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Concrete Finishes and Colors

Concrete floors can be a fantastic way of providing a gorgeous finish floor and  particularly comfortable if they are heated by radiant tubes run within the concrete.

Endless variations allow incredible artistic expression.

Our usual favorite is an integral color - steel troweled to a smooth finish with wax as a finish sealer.

Weather inside or outside - broom, acid washed or smooth - color varies widely and depends on site conditions at time of installation.  Exterior slabs also tend to fade and lighten even more than interior slabs so it can be a good idea to start strong on the color.

 

Decorative Floors and Other Flatwork

http://www.cement.org/index.asp

What do you get when you cross an artist with a concrete contractor? It’s no joke; you get great decorative concrete surfaces (floors and pavements). Through the use of stains, stamps, dyes, colored pigments, white cement, textured patterns, ornate sawcuts, epoxy overlay, and more, concrete floors are becoming increasingly attractive for home and facility owners. As techniques for decorative concrete finishes are developed, other decorative floor coverings are being replaced by concrete.

For both interior and exterior applications, varying looks are achieved by employing one or more of these techniques. This page provides a sampling of some of the available techniques for adding visual interest to a concrete surface. See the list of available references at the end for more detailed information about the processes.

Exposed Aggregate

Exposed aggregate techniqueOne of the most popular and enduring decorative concrete finishes, exposed aggregate uses the texture of the rock or stone in the concrete to embellish the surface. In this technique, concrete is placed and floated as normal. The concrete is left to set and the surface paste is later removed by washing and/or brushing. In a variation of the method, select aggregate is cast over the fresh surface and embedded prior to setting of the concrete. Washing and brushing follow as before to remove the mortar from the surface, fully exposing the natural color and texture of the aggregate. An acid wash may also be performed to further remove paste from the aggregate and brighten the surface. More.


Stamping

Stamped driveway slabStamping, which can be used for both interior and exterior concrete surfaces, has literally made a big impression over the last several decades. Stamped surfaces are created by supplementing finishing operations on fresh concrete with patterned or textured mats and templates. Having started as simple shapes and minimal textures, stamping tools and techniques have continually evolved to an advanced stage.Stamped pool deck slab Truly realistic textures can be enhanced with color additions, mimicking natural stone, rock, wood, brick, and more. The only limitation is the designer’s imagination.

Standard procedures for placing, finishing, and curing concrete flatwork apply – with a few added steps. Using a stamping tool or pattern, fresh concrete is imprinted after the initial float pass and application of a release agent. If color is to be used, a dry shake color harder may be applied during finishing. The stamping procedure effectively replaces steel troweling, and the effect is a unique surface in both pattern and texture.

One way to reduce the cost of materials for colored flatwork finishes is to place the color only at or near the surface. There are two common approaches for doing this: Dry-shake finishes or the two-course method. Both are compatible with stamped finishing techniques. More.

Integral Colors, Staining, Tinting, and Dying

There are many ways to color concrete—before it has hardened or afterwards. Integral pigments are mixed into fresh concrete to create through-body color. Alternately, stains, tints, or dyes can be applied to hardened surfaces to impart color. Chemical stains react with hardened concrete to become an integral component of the floor surface. Pigmented tints or dyes deposit finely ground pigments into the substrate. To allow for the greatest range of colors, including pastels and deep, vibrant hues, white portland cement provides a neutral tinting base for adding color. Alternately, it enables bright white finishes when used in combination with white aggregates.

Stained concrete floor incorporating logoLogos and other creative designs made from a combination of stains and dyes accentuate the lobby of a commercial building.


Stains enhance the inherent irregularities in the concrete surface with color to resemble a marble appearance.

 

Stained Concrete

Chemically reactive stains are water-based, acidic solutions that contain metallic salts. These metallic salts react chemically with calcium hydroxide compounds (hydrated lime) in hardened concrete. Such reactions form the insoluble colors that become a permanent fixture of the hardened concrete surface.

Stained concrete floorPartly due to the irregularity in finishing patterns and partly due to the inherent variation of the concrete materials, stain chemicals react in a very irregular pattern – giving it a decorative effect. As a result, mix constituents and finishing techniques will greatly influence how effective the staining can be. Controlling these parameters is important for achieving the best effect from the stain.

Stains can be applied to old or new concrete; to colored or gray surfaces; and may be used in conjunction with other decorative techniques and creative joint patterns. Combining chemical stains with dyes presents an unlimited palette of colors to create floor patterns and designs. To protect and enhance the color of the floor, using a sealer is an important step. However, just as material selection for the concrete is important, selection of the appropriate sealer is also important for the performance and durability of the floor.

Jointing/Joint Patterns

Slab using creative sawcut jointsSawcut joints are installed using either an early-entry saw after concrete finishing or a conventional saw after concrete setting. Alternately, jointing tools (rather than saws) can add pattern lines to fresh concrete surfaces. Since joints should be used to control concrete cracking anyway, this is a simple—and purposeful—method for adding greater interest to concrete surfaces.


Out of this world! This concrete slab at the Kennedy Space Center in Melbourne, FL uses creative sawcut joints to enhance the outer space ambiance in the rocket graveyard. More.


Painting

Elaborately painted concrete slabUsing stencils and paint, the concrete slab becomes the artist’s canvas. Some designs are very detailed and intricate and require etching tools to create fine lines.

Artists at World of Concrete in Las Vegas demonstrate their abilities of transferring elaborate drawings onto concrete slab surfaces.


Architectural Pervious Concrete

In today’s environmentally conscious climate, the benefits of pervious concrete to sustainability have reinvigorated interest in these free-draining pavements. But, although it’s appealing for its technical benefits, pervious concrete hasn’t necessarily been attractive…until now. Renewed attention to pervious pavements has led some people to experiment with improvement of the surface aesthetics—and spawned a new type of concrete sometimes referred to as “architectural pervious concrete” (APC).

Most pervious concrete has a sort of popcorn look about it: Uniformly sized aggregate, falling within a narrow aggregate gradation, leads to a concrete with open void areas that promote fast drainage of large volumes of water. Some like the organic, rough-textured look of plain pervious concrete. But for those who want a different look, there are several options for enhancing the aesthetics. Treatments include color, stamping, jointing, and grinding. More.

 

Resources

More information on these and other techniques can be found in these resources.

Finishing Concrete with Color and Texture (PA124)
Exploring the Art of Concrete (CD028)
Bob Harris’ Guide to Stained Concrete Interior Floors (LT283)
Bob Harris’ Guide to Stamped Concrete (LT284)
 

 

Davis Colors Mix-Ready® Color Card
http://www.daviscolors.com/


 
Base color sample: The base-color of cement determines color range. Like all natural materials, variation is normal in concrete. These are simulations of concrete made with reference Type II gray cement, light tan sand and water to achieve 4" slump. Actual job-site results may differ.

Color Group: Subtle
   
Sandstone 
5237
 
Canyon 
160
 
Santa Fe 
1117
 
Pebble 
641
 
   
Dune 
6058
 
Outback 
677
 
Silversmoke 
8084
 
Light Gray 
8084
 
   
Dark Gray 
8.84
       
 
Color Group: Standard
   
Mocha 
6058
 
Rustic Brown 
6058
 
San Diego Buff 
5237
 
Sangria 
1117
 
   
Sunset Rose 
160
 
Baja Red 
160
 
Sequoia Sand 
641
 
Southern Blush 
10134
 
   
Salmon 
10134
 
Mesa Buff 
5447
 
Omaha Tan 
5084
 
Harvest Gold 
5084
 
   
Mesquite 
677
 
Taupe 
677
 
Sierra 
61078
 
Bayou 
6130
 
   
Cocoa 
6130
 
Pewter 
860
 
Cobblestone 
860
 
Graphite 
8084
 

Color Group: Premium
   
tile Red 
1117
 
Brick Red 
160
 
Terra Cotta 
10134
 
Spanish Gold 
5084
 
   
Palomino 
5447
 
Flagstone Brown 
641
 
Adobe 
61078
 
Kaihlua 
677
 
   
Willow Green 
5376 
 
 
Green Slate 
3685
 
     

Instructions

The swatches represent mortar made with gray masonry cement and common sand.

For full instructions, ask your building material dealer for a Mix-Ready Data Sheet, or call a Mix-Ready service center or click here.

These video reproductions are just for ideas. If you choose a color based on this screen, you may be in for a big suprise. Please finalize your selection from our printed color card, hard samples or job site test.

 

Schofield Color Chart
http://www.scofield.com/

Classic Colors
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
5130
Spring Beige
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5234 Summer Beige
5234
Summer Beige
CHROMIX integral concrete color 0288 Autumn Beige
0288
Autumn Beige
CHROMIX integral concrete color 6063 Winter Beige
6063
Winter Beige
CHROMIX integral concrete color 3987 Porcelain Gray
3987
Porcelain Gray
CHROMIX integral concrete color 4821 Shady Red
4821
Shady Red
CHROMIX integral concrete color 1266 Cool Gray
1266
Cool Gray
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5238 Sunbaked Clay
5238
Sunbaked Clay
CHROMIX integral concrete color C-29 Dusty Mauve
C-29
Dusty Mauve
CHROMIX integral concrete color C-11 Desert Sand
C-11
Desert Sand
CHROMIX integral concrete color C-20 Limestone
C-20
Limestone
CHROMIX integral concrete color C-25 Sombrero Buff
C-25
Sombrero Buff
CHROMIX integral concrete color C-26 Antique Cork
C-26
Antique Cork
CHROMIX integral concrete color C-12 Mesa Beige
C-12
Mesa Beige
CHROMIX integral concrete color C-21 Adobe Tan
C-21
Adobe Tan
CHROMIX integral concrete color C-15 Coachella Sand
C-15
Coachella Sand
CHROMIX integral concrete color C-27 Westwood Brown
C-27
Westwood Brown
CHROMIX integral concrete color C-13 Tawny Pink
C-13
Tawny Pink
CHROMIX integral concrete color C-22 Coral Red
C-22
Coral Red
CHROMIX integral concrete color C-32 Quarry Red
C-32
Quarry Red
CHROMIX integral concrete color C-31 Shadow Slate
C-31
Shadow Slate
CHROMIX integral concrete color C-14 French Gray
C-14
French Gray
CHROMIX integral concrete color C-24 Charcoal
C-24
Charcoal
CHROMIX integral concrete color C-34 Dark Gray
C-34
Dark Gray

Modern Colors

CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
1019
Bridgeport Beige
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
4662
Santa Fe Tile
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
1014
Canyon Tan
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
1967
Fiesta Red
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
3292
Navajo Red
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
5402
Taos Taupe
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
4302
Roman Tile
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
1015
Etruscan Tile
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
5460
Timberline Tan
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beigee
1734
English Rose
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
3410
Nutmeg Brown
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
5265
Surrey Beige
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
1010
Brownstone
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
1589
Durango Brown
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
3237
Musky Mulberry
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
1017
Barcelona Brown
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
1906
Fennel Green
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
5059
Sorrento Red
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
1677
Eldorado Tan
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
6213
Golden Maize
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
3172
Moonlight Gray
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
1078
Chicory Spice
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
5178
Stetson Buff
CHROMIX integral concrete color 5130 Spring Beige
4959
Smoky Plum
 

 

 

            

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