Frequently Asked Questions
Outlined below are the top 10 commonly asked questions
about QC colored concrete.
The information provided is for informational purposes only. This content is
not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the advice
of an architect, contractor or qualified installer with any questions you may
have regarding colored concrete application.
Q. Does concrete colored with QC Colors fade?
A. The color can't fade, but the concrete can. The active ingredient in every QC product is pure inorganic pigment which is made in a process of oxidizing metal, in essence, "fading" metal into a pigment powder. The resulting powder pigment concentrate is impossible to fade. Concrete, on the other hand does change with time and weather exposure. Even uncolored concrete which turns yellow, erodes and darkens as it accumulates dirt, dust and grime from the environment. Left unprotected or weakened by a poor mix design or finishing job, the surface of concrete "dusts" and erodes slowly until fine aggregate and sand particles are exposed. This same process occurs in colored concrete. The solution is to buy concrete from a supplier who offers mixes designed for durability and an installer with experience in finishing "architectural" concrete. Then keep colored concrete fresh looking by protecting it with periodic applications of a good clear sealer.
Q. Where can I get colored concrete?
A. If you're a homeowner, the best place to start is with the yellow pages or a local newspaper. Look for Concrete contractors, Landscape contractors or call your local Ready-Mix concrete supplier and ask for the name of a good concrete contractor. If you're an architect, just specify the QC Color you want in plans or specifications.
Q. How much does color add to concrete cost?
A. Approximately 10 to 30% to the cost of the concrete itself. But it only adds a fraction to the total installed cost, since most colored concrete is mixed and finished in the same way as uncolored concrete. The answer depends on the color you choose and whether you take advantage of all the unique finishes and textures that skilled contractors are capable of.
Q. My new colored concrete is much darker than your color card. Why is that?
A. Fresh concrete is always much darker than when it is fully cured and dry. Even uncolored concrete. Wait at least 7 to 10 days until the new concrete has hardened and dried. If the concrete is on a wet subgrade or there's underground water, it may stay dark for as long as it's wet.
Q. My colored concrete has some areas where it's much darker than other spots. Why?
A. If the concrete is new, that is less than two weeks old, it could still be drying. However, if some of the dark spots seem to be staying dark while the rest of the concrete is drying out, you may have areas of "Entrapped Moisture". Entrapped moisture is a condition that appears as random dark areas which can be completely different in shad from unaffected areas. It may also precisely follow areas that were "hard troweled" or where edging and jointing tools were used. Remedy entrapped moisture by scrubbing the dark spots with a stiff bristle brush and flushing with water. Repeat the process over a few days and they should lighten up. If your concrete is older than two weeks, wet the dark spots with water, then pour on some white vinegar and scrub with the stiff brush. Entrapped moisture takes a few treatments to disappear. Check out our Online Contractor's Guide to see how to avoid entrapped moisture in the first place.
Q. Do I need to apply a sealer?
A. Not necessarily. Colored concrete will get good and hard just like normal concrete. However, all concrete benefits from being sealed against stains and water damage. So even though it's not necessary, sealing your colored concrete will make it look good longer and will help prevent dusting of the surface.
Q. Can you guarantee the final color will match the QC color card?
A. Unfortunately, Not. The final color is a function of the cement color, sand color, the amount of water used as well as finishing methods. We only guarantee that our color additives will match our standard, that is, they will be the same from batch-to-batch and year-to-year.