How to color a concrete

Color concrete

ways to color concrete

  • Integral Color
  • Tinted Sealers.
  • Concrete Paint.
  • Concrete Dyes.
  • Concrete Stains.
  • Dry-Shake Color Hardener

Integral color

Integral color: This type of coloring works well when doing self-leveling. Most contractors use this method rather than the dry-shake color hardener because it is easier and less labor intensive

The are two ways you can make a colored concrete overlay the first is

  • Getting a pre-colored self-leveling compound
  • Getting a color pigment that will be added during mixing

Self-leveling colored overlays are generally produced by combining either dry or liquid pigments. But some systems come pre-colored, so you will not need to apply the pigment yourself. 

The benefit of utilizing these products is that you can be certain of color consistency and precision without measuring the proper quantity of pigment. Manufacturers that provide pre-colored systems generally have a vast choice of standard colors to pick from. Some even provide custom color matching.

Mixing the colors by yourself 

For some overlay methods, you may need to mix the liquid or dry pigment yourself. Manufacturers frequently streamline the dosing procedure by packing their pigments in premeasured volumes to assist you in attaining color constancy and precision. To get the desired hue, following the directions on the package, combine the concrete coloring pigment with water before adding it to the concrete. Take note that the color will become more vibrant the more pigment you apply.

Tinted sealers:

In addition to offering all the protection advantages of a clear concrete sealer, tinted concrete sealers also provide a small amount of color. In addition to saving money by avoiding the cost of an integrated color or concrete stain, they also save time and effort. Tinted sealers may be used to either gently change or enhance an existing color or as a stand-alone, inexpensive ornamental finish. They are also a fantastic way to cover color differences or touch up trouble spots, such as the transitional regions between concrete that is newer and older. If you pick a product compatible with the current sealer base, you may even put colored sealer over concrete that has already been sealed.

Concrete paints: 

Concrete paints come in two varieties water-based acrylic latex paint and epoxy paint

Over concrete surfaces, water-based acrylic latex paint spreads and combines fast. Any concrete or block surface, including stairs, floors, walls, and other surfaces, may be painted with it. It is a really straightforward DIY product that does not require any specialized tools, rollers, or brushes.
When compared to an epoxy system, acrylic latex is less expensive. But it has less strength. A paint job on a concrete garage floor might need to be repainted every two to three years, even if it will last longer on vertical surfaces. Certain acrylic paints are mixed with microscopic particles to provide a non-slip surface.

Epoxy paint is yet another fantastic option for painting concrete surfaces. It is the ideal material for garage flooring since it can tolerate harsh treatment and is quite durable. Because they can provide brilliant, glossy surfaces with decorative color flakes, epoxies are a popular material choice in high-end residential garages and auto dealerships.
Epoxy paints are more expensive than latex paints and require more effort to apply. Before use, the epoxy kits’ accompanying hardener and resin must be combined. This type of paint, depending on the thickness, may be difficult to apply, but the final result is a floor covering that is incredibly sturdy, attractive, impervious to water, and stain-resistant.


Concrete stains can be used both indoors and outside 
Concrete dyes can only be used indoors only because of the UV unstable nature( meaning that they can be affected by sunlight)

Concrete dye

Concrete dyes generate effects by penetrating the concrete. This is plausible given that dye particles are considerably smaller than stain particles.
It is hard to get rid of the microscopic dye particles because the pores in the concrete are clogged with them. The disadvantage of dyes is that they are not UV stable, which limits their application to indoor settings.
The colors get bolder and brighter when dyed. As a result, stenciled designs, pictures, or logos are routinely applied to interior concrete surfaces using dyes.


Because they contain fewer hazardous chemicals than solvent-based dyes, water-based concrete dyes are a more ecologically friendly solution. They are simple to wipe up and give a delicate, unobtrusive finish.
The drawback is that water-based dyes do not provide the vibrant hues that solvent-based alternatives can. Furthermore, given that they offer less color coverage, they cannot conceal flaws in concrete.


Contractors typically use solvent-based dyes to generate vivid, completely covered color schemes. These more durable colors will cover concrete flaws and offer greater flexibility.
Solvent-based dyes produce a dark, rich color when used at maximum intensity. The dye can be diluted with water to get lighter hues.
Solvent-based colors have the drawback of being more hazardous than water-based alternatives. These colors are more combustible and emit more fumes since they have a higher chemical content.
You must put on safety equipment while applying a solvent-based concrete color. The bare minimum for safety is the use of masks, gloves, and safety glasses.

Concrete stains: 

Just like other concrete coloring substances, concrete stains have five types,

waterbased, acid stains, solvent-based stains, Powered Acetone, Liquid Acetone

Water-based stain: In reality, water-based stains adhere to cement by soaking into the pores of the concrete. However, it should be noted that water-based stains do not cause a chemical change to the concrete. Water-based stains are therefore not considered to be everlasting by nature. This kind of stain may fade away from the concrete if no sealer is used.

Acid stains: The majority of acid stains are a combination of water, hydrochloric acid, and metallic compounds that are acid soluble. In order to function, they penetrate the surface and chemically react with the hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide) in the concrete. The acid in the stain softly etches the surface to make it easier for the metallic salts to penetrate. After the stain has When it has taken effect, it becomes an indelible component of the concrete and will not fade, chip off, or peel away.

Dry-hand shake hardener: 

Due to the rich surface paste’s ability to create sharper impressions, decorative contractors often employ dry shakes to color-stamped concrete or concrete overlays. Hardeners also provide more variety and more robust tones than are available with integrated pigments. For instance, contractors may use one or more accent colors of hardener, for instance, to create minor tonal changes like those seen in the genuine stone.

How do I choose concrete overlay colors?

There are various ways you can choose an overlay color, but it depends on what and where you want to color. For example; if you want to color an exterior slab or concrete it’s different from the interior because you have to consider the dust, rain, chemicals from the vehicles, and also sunlight.

Color types that can be done outside or exterior 

Acid stains: Acid stains are slightly more expensive and require more safety precautions and experience to apply than film-forming and penetrating stains.

Liquid Acetone: Unlike powered acetone, liquid Acetone can be used Outside.

Color types that can be done interior

  • Waterbased stain or penetrative stain: 
  • Film-forming stains have been around the longest and are still very common today. Like paint, film-forming stains coat or lay on top of a concrete surface to add color to a concrete surface. However, with time, exposure to weather, traffic, chemicals, and other damaging substances will cause film-forming stains to fad, peel, or flake.
  • Concrete dye: The negative of dyes is that they’re not UV stable. Therefore, they’re suggested exclusively for indoor usage. 
  • Powered Acetone
  • Liquid Acetone

Does color concrete need sealing

In terms of decoloration, there is only a little need because colored concrete is very difficult to wash away its colors. But to prevent discoloration from dust etc., you can seal the floors. so that they will have longevity. This is due to the regular buildup of dust, filth, and chemicals that are spilled, blown or washed onto roads, walkways, and many other outdoor surfaces. These contaminants enter into the tiny pores of concrete without a sufficient sealant covering, and little by little their longevity is reduced. By sealing the surface, you may reduce the amount of those materials that get in.

michael Morris