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Integral Color - Dry Pigments vs. Liquid Color

Question:

I am aware that integral color is available in both dry and liquid forms. Is there an advantage to using one over the other? If so, what are they and which is better?

Answer:

The short answer is: It depends. Both dry and liquid integral colors use the same type of pigments (typically synthetic or natural iron oxides). Liquid color just happens to be suspended in water. The decision of which type to use comes down to user preference, availability, and price.

Powdered pigments have been around for 60 years, and they are still the most popular coloring medium, although liquid color has grown in popularity over the last 10 years. Advantages of using dry color in bags or in bulk include wider availability, greater tinting strength, and lower cost. However, liquid pigments offer advantages when it comes to mixing and storing. They are less messy to handle, easier to store, and blend in faster than powders. They also can be dispensed with computer-controlled metering systems, which some ready-mix producers use in their plants for more precise dosing and to simplify the blending of custom concrete colors. The downside is cost. Liquid color is 30% to 40% water on average, so you must buy 1.3 to 1.4 pounds of liquid color to obtain the same results as 1 pound of dry color.

While this discussion is not going to end the debate on the merits of dry vs. liquid integral pigments, it should shed some light on the differences. No matter what form of color you choose for your concrete (powder or liquid), the end result will be the same.

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Chris Sullivan

Author Chris Sullivan, ConcreteNetwork.com technical expert and vice president of sales and marketing for ChemSystems Inc.

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