Concrete is a very strong and versatile substance, but it can be drab in appearance. For this reason, many commercial and industrial premises prefer to have their concrete coloured when making new structures. There are three main ways in which this can be achieved.
The first method is by directly adding pigments to the concrete mix before its application. They can be added in powdered form to the original concrete mixture, or in liquid form to the water that is used to mix it. The pigments will then be part of the concrete and will bind to it chemically to create a permanent colour. As the pigments can be mixed, there is a wide variety of colour variations that can be created. The colour will also be uniform across the whole of the concrete slab, although this will be disrupted if the concrete ever becomes cracked.
A second way of colouring concrete is to add a colour hardener to the mix after it has been poured. This usually takes the form of pigmented cement, so it adds strength to the concrete surface as well as colour. The hardening agent is added in either powdered or liquid form to the freshly poured surface and sets in to produce a vibrant and striking colour. The main disadvantage is that the colour can fade over time, particularly if it has been exposed to bright sunlight.
Stains and dyes
Lastly, stains and dyes can be added to the concrete after it has set. Stains will react with the concrete and bond with it to form a permanent colour; dyes however only coat the concrete and will therefore fade over time. Both of these are easy to apply and can be added afterwards in order to brighten up a concrete surface that is already in use. The surface should be thoroughly cleaned before the colouring agent is applied. You should also ensure that any surface defects are properly repaired before colouring, as they will show up much more afterwards. After the stain or dye has been applied, you should add a sealant to protect the colour and help it to last for longer.
Concrete does not have to be a boring and functional material. Colouring can add a human touch and make your business premises more welcoming. For more information on how to colour your concrete surfaces, contact commercial concrete contractors in your area.