Concrete pigment formula

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Brule
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Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:01 pm

Concrete pigment formula

Post by Brule »

Looking for pigment/concrete formula for full depth Cherokee Red floor.
Pounds of pigment per yard. One source says color does not get any deeper beyond a 10% ratio of pigment.
Last edited by Brule on Sat Mar 12, 2011 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

outside in
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Post by outside in »

Each manufacturer has different requirements - but I believe the Cherokee Red Floors were colored using a shake-on technique, rather than integral coloring. I have seen a few cases where a structural slab was poured first, which was then covered by a 1-1/2 inch integrally colored (red) pour, but even then the shake-on technique was used to give a full, saturated color. Afterwards the red wax needs to be used to give the full red color.

dtc
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:04 am

Post by dtc »

The powdered pigment (color) was shaken (cascaded) on to the concrete right before it was steel troweled. During the process of troweling, the cream raises to the surface and at the same time compacts all existing gravel aggregate below the surface. The hand steel troweling along with the pigment was the reason that the mat developed a very hard smooth surface. Note: at this point the colorant has permeated only the top surface. (about a 1/16 of an inch) Only after the concrete mat dried a sealer was applied (Taliesin and Wright suggested using A.C.Horn Co. sealer which imbued a richer, darker tonality to the mat.
And yes many original clients used colored wax from time to time to even out discoloration in high traffic areas.
At Dobkins a clear Johnson paste wax was used for the past 57 years.

Laurie Virr
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Post by Laurie Virr »

I have a FLLW blueprint with notes relative to the concrete floor slab. The specification is for
5 1/2 pounds of iron oxide pigment for every bag of cement in the concrete mix. The ingredients are to be mixed for a further 2 minutes after they have attained a uniform color, and before the pigment is added.

Obviously, this specification implies that the floor slab is colored thru'out its entire thickness.

Don Erickson
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Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:22 pm

Post by Don Erickson »

The FLW Usonian Gordon House Building Committee in Oregon is currently trying to find a product and process to restore the exterior terrace mat color that was, unfortunately, not sealed with a clear preservative.

The product that was used in the orignal pour was a "Scofield System" shake on colored hardener using the folowing mix of colors for the main floor mat: 2 parts of Victorian Red, 1 part Tile Red, and 1 part Quarry Red.

Since the exterior mat was not protected with a sealer the Oregon rain and moss have degraded the 1/16" inch deep shake on surface color hardener product "cream layer" and we are trying to develop a restoration plan. Unfortunelately, we have learned, through a concrete coloring contractor, that Scofield no longer uses Victoria Red as a "stock color."

I noticed in the first issue of Save Wright that the Turkel House had restored it's exterior mat colored surfaces and when I toured the Glore House in River Forrest during the Conservancey's Meeting in Chicago a few years ago that the new owners had also restored their floor mat colored surfaces before they moved into the house. Another restoration was the Muirhead House in Plano, IL that had to replace the mat in the bedroom portion of the house to match the Living Room floor mat.

Certainly there is information in the FLW Usonian Home Community that have found a manufacturer, a product, a retoration system, and the color formula that could be used at the Gordon House to restore the exterior mat including a recommended maintenance program.

I am trying to avoid a reinvention of the wheel exercise and would appreciate any information or advise you may wish to share concerning the restoration of floor mat colors and shine.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I have to wonder if even a "sealed" exterior mat could be expected to retain its color -- the color of an interior mat -- indefinitely. The sun is a powerful bleacher of color, and weather cycles are brutal to exterior materials in general. Has anyone had the experience of keeping one of these exterior mats in good shape and rich color, over time ?

S D R

Don Erickson
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Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:22 pm

Post by Don Erickson »

To SDR:

I realize that any exterior mat would have to have a rather agressive preventative maintenance regimen to maintain the color and surface interity to match the interior surfaces. Entropy is a mighty force but there must be some polymer type agents that would slow the weathering process if the surfaces were cleaned and re-sealed every couple of years.

Scofield Systems has a new opaque pigmented coloring and sealing process that they call "Revive" on which I am trying to get additional information. Has any other owners out there used this system?

I am just trying to find out if there are other owners out there that have this problem so that perhaps enough demand could be generate to encourage Scofild to reinstate the Victorian Red as a "standard color" for the their "Revive" care system.

I am not a contractor or Mfr's Rep but a Docent and member of the Building Committee at the Gordon House in Oregon.

dtc
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Post by dtc »

How long ago was the Gordon house moved?
Was there a reason why a sealer was not used on the exterior?

I used a cement contractor for a couple of pours a number of years ago ( not for the usonian) and asked pertinent questions about the original dry shake technique and maintenance. Not one crew could give me answers. They all informed me that either their father or grandfather knew how to dry shake color to floor slabs but we add the colorant to the mix these days. One contractor went as far to inform me that a family member worked on one of these F.LL.W. houses here in Canton. That was as much info he had on dry shake. So when one considers the age of the cement contractor back in the 50's...lets say they were young perhaps 19 or 20 add 55 to 60 years to their age and you come up with folks long retired from their trade.
Perhaps this generation just does not have the know how and skills to help out with our problems.
The Dobkins house had numerous coats of paint applied to the exterior terraces over the years and of course they all had failed. I spent much time with paint removers and chemicals that neutralized the remover. Power washed the exterior mats numerous times and left to dry.
This is a critical step for how does one keep the terraces dry with rain and humidity before applying a sealer stain? Patience is the key. I believe from start to finish it took me six weeks. Try to employ a professional to invest that kind of time on the Gordon, I would bet they would have a laugh of their life. Oh well.
Give me your phone # and we can commiserate more on this matter.
So one has a small window of opportunity to properly apply the sealer stain.
Temperature is also a factor. do not apply a finish with temperatures under 55 degrees and that would include the low of day.
Preparation as everyone knows is the key here.
Also the best way to apply the sealer/stain is on your hands and knees, not standing with a paint roller.(we have scored module lines to deal with) Try to get a professional not to roll it on...good luck.

And if you were willing to reapply every two years the Gordon would have the best looking exterior terraces going.

pharding
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Post by pharding »

Don Erickson wrote: .... when I toured the Glore House in River Forrest during the Conservancey's Meeting in Chicago a few years ago that the new owners had also restored their floor mat colored surfaces before they moved into the house. .......
The previous owner of the Glore House, with whom we worked as Restoration Architect, painted the concrete slabs to renew them as he had previously done for years. There are several problems with this approach. It is not authentic. It destroys historic original architectural fabric. It requires maintenance every time the thin surface film wears through. On the exterior, or interior for that matter, when the floors become wet, they become dangerously slick. Integral color concrete with color throughout the mix does not work because the color is not saturated enough. The shake on approach, as was done originally is the best approach. Unfortunately when one applies a thin veneeer of concrete on top of an existing slab, It will likely spall off with time. My suggestion is to contact the FLWBC and see what they recommend and use a competent Restoration Architect. Another consideration is that patina in historic finishes is desirable as opposed to the impulse to make hsitoric finishes look new.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

RA
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Post by RA »

Just for the record, the floors at the Glore House in Lake Forest were already painted red with Coronado concrete paint when I bought the house in 99. The previous owners had spent a huge sum of money on restoration but stopped short of grinding off the top layer of concrete due to budget considerations. Very understandable.

As for rejuventating the original patina, the floors were a mixture of numerous cracks, heaved slabs, heating repairs, tape marks, carpet tacking marks and lots of painted areas surrounding all of the area rugs. The floors may have been beyond rejuvenation.

Yes, the exterior concrete which had also been painted was slippery when wet. In addition to the paint making the concrete slippery, it was more a matter of the concrete finish being highly polished.

egads
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Location: Long Beach CA

Post by egads »

I'm not a concrete guy, but I think when doing one of these floors from scratch, (not restoring) both integral color and a final dusting is called for. One would need to add additional color as the butter rises to the top. In any case that's what I see the concrete stamping guys doing. Of course in their case they are using the color as a release agent. In any case, someone who does that kind of work would know.

At Price Tower, the floors have been painted and look horrible. The color is right, but they just look too perfect. Which brings me to a point about patina.
I think when doing restorations, one should often do what one can to arrest deterioration and then leave the age showing. For me, as the tourist visiting a historical site, I'd like to see the history.

dtc
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Post by dtc »

One must keep in mind when cleaning the exterior mat properly one is removing surface and ground in dirt. And by the time you remove the bacteria growth and moss one is always washing much of the desired patina away.

Lets not forget, that part of a patina is the build up of hand oils and dirt.

In the case of a terrace we deal with leaves that stain, bird droppings, pollen, road dust, pollutants, acorns and so forth. Plus the damaging UV rays are forever bleaching and lightening any color, especially red oxide, to a light value pink.

Don Erickson
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Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:22 pm

Post by Don Erickson »

SDR

My phone number is (503) 866-5941.

The Gordon was moved in 2001 and opened for business in 2002.

Fortunately, the concrete contractor for the "basement" (Really just a small Mechanical Room under the stairs) came through on a tour with out of town friends about 3 years ago and gave the Curator his card. I talked to him about a week ago at the house. He measured everthing up and he said that he will do some investigation of current products availableand giveus an estimate to do both the terrace mat and the interior mat.

Cheers

Brule
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Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:01 pm

Concrete pigment formula

Post by Brule »

Laurie Virr's post noting 5 1/2 lbs of pigment per sack of concrete is probably a good ratio for full depth color. There is a photo on Daviscolors.com of their Tile Red pigment at 6lbs per sack that looks very close.

outside in
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Post by outside in »

there are countless Usonians with FLW's specification for the floor. It was an AC Horn "shake-on" product. The integral color does not give the full color and saturation as the shake on color. There are other companies that make a similar product, LM Scofield is one of them, I believe, and there are many concrete companies that still will install tinted concrete slabs - I saw it at Whole Foods! Unfortunately, it seems to be an expensive product these days, and many owners opt out.

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