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Antique Spray for Stamped Concrete Overlays
Time: 01:47
Antique spray is made by adding a pigment to a liquid release.

Adding to the realism of stamped concrete is a broad range of integral and surface-applied coloring options that permit contractors to bring stamp patterns to life and precisely replicate the beauty of the materials they mimic. Here’s an overview of each method and tips for achieving multi-toned color schemes. For more information on coloring stamped concrete check out the latest trends in stamped concrete patterns and coloring processes.

Choosing a Color Scheme for Stamped ConcreteStamped concrete colors are often selected to blend with other architectural elements of the home or the natural surroundings (see Which Decorative Concrete Style Is Right for Your Home). For outdoor pavements, you’ll generally want to stick with subtle earthtone shades. To achieve subtle tonal variations or “antiquing” effects, you can apply one or more accent colors of hardener or use acid stains or tinted release agents. For projects where you want a bolder, more vivid color scheme, try layering dyes or water-based stains, which are available in a broader array of vibrant color tones, such as red and cobalt blue.

Coloring Methods for Stamped Concrete

Integrally colored stamped pool deck with color hardener and tinted release agent.

Integral ColorTo produce permanent color that penetrates the entire slab and won’t wear away or fade after time, you can add integral coloring pigments to the fresh concrete at the batch plant or the jobsite. Because the options for integral color are usually limited to earthtones and pastels, this method is often used in conjunction with surface-applied coloring treatments to enrich the color and provide variation.

Pool deck colored with dry-shake hardeners and acid stain highlights.

Dry-Shake Color HardenersProbably the most popular method for coloring stamped concrete is the use of dry-shake color hardeners. Unlike integral pigments, which color the entire concrete matrix, dry shakes are hand broadcast onto the surface of the freshly placed concrete and color only the top layer. Because the color is concentrated at the surface, it tends to be more intense than integral color. Color hardeners also improve the strength and density of the concrete surface and create a rich surface paste that helps to produce sharper imprints.

Brick-red stamped concrete achieved
with a solid-color acrylic stain.

Surface-Applied ColorStamped concrete contractors often use integral or dry-shake color in conjunction with surface-applied coloring mediums. This layering of color is what gives stamped concrete such natural-looking color variations, such as you would see in real stone. The options include:

Related resources: Integral Color vs. Color Hardener: Tips on Deciding What to Use
Adding Color to a Liquid Release
Stamped Concrete Coloring Techniques: How to Layer Color
Color Chart for Stamped Concrete
Colored Concrete: An Overview of the Options

Related videos: Integral Color: When and How Its Used
Tips for Applying Color Hardeners
Using Tinted Liquid Release Agents
Using Powdered Antique Release

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