You’re listening to Direct Colors podcast Episode 36: Color Concrete Pavers for Patios, Walkways, Pool Decks and More! If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us.  Concrete Pavers are popular with a DIY homeowner audience because they are affordable, come in so many varieties and can be used for just about any outdoor project. Unfortunately, concrete pavers can lose their appeal becoming faded and dull with weathering and sun exposure over time. That’s when Direct Colors can help! Here to talk about the options for restoring, coloring  concrete pavers for the first time is Direct Colors General Manager, Shawna Turner. Welcome back to the podcast, Shawna.

ST: Thanks, Reagan.

RS:  What are concrete pavers most commonly used for?

Acid Stain Concrete Pavers

Smooth Acid Stained Patio Pavers

ST:  Concrete pavers can be used almost anywhere concrete could be poured. I think the most popular use would be patios and walkways, but we see them included in pool deck and driveway designs, too. Because pavers come in so many shapes and sizes these days, homeowners use them to bring a little variety to their backyards in particular. Now, not all pavers are colored and we often advise customers on what products to use for the color and finish they’re looking for. There’s also a large group of people who are making and coloring their own concrete pavers and stepping stones for all kinds of purposes.  It’s really an increasingly more common DIY home improvement project and we thought we might discuss what our customers are doing.

Acid Stained Concrete Paver Driveway - Copy

Acid Stained Concrete Brick Pavers

RS:  Great. What Direct Colors products do people generally use to color concrete pavers?

ST:  It entirely depends on the project. If you have existing concrete pavers that have lost color over the years, you’d most likely update the color using our Liquid Colored Antique Concrete Stain and seal with our Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer. The antique can be used even on previously sealed concrete which makes it ideal for outdoor refinishing projects. Sometimes it’s not necessary to add additional color to the pavers but simply to seal them and bring back their original appearance. I recommend pouring water on the pavers first to determine if the color is sufficiently revived by the water or will need more color. Wetting the concrete simulates the finish when the paver has been sealed so if you’re happy when it’s wet, you’ll likely be happy after applying a satin gloss solvent based sealer such as the Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer.

RS: What about new concrete pavers? What would you recommend?

ST:  Liquid Colored Antique Concrete Stain can be used for pavers whether new or old. It’s really a great all-around outdoor staining product. However, you can also use the concrete acid stain on new concrete pavers as well. It really looks great on smooth finish concrete pavers where you can get a more typical acid stain look just like what you’d expect on a patio or similar concrete slab. One of the advantages of pavers is you can use multiple colors to create any design you wish. We’ve seen some very creative examples over the years using both acid stain and liquid colored antique.

RS:  What about older concrete pavers that have been degraded by exposure to sun and weather?

Stained Sealed Concrete Pavers

Liquid Colored Antique Concrete Stained  Pool Deck Pavers

ST:  That’s very good question. Even if the pavers have never been previously stained or sealed, the surface may be too eroded to react well with acid stain. No question the Liquid Colored Antique would likely be the better option but I’d strongly recommend testing the acid stain on one of actual pavers if possible to be certain. A good rule of thumb for deciding if concrete is a good candidate for staining is to look for exposed sand or stone aggregates in the surface. If you can see that, especially if it’s widespread, Liquid Colored Antique would be your best bet.

RS:  You mentioned earlier that customers make and color their own concrete pavers. How does that work?

ST:  That’s right. If we have a customer making their own concrete pavers, they will typically color the pavers using concrete pigment. Sometimes several pigment colors in fact.  We have a wide variety of colors so customers can create all kinds of paver patterns and designs.  Pavers in the shape of flagstones are the most popular for walkways and patios I’d say.  You can even use the Liquid Colored Antique as a mold release for pavers or stepping stones to create an antiqued look on integrally colored pavers. Looks great.

RS:  What advice would you offer for customers who have concrete pavers but don’t know what to do with them?

Integrally Colored Concrete Pavers

Integrally Colored Concrete Pavers

ST:  Well, the first thing I would suggest is that if you’re happy with your pavers as they are and would like to keep them in good condition for as long as possible, seal them with our DCI Penetrating Lithium Hardener Sealer. This is a one-time only application that works best on smooth or lightly textured pavers and protects from salt as well as the freeze thaw cycle. It won’t change the color of the pavers but it will preserve them for many years to come. Our solvent based sealers are commonly used to add some shine to flagstones and deepen existing color.

I’d also say that there’s no reason to live with faded and unattractive concrete pavers or tear them out for that matter. Many years ago I had a customer call me from Arizona about his pink concrete pavers. Now there’s nothing wrong with pink but he insisted they used to be brick red but the sun had faded them to pink and his family wasn’t happy. We used the Crimson and Cinnabar Liquid Colored Antique to restore his pavers and made sure they were regularly sealed from that point forward.  We offer samples for all our products and pavers make it very easy to test colors until you get just what you want.

Coloring and Sealing Concrete Paver patios, walkways or pool decks is a relatively inexpensive way to improve the overall look of your home and significantly increase curb appeal without investing a great deal of time, effort or money. What’s better than that?

RS:  Thanks, Shawna.  Who knew there were so many options for concrete pavers – new and old! If you have questions, call one of our expert technicians at 877-255-2656 and we’ll help you select the best products and technique for your needs.  If you prefer email, send in a free online design consultation and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours.

Direct Colors DIY Home Improvement podcasts are produced twice monthly for your enjoyment and show notes can be found at directcolors.com/listen.  Feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed.  You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ , YouTube and Instagram. I’m Reagan Smith and thanks again for joining us!

See the step-by-step on how to accurately measure concrete pigment for countertop, grout, poured concrete, overlay and more DIY projects. Match any color on our white and gray based concrete pigment color chart with this…

Learn how to use the Concrete Pigment Project Calculators for calculating pigment colors at for any concrete project.

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Step-by-step how-to instructions on pouring and stamping colored concrete for new construction. See how it’s done before you start your own integrally colored concrete project. Footage courtesy of Link Cowen Homes in Shawnee, OK. For…

Concrete pigments can be used for a lot more than just slabs. Our customers buy Direct Colors pigments for everything from decorative planters to warehouse slabs and just about everything in between. With more on the many uses for DIY concrete pigment is Shawna Turner, General Manager, with Direct Colors. Welcome, Shawna.

Shawna:  Thank you very much

Lisa: So let’s have it. What’s the most popular use for concrete pigment?

ST:  Without a doubt, it’s concrete slabs of every kind. If you’re just looking for a solid, rich color in your concrete nothing better than concrete pigment. It’s a stress-free color option and really the only thing the home or business owner has to do is seal the concrete after 30 days curing time. Integrally colored concrete is very popular for outdoor concrete, especially stamped concrete, but it’s increasingly popular for interior floors as well because it’s cost effective, easy and low maintenance.

Lisa: Please explain the difference between concrete pigment and integral color. Is it the same thing?

ST: Yes, it is but I can see were the terms might be confusing. Concrete pigment is a powdered pigment added to concrete prior to pouring to integrally color or color the concrete throughout. Because the concrete is integrally colored, the color is still visible even if the surface is damaged or chipped. The color really is permanent though it can fade somewhat overtime if not properly sealed.

Lisa: What are some other popular options for concrete pigment?

ST: I think concrete countertops are probably our second most popular project. Customers choose concrete pigment for countertops for the same reason as floors – easy to use, consistent color and good selections of color options. Pigment can be used in either a poured concrete countertop or in our concrete overlay. Our most popular concrete countertop color is by far our 15.4 Premium Blue Pigment followed by the 230 Black pigment. People really love their blue and black countertops.

Lisa: Can you use pigment for grout, mortar or other finishing materials?

ST: Sure. We get a lot of calls for custom grout colors in particular but concrete pigment can be used with any cement-based material. Stucco is also very popular. We offer a wider color selection than can be found at most big-box stores and we sell direct to the public. It’s difficult for DIYer’s looking for smaller pigment quantities to find affordable products locally or online. We have three varieties of blue concrete pigment for sale on our website, www.directcolors.com, which is a challenging color to find generally.

Lisa: Is there anything special about Direct Colors pigments that sets them apart from other products on the market?

ST: Why of course! Seriously though, it is important to choose pigments according to their use. Our pigments are UV stable and chemically inert so they can be used outdoors as well as with many different cement-based materials. Pigments that are not UV resistant will fade and deteriorate with exposure to sunlight. Because our pigments are non-reactive, they can be safely added to integrally color most any cement-based material. Keep in mind that all outdoor projects should be sealed with a quality concrete sealer and most indoor projects. Sealing protects the surface from undesirable staining, makes clean up easier and darkens the concrete color overall.

We use the same pigments in our Liquid Colored Antique and Tinted Concrete Sealers so each product can be used outdoors and if well maintained over time, the color will not fade with exposure to sunlight.

Lisa: Thank you, Shawna, for the information about what projects concrete pigment can be used for. Here are few blogs post on the subject from our website, www.directcolors.comColor Stucco and Plaster with DCI Concrete Pigments, Top 10 Uses for Professional and DIY Concrete Pigment and Integral Color and Concrete Pigment for Tile Grout Color and More. A little something for everyone.

Lisa: Listen.directcolors.com includes podcasts on many decorative concrete topics so visit our podcast library, including Episode 19: Calculating Pigment for Coloring Grout, Stucco, Mortar and Plaster and check back frequently to see what’s new in the world of DIY decorative concrete! Thank you for listening.

Lisa: The LISTEN.DIRECTCOLORS.COM podcast is produced twice monthly for your enjoyment and show notes can be found at LISTEN.DIRECTCOLORS.COM. Come back often and feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed.  You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instragram. All links are in the show notes. I’m Lisa Bickel and thank you for joining us!

Many of our customers are interested in coloring grout, stucco, plaster and mortar but have a difficult time finding the right colors, especially blues, and small enough quantities. Direct Colors General Manager, Shawna Turner, is here to talk more about calculating for and mixing custom colors in these materials. Welcome Shawna.

Amie Nolen: Calculating pigment for so many different cement-based mixes sounds complicated. Is it?

Shawna Turner:  It definitely can be. The difficult part is the fact that very few manufacturers report the product contents on the side of the bag. Usually the technical data sheet will include the amount of cement in the mix but that’ s not always available so we often are forced to make an educated guess that many vary somewhat from product to product.

AN: Why is the amount of cement in the mix so important for getting the color right?

ST: Concrete pigment creates color by coating the cement particles with color so other ingredients are a less important part of the color equation. The pigment needed to achieve a specific color from our color charts is based on the amount of cement only rather than the total weight of the mix. Each mix is comprised of a 3:1 ratio of sand to cement and/or lime. If lime is also added to the mix, the cement and lime should be added together for the purposes of calculating pigment load. Whether you are mixing your own material or using a pre-bagged product, having this basic information can help you to determine how much pigment you need for a project. Because grout, stucco, plaster and mortar are cement, sand and possibly lime mixes containing no aggregate, colors can appear somewhat different in fact than they are on color charts. Testing is incredibly important when working with these materials and will help avoid mistakes.

AN:  There are several concrete calculators on the website. Which calculator should a customer use for these mixes as opposed to concrete?

ST: The calculator most useful for coloring grout, stucco, mortar and plaster is called the Custom Batch Calculator. The Custom Batch Calculator requires two pieces of information – the weight of cement and/or lime in your mix and the pound rating for the color chosen from our concrete pigment color chart. We recommend calculating both for batch size as well as the overall project. For example, if you planned to use one 80lb. bag of stucco mix and wanted to integrally color the stucco to Cornflower. You’d enter 20 lbs. for the cement/lime content and a “1” for the pound rating to calculate the amount of pigment needed for the project which is just under a quarter of a pound (.21 lbs.) per bag.

Coloring Grout, Stucco, Plaster and Mortar

DCI Concrete Pigment Color Chip Diagram

If you’re calculating for a sample, the pound output from the calculator is likely to be unhelpful so we’ve provided a link to other calculation options at the bottom of the page. For example, say you have about 5 lbs. of cement/lime in your mix and the amount of pigment needed for the chosen color, Royal Blue, is 0.1595 lbs. 0.1595 lbs. is a difficult number to work with so converting lbs. to teaspoons for such a small batch is very useful. Using a conversion website easily found with a search engine, we’ll need 15 teaspoons to achieve Royal Blue in 5 lbs. of white Portland mix. Calculating from lbs. to grams is also a good option. Gram scales provide more exact measurements, especially when measuring small amounts, and can be used for any small or medium sized project.

AN:  What about sealing? Is it necessary in all instances?

Outdoor stucco applications should be sealed with an acrylic or penetrating densifier sealer to protect the color integrity from the elements. Some customers prefer a light shine and the easy application our Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer offers, especially for stucco projects. Our  DCI Penetrating Lithium Sealer Hardener has a matte finish is perfect for grout projects where gloss isn’t all that desirable. This sealer enhances overall concrete durability and is a one-time application which is super. Sealing for interior projects isn’t necessary but acrylic sealers will deepen color appearance and add some gloss.

Thanks for making pigment calculations for grout, stucco, mortar and plaster mixes easier to understand.  For more information on using concrete pigments in concrete, visit our blog or how to guides and videos page at http://www.directcolors.com/. If you’d like a free design consultation tailored to your project, send us pictures and a description by email or call us at 877-255-2656. We’re ready to help!