Concrete color clarification

“New Developments in Concrete Construction” (January 2012) captures the excitement of recent advances in concrete construction. I wish to clarify...

“New Developments in Concrete Construction” (January 2012) captures the excitement of recent advances in concrete construction. I wish to clarify, however, the article’s assertion that “advances with color hardeners are enabling thinner dyes to penetrate deep into the concrete—as opposed to pigments, which only provide a topical coating.”

This statement may be accurate with regard to surface-applied dyes and stains. However, most pigments used with concrete are added to the concrete mixture so color extends throughout the concrete, unlike a topical coating. Integrally colored concrete can also be densified and polished as shown in the image above.

Nick Paris
Vice President, Marketing
Davis Colors
Los Angeles, Calif.

Contributing Editor Chris Sullivan responds: Mr. Paris makes a good point. The statement would have been more accurate had we said that we were discussing surface-applied techniques.

The discussion appears in the section on decorative techniques, and I think most readers will recognize this relates to the application of color hardeners on the surface of freshly placed concrete. It’s a fairly common technique for decorative concrete floors and other surfaces.

However, the use of pigments in concrete mixes is an important benefit to architects and construction teams, and it merits special recognition and discussion, especially for structural applications. Imagine if it were used on more of our highway overpasses and parking garages! 

         
 

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