Concrete Countertop Colors
Fabricators that specialize in concrete countertops will provide a variety of premium and standard color choices. Every fabricator will offer unique color selections because they use their own in-house blended colors when constructing a precast factory unit, or one that is poured on the job site. The mixture and blended colors will vary differently based on the amount of aggregate cement used in the construction process.
In fact, the resulting color is often different in various parts of the country. This is because of the varieties of Portland cement available in different regions. In addition, the contractor will have a variety of locally available stains, pigments and aggregate colors, all of which will create a unique appearance in the concrete countertop.
Picking a Pigment
Many fabricators that manufacture concrete counters will provide the option for selecting a variety of customized concrete countertop colors. The colors are fabricated from pigments made out of liquid or powder mortar dyes. These dyes are added to the concrete when mixing. Blending the pigment dye into the cement, sand and aggregate at the early stage of mixing tends to create a more uniform result.
However, some customers are seeking to have a more “blotchy” appearance to add a sense of character to the countertop. Typically, the amount of dye that is used in a single mixture is approximately 2% to 10% of the total amount of Portland cement used in the concrete mixture. Adding any higher amount than 10% can compromise the strength of the countertop.
Generally speaking, the pigment that is used in concrete countertop colors will be weighed to an exact amount before it is added to the mixture of concrete. Usually, the mixture contains Portland cement along with an amount of fly ash (a coal plant byproduct) that is used as an effective binder. In addition, shale aggregate and water is added to activate the Portland cement and give it strength.
Many times, the concrete countertop manufacturer will use a specific kind of aggregate to enhance the decorative surface. Many of the available aggregates can be ground down after the curing process. This exposes the surface aggregates to achieve a desired effect.
Mixing in the Colors
The available concrete countertop colors are added during the mixing process. All of the materials are combined together and blended in a mixer. Traditionally, they are tumbled inside the concrete mixer for approximately 18 minutes. This allows the concrete slurry to reach the right type of consistency that highly resembles the density of cooked oatmeal. It is during the early process of the mixing – approximately 8 minutes to 10 minutes from the start – when the color is added.
Once the concrete has set, it begins to cure. It is this time that the contractor will use a penetrating sealer to treat the surface of the countertop. This helps maintain the concrete countertop colors and prevents potential for staining.
To maintain the concrete countertop colors over the years, it is important to apply wax every three months or so to the surface.