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Old 01-17-2014, 08:32 PM   #1
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Help! Concrete Color


Two new slabs of concrete were poured, but since they were grey, a color powder was mixed in to make them more tan. Only now they are orange!

Is there any way to fix this?

I've attached a picture. We would like it to be the color of the tan slabs to the right, not the grey steps.

Thanks!

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Old 01-17-2014, 08:33 PM   #2
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Oops! Here's the picture.
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Help! Concrete Color-orange-concrete.jpg  

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Old 01-17-2014, 09:39 PM   #3
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Help! Concrete Color


What type of powdered pigment? - Synthetic iron oxide or natural iron oxide? They have different tinting strengths and may fade differently. The synthetic is very pure and stong and is all iron oxide. Naturals have more impurities and can vary from the color chip samples.

It looks like too much color pigment was used. Usually it runs from 1% to 5% of the amount of cement.

You may have to just knock out the two slabs and make a few sample batches to get the right over-all color and then guess at how much it will fade as the concrete cures.

Dick
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Old 01-18-2014, 07:21 AM   #4
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size of the slab(s) ? how many total cy ? surface area of ea ? was it mixed on-site OR redi-mix ? replace slabs ? OR can you live w/an overlay ?

eg - IF the job's a municipal/state/federal project, you're likely sunk as the typical specs are written to incl ALL work/mtls/methods/time ( whatever you can think of, they're in the specs ! ) incl pigment dosage ( why, oh why, do govt workers think they're so brilliant ? ) for the sake of your career, let's hope you weren't personally involved

IF the job's your church steps, who in (&%@$^(*%@ asked for ANY color ? there's not even color match between 2 successive loads of conc from the same plant batched 1 directly behind the other,,,impossible to match redi-mix batches IF 1's aesthetically anal

easiest/least expensive/fastest solution's a polymer-modified cement overlay,,, start on concretenetwork.com,,, but maybe the best guy doesn't buy ads on conc netwrk so ask around,,, the solution MAY be overlaying ALL the conc @ that elevation - we can't tell so its either dick's solution or mine - nothing else'll work - good luck

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Old 01-18-2014, 08:14 AM   #5
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Help! Concrete Color


A couple of questions after looking closer.

1. The color of the fill around those two slabs looks darker or even wet. Temporary moisture can intensify and darken concrete. - When were the slabs last watered/sprayed?

2. Sides of the slabs to not seem be the same "orange" as the top surface. - Could color have been applied only to the surface?

3. How fresh is the concrete? Pigmented concrete always fades and lightens with time.

Dick
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Old 01-18-2014, 03:41 PM   #6
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If my experience is any indication, the contractor sent one of his minions up the mixer's ladder and told him to put "about 1/3 of the bag" in the load. As a mixer driver, I *HATED* powdered color. It never mixed in the load right, got all over the truck, never matched, etc.

If you do end up replacing the slab, request liquid color from the concrete plant. It'll cost more, and there will be a minimum yardage, but it'll be easier than trying to eyeball it.
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:17 AM   #7
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not to mention cleaning out the tub - what a pita, mort,,, agree liquid color's best IF the plant keeps its color dispensing equip properly calibrated.

even 2 successive trucks never get loaded the same - moisture content changes thru stone & sand piles, rinse water's left in the tub, spins of the tub, flyash or not in the previous load, truck time to the jobsite, finishing crew - any number of things can go wrong & often do,,, to me, big mistake was adding any color for this project,,, no one's said this yet - was the last work from the same plant as the rest of the job ? were these true ' new ' slabs ( replacing damaged work ) or the last of the job ?

your ' slabs ' look more like small sidewalk sections than larger ' slabs ',,, replace them w/regular conc & let them age,,, up nawth, conc's grey - down here, its tan - think color of fine aggregate has a lot to do w/that,,, decorative concrete overlay material is usually made w/white cement just because of the possible inconsistencies in finished work.

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Old 01-24-2014, 04:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by concretemasonry View Post
A couple of questions after looking closer.

1. The color of the fill around those two slabs looks darker or even wet. Temporary moisture can intensify and darken concrete. - When were the slabs last watered/sprayed?

2. Sides of the slabs to not seem be the same "orange" as the top surface. - Could color have been applied only to the surface?

3. How fresh is the concrete? Pigmented concrete always fades and lightens with time.

Dick

Thank you all for your responses.

Dick, here are the answers to your questions:

1. The slabs were dry when I took the picture. The guy has been back a few times to spray them with something that is supposed to lighten the color, but it hasn't made a difference.

2. Color was only applied to the surface. They poured gray concrete and then at the end dumped some orange powder on and mixed it in to the surface. (We were having gray concrete poured in another area on the same day, so this was the solution they thought of to make these squares closer in color to the tan squares that are close to them.)

3. These were poured over a year ago and they haven't faded much, if at all.

I only took a picture of a small section. Unfortunately, there are four much larger slabs on the other side of our property. I'm trying to avoid having to have the work re-done because it would be a lot.

Maybe the polymer-modified cement overlay would work? Is it helpful that only the surface of these slabs was colored?

Thanks, again!
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:03 PM   #9
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Help! Concrete Color


It sounds like the guys doing it either had little experience or poor judgement for a quick and easy patch job.

I am not an expert or surfacing and only familiar with pigmented wet concrete products.

It sure looks like they dumped too much orange "color" instead of a tan color. Many people do not realize how strong a good iron oxide pigment is and it does not fade much.

Dick
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:00 AM   #10
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little experience + poor judgement + wrong method = liquid colorant misted on out of a quart sprayer would've been more satisfactory but those guys got paid & they're gone

o'lay's in only/best way to bring about what you want other than replacement,,, will take some mix experimentation to get the right color,,, caution - its extremely difficult to get an exact ' match ' but you can come close

we used elitecrete for yrs & strongly recommend the products,,, all licensed artisans receive same training & factory support thru dedicated distributor network [ no $ interest ],,, might also start here ' concretenetwork.com '

good luck !

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Old 01-25-2014, 05:00 PM   #11
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I don't care what anybody says, you cannot get a perfect match by tossing color on top of the mix. The only way to get it even close is ordering colored concrete from the same plant you got the other stuff from. Even then, there are too many variables, but you'd get closer.

IRC's right (did I just say that?!), wrong method was used. The only time I've had guys throw the color on top was when they were trying to match asphalt color with extra concrete, and that's even a crapshoot.

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