Direct Colors Has Everything for White Concrete Countertops! White is “In” for Countertops, Firepits, Concrete Tables and More! Get the design facts here!
How to concrete pigments for colored concrete
When selecting a concrete pigment, be sure to utilize color charts that will offer a close approximation of what customers can expect to achieve in gray or white concrete. For custom pours such as countertop mixes, plaster, stucco, mortar, grouts and other concrete-based products, DCI has found that the colors vary within an acceptable range to the majority of our customers, particularly when correctly adjusted to the specific job requirements.
The pigment needed to achieve a specific color is based on the amount of cement in the mix rather than the total weight of bag. Direct Colors Inc. has also provided a quantity calculator to accurately determine the amount of pigment needed for any project. The tool is designed to calculate for truck pours, custom concrete batches and bags of ready mix concrete.
DCI micro-pigments, particularly the blue pigment, weigh considerably less than standard iron oxide-based pigments. To avoid streaking and pigment float out, the ingredients must be combined DRY before adding any liquid to the mixture.
To determine how much pigment/yard is required for your project, simply multiply the pound rating (see example below) by five to ascertain how much pigment is needed per yard of concrete to achieve the desired color. For smaller jobs, DCI recommends using the custom concrete batches feature on the quantity calculator tool mentioned above.
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Firstly, the color Electric Blue is achieved using white cement not gray. Using either the picture above or our DCI Color Chart (Premium White), find the pound rating for Electric Blue, which is listed at 3lb. Using our quantity calculator or by multiplying the pound rating by 5, find the pigment per yard needed for your job. The pigment required per yard for Electric Blue is 15 pounds.
The total amount of pigment required for 20 yards of concrete is 300 pounds. However, a concrete truck will not bring all 20 yards to your job site at once so a per truck calculation must be performed. In this example, each truck pour would consist of 10 yards per truck. Again using the quantity calculator, determine the pigment needed for each truck, which is 150 pounds per pour. Being consistent with the water levels, mix ratios, and the amount pigment per truck pour is critical in achieving uniform concrete pours.
The pigment should be mixed with the concrete in the truck. The pigment must be thoroughly mixed with the concrete for a minimum of 10 minutes before pouring or streaking and blotching can occur. The concrete can then be poured and worked as normal. As the concrete sets up, the color will appear to fade. This is a normal appearance for colored concrete. To protect the color from weathering and to enhance the appearance of your concrete, apply a solvent or water-based sealer to your project surface. Sealer should not be applied until the concrete has properly cured or dried.
Concrete slabs can take over a month to cure while countertops one to two weeks. Cure time is also determined by temperature and other weather conditions, such as humidity and rain. Once sealed, the color will be richer and considerably darker than before it was sealed.
Coloring Pre-Bagged Ready Mix
Depending on the pound rating (see figure above) for the color selected, use approximately 50 grams (1.76 oz.) of pigment per pound in the pound rating for an 80-pound bag of ready mix. For a 60-pound bag, use approximately 37.50 grams (1.32 oz.) per pound of pigment required. The DCI quantity calculator can also be used to provide this or any other calculation for your pour.
To achieve a Brick Red color in an 80-pound bag of ready-mix, mix in 200 grams (7.6 oz.) of pigment. In other words, add 200 grams or 7.6 oz. of pigment for each pound of the color’s pound rating. Pour and work with the concrete as normal.
Custom mixes such as countertops, mortar, grouts, plaster, stucco and similar products will contain varying amounts of Portland cement and may also have hydrated lime added. As only the cement and lime will take color, it is important to have the exact weight of each before adding pigment to the mix. Most pre-mixed products have this information on the package.
For DIY custom batches, weigh out the cement and lime on a scale and use that figure to calculate the desired amount of pigment on the DCI’s quantity calculator. Select the pigment per custom batch of concrete calculator and enter the total amount of both lime and cement to get the correct pigment value.