concrete: Common problems, why they occur, and how to avoid or fix them
- Related Information:
- Colored Concrete Specs from Davis Colors: MSDS and tech safety sheets for tilt-ups, paving, cast-in-place, masonry, and precast
- Guide to Buying Concrete Stains and Dyes
- Guide to Buying Integral Color and Color Hardener for Concrete
- Lea este artículo en español
Color Concrete with Concrete Color HardenerSometimes referred to as 'cement coloring,' dry-shake color hardeners mix into fresh concrete creating long-lasting results
Dry-shake color hardeners come as powders that are hand broadcast onto the freshly placed concrete and then worked into the surface with a float or trowel. Unlike integral pigments, which color the entire concrete matrix, hardeners color only the top surface layer. Because the color is concentrated at the surface, it tends to be more intense than integral color.
Most shake-on color hardeners are a blend of pigments, finely graded silica sand, wetting agents, and portland cement. Coloring options come in a wider array of hues than integral colors, including various shades of blue and green (see this color chart for Lithochrome hardener from L.M. Scofield). As the name implies, they also densify the concrete surface because they contain hard mineral aggregates and portland cement. The result is a surface that's stronger, more wear resistant, and less permeable to moisture and deicing chemicals than standard concrete.
Where to use: Decorative contractors often use dry shakes to color stamped concrete or concrete overlays because the rich surface paste helps to produce sharper imprints. Hardeners also produce more robust tones than possible with integral pigments and permit greater variability. For example, contractors can apply one or more accent colors of hardener to achieve subtle tonal variations, such as you would see in natural stone. Because color hardeners improve the strength and density of the concrete surface, they are a great choice for exterior slabs exposed to freeze-thaw cycles and deicing salts and for interior floors exposed to heavy foot traffic and abrasion.
Limitations: Because of their shake-on application, dry shakes generally are limited to use on horizontal surfaces. They also are messy to apply because some of the material goes airborne during broadcasting. That makes it necessary to protect adjacent buildings, landscaping, walls and existing slabs with plastic sheeting. This airborne powder can also be harmful to breathe, which may prohibit the use of dry shakes in occupied indoor spaces.
Find a contractor in your area who specializes in colored concrete.
Return to Coloring Concrete