Concrete pigment formula

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SDR
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Post by SDR »

If I were making a house with a colored slab, I'd want the color to be integral and homogenous -- not a veneer of color on top -- for all the expected reasons, including the one about "honesty of material."

S D R

outside in
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Post by outside in »

the trouble with the integral slab is that the concrete company has to mix the color in the truck - and its hard to be precise about the color when there are other factors such as water content, cement content, etc. PLUS you are usually charged extra as the contractor must wash out the truck to remove any leftover color. The concrete created with this technique tends to be washed-out and pastel in color, whereas the shake on product is a very rich, deep color.

Laurie Virr
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Post by Laurie Virr »

To write, ‘There are countless Usonians with FLLW’s specifications for the floor.’ is merely to state the obvious.

The great weakness of the shake on system is that if, subsequently, the floor surface is damaged, the gray of the initial slab is revealed, and this can be unsightly.

With regard to the integrity of the materials, is it any less dishonest to employ shake on pigment than to use floor paint? Surely, if a brick is to be a brick brick, and a board to be a board board, to quote FLLW, then a colored concrete slab should be just that also?

Some of the points that ‘outside in’ makes in his second post are valid, but I would urge that the extra cost justifies the result. I have used the integral method for more than 40 years, and it beggars belief that a thin layer of shake on pigment results in a more intense color.

If FLLW had allowed the manufacturers and suppliers of building materials and elements to call the tune, there would be no Prairie or Usonian houses as we know them. Life must be an effort for any truck driver who finds it irksome to thoro’ly wash out the agitator of his concrete delivery truck.

From experience, I attend the site whenever a concrete slab is to be poured. I specify that the basic materials be delivered mixed, but dry, and personally supervise the quantities of pigment, and finally water, added to the mix. I would not deny that the truck drivers dislike this approach, but are they taking he responsibility for the finished product, or am I? Moreover, when the slab is a good result the supply companies are not backward in asking if they may take photographs to include in their publicity.

Don Erickson
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Post by Don Erickson »

laurie / outside in

I agree with laurie concerning the lack of brillence of color one gets with the color impregnated concrete pour.

I recently had my front por and entry court done with the impregnated concrete and find the that color turned out to have splouches and lack of color uniformity.

The concrete contractor did add the coloriing agent to e mix when the truck arrived on site. I did have to pay a significant charge to the concrete supplier for having to clean out the truck.

The cost to break out a terrece every 5 or 6 years to replace the shake on surface is certainly not practical and integrated colored concrete presents it's own challenges to produce that rich homogenious color of the shake on product. That is why I am trying to find a product that is not perfect but will last longer than paint, have the proper look of concrete, and be affordable.

I got a call from a Conservancy member in Chicago yesterday and he put me onto a product that he is investigating made by Concrete Solutions that is called "Spray Top." Go to http://www.concretesolutions.com/SPRAY TOP/SrayTop.html to take a look at this product.

egads
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Post by egads »


dtc
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Post by dtc »

Can't help to see the relationship of dry shake application to a wet slab of concrete to Fresco paintings.
Traditionally painters would apply wet pigments to fresh slaked lime plaster.
They would work in "day pieces" an area that was the size of a days work, for the plaster had to be damp for the pigments to become integral to the plaster.
The pigments colored only the surface and to this day the process is one of the oldest known to man and of course one of the more permanent. It holds its own to another old painting process... Encaustic painting.

As for the comment of being more honest if the colorant was used through out the concrete mix is like saying adding a shellac or varnish finish to wood (only on the surface) is some how not as honest. And furthermore if one chips the concrete mat beyond a 1/16 of an inch, one has a crater that would be seen if the bottom of the crater is colored or not.

Shaking the color on to the wet concrete and troweling it in gave the workmen time to add more pigment to areas, if necessary, to eliminate uneven coloring. All cement finishers were not created equal...some were a little more talented than others. Unfortunately it is difficult to find any one with the know how today.

Plus 5 to 6 pounds of pigment to a bag of concrete (how many pounds of concrete per bag?) verses the technique of cascading on to the surface has to be a considerable amount savings to the pocket book. How many pounds of colorant do you suppose would be needed for a 1,800 sq. foot pour that was 4inch thick? And what is the price per pound of pigment?

Brule
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concrete pigment formula

Post by Brule »

A 5" 1800sq ft slab with 6 bag 3500lb psi mix is approx 28 yds or 168 bags. 6 lbs pigment/bag or approx 1000 lbs at roughly $2.00/lb

Potential for less labor costs and avoiding impacts of windy weather when dusting pigment powder?

outside in
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Post by outside in »

I think part of the problem with exterior shake on products is that most people think its a permanent color when in fact it has to be maintained, like an interior floor. I grew up in a house with a shake-on red concrete terrace and every spring we would apply the red wax and buff it with a circular floor buffing machine. The red colorant was protected by the wax and it looked great.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

What would be the corresponding maintenance regimen for an exterior surface-colored slab ? Wax wouldn't be the appropriate protectant, would it ?

SDR

Paul Ringstrom
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Post by Paul Ringstrom »

My new Walmart has beautiful colored concrete floors. I don't know if they are acid-stained or "colored". They have a nice mottled color.

outside in
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Post by outside in »

SDR - um, yes, I just said that.....

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Interesting, John. The wax would last for 12 months ? I hadn't thought of wax as an exterior product. Thanks for the information !


S

pharding
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Post by pharding »

When in doubt follow the manufacturer's recommendations. The shake on products require regular maintenance to maintain the color.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I'm aware that there is a visible difference between paint and colored concrete -- but I wonder if there isn't a third option that would combine the simplicity of paint with the richness of waxed colored cement: namely, the use of a transparent finish like polyurethane to which color has been added. I know from experience that this is virtually guaranteed to produce an irregularly-colored effect, the result of different thicknesses of finish across the surface. Perhaps a spray application would minimize this effect. But one would read the visual texture of the concrete through the translucent finish.

Or is there a significant different in sheen and texture between hard clear-coat and buffed wax ?

I would think that many would be satisfied with a simple opaque painted finish -- especially if uniform color was preferred -- after reading this thread. ( A renewable finish like wax is probably preferable outdoors, where the elements eventually attack a hard coat like poly, leaving it intact in places and making renewal difficult.)

S D R

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

I don't understand why people think it's so important for the color of a concrete mat to be absolutely uniform. Why would you want the various hues of an unpainted wood wall, and yet insist that the red of the concrete be completely uniform from one end to the other? Avoiding blotches that show incompetent application is one thing, but deadness of flat color seems undesirable to me. If I were to color such a mat, I would used 2, 3 or even 4 shades. When presented with several samples for the enamelled metal panels of the Walker House, and asked which shade of green to use, FLW replied, "Use all of them."

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