Concrete is strong, durable and easy to use - but there is nothing more boring than a dull, gray concrete floor. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to jazz up concrete and make it appear like so much more than it is - all for a fraction of the cost of using and maintaining more expensive materials. By far the most popular way to personalize a concrete space is by coloring the concrete itself.
One of the most obvious benefits of colored concrete is that it hides stains very well. Consider the tire, dirt and oil marks left on a standard light gray concrete driveway - ugly. Now, consider how these same stains would be barely seen under the guise of a darker, mottled-color concrete. Much more attractive!
Another advantage of coloring your concrete is that the process itself often makes the concrete more durable and stain-resistant. This is a definite advantage to larger and well-used areas.
Of course, the aesthetic properties alone make concrete a great alternative to expensive tile, stone or woodwork for inside spaces. You can mimic the beautiful textures and colors of natural materials while keeping both your installation and maintenance costs much, much lower.
Finally, there are methods to color existing concrete installations - meaning you do not have to start over to get a completely new look. This saves a tremendous amount of time, effort and money.
Stains provide a richer tone that can simulate the look of stone or wood. A stain penetrates the concrete itself, offering permanent, translucent color. Different effects are achieved by using either acid-based or water-based stains. Stains can be applied to new or old concrete and the penetration enables great UV stability and wear - meaning stains may be used for interior or exterior surfaces.
Integral color is added into the concrete mixture itself. It provides fade-resistant color that may be layered, giving it the look of natural stone.
Dry-shake color hardeners are powders that are added to fresh concrete. This method colors the top layer only, but with richer, more vibrant hues. They are made out of mineral aggregates, which harden the surface and makes it more wear- and water-resistant than concrete alone.
Concrete dyes are used for the boldest colors and more complex patterns. Dye colors are more predictable than stains and may be polished. Dyes are best for inside applications, as fading may occur with direct sunlight.
Before you look at which product you want to use, ask yourself what overall effect you wish to create. Do you want vivid colors or earth tones? Do you want flat colors or marbling effects? Decorative Concrete Etc. will have a large pallet of choices. You can even get custom color matching to blend with other elements of your decor.
Dream big and see what fits your space, style and budget. You will be pleasantly surprised at the numerous choices of colored concrete at your disposal!