Last Updated on June 27, 2023 by Kravelv
For you to successfully install polished concrete floors, it is required that you have an understanding of how different tools and processes impact a surface.
To introduce color to a polished floor is not just an issue of making a color choice. It needs a better understanding of various coloring products available and how they affect Concrete polishing installation.
There are primarily four products for coloring gray concrete. Each contains its distinct color palette and application method. Below are the products or methods for coloring polished gray concrete:
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The Use of Dyes
Dyes can be used to interfere with existing interior gray or colored concrete. However, they aren’t ultraviolet stable and can easily fade when used outside.
The dyes are the best companion coloring product, especially when combined with reactive chemical stains. Dyes are made up of micronized organic pigments in a solvent carrier.
However, after three or four times, the concrete surface rejects the additional material, and the color won’t change. A mock is needed to verify this. Unlike the reactive chemical stains, several colors are available, and the impact can be less mottled.
Dyes are applied at the grit level just before the final polishing step. They dry faster, permitting the application of the final polishing and liquid hardener to continue with less downtime immediately after the dye residue is removed.
Coloring admixtures exist as either powder or liquid colorants. They are included in the concrete that is ready-mixed at the batch plant. Admixtures are used with a mixed design of gray Portland cement.
The outcome of the products is subtly muted earth tones. The integrally colored concrete can now be topped over the structural slab full-depth or 50- mm (2-in.). The latter method permits the different trades to work over the gray concrete structural slab with no worries of damaging or soiling the finished floor.
Immediately the interior work is completed, the concrete contractor can then do the installation of the topping. It can help you reduce the cost of protecting the surface while the floor is curing. It also minimizes the cost of cleaning before grinding and polishing the concrete.
It would be best if you remembered not to use membrane-forming curing or sealing compound on new concrete since this can alter with the polishing process. The most appropriate way is the use of wet curing or curing sheets.
Shake-On Color Hardeners
Shake-on color hardener is another product that can be used to color new concrete. It is a prepackaged blend of silica quartz sand, cement, and color. This product is applied topically and finished into uncured concrete, thereby forming a durable layer of color.
Compared to a coloring admixture, shake-on material color provides a greater range of lighter and more vibrant hues. It also selects greens and blues. Individual colors or combined colors can create geometric patterns or unique and natural variations.
An advantage of using a shake-on color hardener is that it builds a dense surface that is wear-resistant. You need to broadcast a shake-on color hardener onto gray concrete while the floor is installed. It can’t be effectively applied to existing cured concrete. Shake-on color hardener is broadcast manually.
However, a mechanical hopper may be used to quickly apply the product in large installations such as industrial floors. After broadcasting, the material is finished by machine and hand and left to cure before polishing.
Penetrating Chemical Stains
A penetrating reactive chemical stain can be used to color an existing or older concrete floor. This product can be applied to gray concrete or a colored surface through an admixture or shake-on color hardener.
Penetrating chemical stains are materials in liquid form. It reacts with the cement concrete component to create translucent and mottled colors. Since the outcome can vary depending on the concrete age and mix design, it is recommended to do a mock-up.
Although there are a small number of earth tones, for eye-catching results, you can combine and manipulate stain colors during application. Several applications of the stain can be performed for deeper colors.
However, immediately the concrete’s reactive ingredient is used up, any additional applications may be ineffective. Suppose the reaction of the coloration is less than desired. In that case, you should evaluate the use of a dye combined with a reactive stain.
After reacting with the concrete, the chemical process leaves a residue. The floor will need thorough scrubbing, rinsing, neutralizing, and drying before it can be opened to traffic.