Different Ways To Colour A Concrete Garage Floor

Posted by The Kings of Steel | Blog | February 14, 2016
Different Ways to Colour a Concrete Garage Floor

As a versatile, durable, and contemporary choice of flooring material for both modern and industrial environments, concrete can be matched with its surroundings in a number of ways. The days of boring grey concrete are long gone, and colouring a concrete floor is the best way to produce a different look to natural concrete, ensuring that it is cohesive with the decor of a theme of a property. Additionally, polishing coloured concrete can result in a truly impactful statement. Colouring your concrete floor, however, isn’t limited to just one process, and there are a number of options available depending on the specific application and its desired effect.

Integral colouring

Integral colouring involves colouring the concrete as it being mixed. It results in a uniform, consistent level of colour, but because the entire amount of concrete is being coloured it requires a large amount of liquid or powder, making it a pricey option. Furthermore, this method is only suitable for new applications, as it is mixed at the time that concrete is produced.

Shake-on colours

This method of colouring concrete involves scattering colouring powder across the surface of freshly laid wet concrete. Water allows the particles to bind with the surface of the concrete, resulting in a coloured finish. This method only colours the surface, which means buffing can remove the coloured layer. Furthermore, due to it being applied to wet concrete, it is again only suitable for new applications.

Acid stains

Staining natural concrete with an acid stain mixture will create a reaction on the surface of the concrete to produce a desired effect. It is a very durable method of colouring, but has obvious risks due to acid being such a dangerous substance to work with. Sufficient safety precautions must also be taken when opting for this method.

Acetone dyes

Using an acetone based dye to uniformly colour a concrete surface can provide an impactful result. Acetone dyes are coatings that can be applied in an attempt to lock the colour into concrete for greater longevity and wear. Acetone, however, is a flammable and toxic substance, so occupied areas are not always appropriate for this style of concrete colouring. In addition, sunlight can fade the colour in some areas where it may be directly hit by the light.

Water based dyes

For a non-toxic concrete colouring solution, water based dyes are safe and odourless. They are easy to apply and offer a broad combination of colours and styles. Furthermore, they can be applied to new concrete or retrofitted to existing concrete. Just like acetone dyes, however, water based dyes are prone to fading from direct UV contact. A protective coating will therefore be required to lock in colour and protect against sunlight and wear.

Colour hardeners

Also known as colour densifiers, these pigments are applied to the surface of a concrete slab. The pigments bond to the surface, just like in the shake-on application so polishing will remove the colour. The added benefit of this approach is that it is the UV resistant, therefore not requiring the use of a lock in surface applications.

Choosing the right option

The first step when considering which method to use is to consider if your colouring work is for a new application of concrete or existing concrete. This will determine which methods are available to you, as only some of these are suitable for existing applications.

Next, consider whether you require a polished finish, as some of these colours will be removed after polishing.

Furthermore, some methods have limited colouring options when compared to others. For example, staining is usually limited to greys and browns while dyeing allows for much more vibrant colours to be applied.

Finally, consider the size of the concrete area being coloured. Some methods are much easier to apply to a larger surfaces than others. Depending on the desired effect, a combination of methods may prove to be the most suitable choice, particularly if trying to achieve a varied look.

Each method and product will yield different results, so it’s important that you try your chosen application and colour on a sample area first. Colour charts are one thing, but the final result and reaction with certain types of concrete may be different.

When colouring concrete, care and accuracy is paramount as one small oversight or mistake can ruin the finish of an entire floor. In addition, a safety oversight can have significant health implications, so it’s vital that due care and caution are exercised, no matter the choice of application.

Concrete is no longer limited to grey as it once was. Instead, it has become a popular way for artists and designers to express their creativity when it comes to areas and surfaces that were otherwise unable to be customised.