How to Color Concrete
Adding color concrete is becoming a popular do-it-yourself project for many homeowners. You can color concrete with an acid-based dye that penetrates the porous concrete. This method works for concrete countertops, garage floors, driveways, sidewalks, and patio floors. It is not necessary to limit yourself to a single color of dye when coloring concrete. Try using multiple shades around your home for unique and interesting designs. This is a project that can be completed over a weekend with a bit of planning and effort.
Step 1 - Choose a Color Dye
Examine the concrete pad you want to dye. You may want to dye the pad a single color or you may want to dye the concrete in a pattern. Decide what color you want to use and then purchase the dye from your local home improvement retailer.
Step 2 - Remove Sealant
Before you apply the dye, pour water on the concrete pad. If the water pools or is not absorbed into the concrete, then there is a sealant applied to the concrete. This will need to be removed with a concrete sealant stripper and the surface of the pad sanded to open the porous structure of the concrete.
Step 3 - Test the Dye
Test a small patch of concrete to make sure that the dye will take on your concrete. Let the dye dry overnight and check the color the next day. Examine the depth of the color and if it is deep then the dye will work for your project.
If the color is faded or is not deep, then you will need to strip the concrete sealer further from the concrete pad and sand the surface of the concrete. This will allow the dye to penetrate into the concrete. Conduct another dye test.
Step 4 - Clean the Concrete
Sweep the concrete and apply the concrete cleaner. Scrub the concrete completely clean, removing any dust, debris, or dirt.
Step 5 - Mix the Dye
Mix the dye in the 5-gallon bucket. Pour the dye concentrate into the bucket and add water. This will dilute the dye to the desired shade.
Step 6 - Apply the Dye to the Concrete
Apply the dye to the concrete with the pump sprayer. If you are planning on an artistic application of dye in a pattern with different colors, then instead of using the sprayer, use sponges, an airbrush, or paintbrushes to apply the dye.
Step 7 - Let the Dye Dry
Allow the dye to dry for at least 24 hours.
Step 8 - Apply Sealant
Apply a concrete sealant to protect the dye and prevent cracks or damage to the cement. Using a large roller, apply the sealant in an even and consistent layer over the concrete pad. In order to avoid streaks, apply the sealant in overlapping strokes, concentrating on one area at a time. Let it dry for 24 to 48 hours before using the concrete pad.