There are a few different ways to create a coloured concrete surface. Some people opt to lay plain concrete and then add colour at the end. For example, you can paint or seal the concrete in a specific colour. Or, you can use coloured oxide as your final finishing layer.
While these methods work, you may see better results by installing a ready-mixed product that already contains colour additives. How does this option work and what are the benefits of taking this route?
What Is Ready-Mixed Coloured Concrete?
Ready-mixed coloured concrete already contains the colour you've chosen. So, when you lay the concrete, it is all coloured the same shade from the bottom to the top.
If you're using a dry product, the pigment is already mixed in in a dry state. If you're buying ready-made concrete, a liquid colour will usually have been mixed into your order.
In some cases, people choose stock colours for their concrete. You can also order custom colours if you prefer.
Why Use Ready-Mixed Coloured Concrete?
If you paint a concrete surface or add a final layer of colour oxide, then your concrete isn't all the same colour. The lower layer will be plain greys; the coloured part sits on top of this.
While you won't initially see anything but the colour you chose, things won't necessarily stay the same all the time. You could lose some of this top coat as the concrete wears and gets damaged over the years.
When this happens, the top layer of paint or oxide concrete could disappear. It could wear or chip away. These damaged areas effectively lose their colour and reveal the plain grey concrete underneath. Your surface will look patchy. It will be hard to repair to get a consistent colour again.
If you use a ready-mixed product, then the colour goes through all the concrete. Even if the concrete chips and loses some of its top layer, the exposed area underneath will be the same colour. You won't get the same patchy effect as you would if you'd painted or top-coloured the surface.
Pre-mixing colour also gives you more consistent results. Your whole batch will be the same colour and you don't have to worry about shade differences that you might get from different pots of paint or oxide mixes.
To find out more about coloured concrete and the best product to use, talk to your concrete contractor.