Concrete pigment formula

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Laurie Virr
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Post by Laurie Virr »

In reply to Mr Roderick Grant.

To my knowledge, iron oxides are available in red, yellow, brown, blue, black, green, and marigold.

I have seen enough Usonian houses in the North American landscape to be able to appreciate the appropriateness of red colored floor slabs.

Here in Australia the colors of the landscape are completely different, and red colored floor slabs are not really appropriate. Yellow oxide results in a more compatible color.

When supervising the finishing of a integrally colored concrete slab I have often noticed that every pass an artisan makes with a steel trowel results in a slightly different color. The result is not unsightly. Whether this is solely a characteristic of the use of yellow oxide I have no knowledge.

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Post by SDR »

In Mr Wright's work one often finds elements of the new mixed with those that could rightly be called timeless, even ancient. In this context, the red-hued masonry floor can't help but remind one of a brick or tile floor. I wonder how this perception might affect how we think of coloring the concrete.


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Red Pigmented Concrete

Post by sarah »

I apologize for not seeing this post sooner but thought I'd add my two cents for those still interested in this topic.

The Muirhead Farmhouse has the Cherokee red floors specified by Wright but there is no mention of the exact amount of pigment that was to be used in order to achieve the right depth of color.

The product specified on our blueprints was "Colorundum" - a fine, red powder made by the A.C. Horn company out of Long Island, NY. Wright listed their address and phone number on the blueprints, most likely to facilitate easy access to the product and ensure its use. We still have a 5 gallon metal container that's half full and leftover from 1951.

When we removed the flooring in the bedroom wing (due to substantial settling), we wanted to re-create the color using the same process (pouring 1-2 concrete squares at a time, waiting until the concrete has set, sprinkling the powder across the surface and using a finish trowel to work it smooth.

Our concrete contractors suggested we use a modern version of Colorundum made by Butterfield Color ( as the efficacy of the original Colorundum was questionable. While we did not know how much powder was initially used to get the depth of color, they poured "test squares" outside and finished them using varying amounts of powder. Seven squares later, they had matched the original color depth.

Hope this helps!

Mike Petersdorf
Muirhead Farmhouse
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Re: Concrete pigment formula

Post by »

This is an old string of posts, but hoping for some help. I am writing this in early 2021. Building (my family and I) a new house inspired by FLW Usonian designs. Have been struggling with concrete floor color. Scofield is out. No longer sell the Tintura stain in dark red. Prosoco is an option, but complicated, and we do not love the color for our application that resulted from Prosoco products used on Gordon House restoration. So looking at concrete stains. The application process is beneficial for its flexibility in timing of application after pour.

Does anyone have any experience in last decade with a cherokee red type of coloring in new concrete using an acid based concrete stain? What colors, manufacturer, and process?

We will saw cut a 4' x 4' grid into the floor before staining. Anyone have experience on how those cracks are filled, or not, before staining?

Here is a picture of house framed and wrapped up for winter. Just restarting work now that temperatures are warming up. ... sp=sharing



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Re: Concrete pigment formula

Post by GordonM »

From "Growing Up Wright", Virginia and Don Lovness remembered laying the concrete floor of the "studio" in 1957:

Virginia: "The worst thing of all though was pouring the cement floor. We didn’t know how to lay cement that would be slick. So we found an old German cement finisher who had retired, and he showed us how to do the scoring and the slicking. We divided the house into three sections and then the logia. Early in the morning, we would pour the cement, adding iron oxide, so it was an integral part of the cement. But you have to keep trowelling with boards until you bring the water up to the surface, so you get the smooth effect, and then you have to score it. Meanwhile you’re standing on narrow planks on top of this. This all went well. But one day we started to do one section and the humidity was high and it didn’t set up. We started early in the morning, and at midnight or so we were still trowelling trying to get the thing right. That was the trickiest thing.

Don: "(Mr. Wright) also specified using A.C. Horn iron oxide for the cement. And A.C. Horn stuff is very expensive. And being at 3M at the time we dealt with tons of iron oxide. So I took some iron oxide and some cement in the laboratory and I measured to see what the saturation point was. And I found it to be about between 2 and 3%. So I figured if I put 4% in it will be even all over the whole thing, which we did, and it worked like a million dollars."

The red colorant was consistent through the top layer of finished concrete (approx. 1-1/2 inch, see photo at our website). Lonnie and her sister remember they would wax the floor (red wax) and use a buffer when company was coming.

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Re: Concrete pigment formula

Post by SDR »

(That's a good sample of the kind of lore that's found in "Growing Up Wright." Lonnie, assisted no doubt by Gordon, seems to have scoured every nook and cranny of her memory, her parents' records and remembrances, sources at Taliesin and who knows where else, to present as complete a story as could be imagined, of the house and everything and everybody connected to it. It's just a wonder . . .)


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Re: Concrete pigment formula

Post by Vishnushadi »

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Re: Concrete pigment formula

Post by Jitendra45 »

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Paul Ringstrom
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Re: Concrete pigment formula

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

A possible easier alternative are the various stains and dyes available to apply to new concrete
installations after curing. Many of these create a mottled appearance resembling aged leather
which I find attractive.
Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

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