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Concrete Coloration Offers Architects Many Design Options

When you think of concrete coloration, more often than not, you’ll see in your mind’s eye a lackluster, one color surface known more for it’s toughness/durability than for its beauty, versatility and capacity to enhance aesthetics. The truth is that concrete coloration can be aesthetically pleasing and shine as true positive for your project, rather than a net neutral. There are many options available to landscape architects in terms of colors, finishes, anti-graffiti coatings, etc.

What is Concrete Coloration?

Depending on whom you’re speaking with, concrete coloration might be referred to as stain, paint, acrylic, or anything else referring to a coating.

Important Considerations When Considering Concrete Coloration:

  • Acrylic stain/paint will provide long lasting color, even in areas of extreme UV exposure.  The color will slightly fade over time (10 years +), yet it will still mimic the look of an actual stone wall as it gathers dust and windblown dirt.
  • Non-acid reactive stains are relatively new, and show great promise for achieving intriguing color variations and long-lasting results. These reactive stains can be made to achieve certain colors and color families, and can be an excellent choice given the right set of circumstances.
  • Acid stains are reactive, meaning the components within the stain react to the components within the concrete to produce a color. The resulting color(s) can be highly variable, depending on the composition of the concrete, and even the batching of the concrete. Acid stains can be highly unpredictable and difficult to control, have the potential to be environmentally dangerous, and are not an ideal choice for coloration, especially when so many other coating options exist.
  • Anti-graffiti coatings are gaining interest across the country, however, the verdict is still out as to total effectiveness.  Essentially, anti-graffiti coatings can be classified as either permanent or sacrificial in nature. Permanent coatings, like urethane or epoxy coatings effectively seal the concrete surface, and create a layer that allows for removal of graffiti. However, these coatings are very expensive relatively speaking, and the high gloss finish can be less than desirable. Sacrificial coatings create a layer that is removed when the graffiti is scrubbed from the surface, however, the final results can be highly variable and are dependent on the porosity of the surface, the components of the concrete, and especially the properties of the graffiti paint/ink.As applicators, we cannot recommend one product over another, but we’re happy to consult with you regarding our experience with these coatings.


How Can Stained Concrete Make Architects Jobs Easier?

Depending on the specifics, adding coloration can be a very cost effective way to dramatically improve the aesthetics of your project. Give Custom Rock a call, and we’ll be happy to provide our expert advice in a no-obligation consultation.

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