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Concrete Discoloration

Learn the common causes of discoloration and what
countermeasures to take to avoid the problem
Some discoloration problems are baffling. These driveway lanes were placed on two different days with the same supplier, same mix, same crew, same subgrade, but with very different results.

Any contractor who has placed concrete that ends up being discolored knows how big of a nuisance and disappoint it can be to everyone involved. The contractor worked hard to deliver a product that reflects well on the company's image. The owner was looking forward to (and paid for) an attractive driveway, sidewalk, or patio that complements their home or commercial structure. But when the concrete turns out to be blotchy and uneven in color, and takes away from rather than enhances a property's curb appeal, everyone wants to know why the discoloration happened and how it might be avoided or corrected.

Common Causes of Discolored Concrete

Preventing Concrete Discoloration

Fixing Discolored Concrete

Discoloration is a tricky subject, since many factors can contribute to the problem (see photo). However, discoloration, whether occurring in a single placement or sequential concrete placements, generally boils down to one root cause: inconsistency. This can be an inconsistency in materials or in workmanship. Here are some of the most common causes and practices leading to discoloration and some remedies you can take to lessen the effects.

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Author George W. Seegebrecht, Columnist and Principal Engineer at Concrete Engineering Group, LLC