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I'm going to be using a mold to pour a concrete pathway and I was wondering about coloring options. I've done this previously with this quikrete product. It worked and turned out okay, but one bottle only does two bags of concrete. The cost of color adds up pretty fast.

On TV I saw some DIY show use powder that was broadcast over wet concrete. I've also seen some stains that you apply to cured concrete. Are there any cheaper options to get rid of the dull gray? This will be outside, so durability is important.

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3 Answers 3

After using the similar forms you describe, poured about 60 feet of walkway -- I've used the Bear concrete stains which are applied after the product cures with great success. Even taken two different shades and did the "artistic" thing providing a little depth and 10 years later still looks good -- although an extra step, it went quite quickly. Using the "artistic" approach allowed us to use the $5.00 mis-mixes with a little creativity.

hope it helps...

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Thanks, I've been wondering how well the stains you apply after curing would hold up! –  Josh Bush Apr 17 '12 at 18:56
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There are dozens of stains and dyes available. Some you can mix while making the concrete, some you apply after the cure. The type you use depends on what effects you are trying to get. Check out this site http://www.concretenetwork.com/stains-dyes-buyers-guide/ Good information and lots of links. Good luck.

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Internally colored concrete is the best (pigments added to the mix) as any nicks/cracks/wear over time won't be nearly as noticeable.

Of course, that's also the most difficult to use.

You could consider a top-coat pigment (powder applied to the top of the concrete). That's good if you need a very bright, solid color. HOWEVER--if improperly applied, it won't fully adhere. Sadly, we had a contractor pour colored concrete pillars. He didn't get the color mix right, so had to come back and apply a top-coat. Alas, the top-coat never fully adhered so our kids were forever coming in the house with red-stained pants from climbing all over them. Ugh.

All that said, I'd also go with a stain as others have recommended. I'd apply it in a hap-hazard way to give it a nice mottled look that will hide blemishes and wear over time much easier.

Be sure to go with an acid stain. The big-box stores also sell concrete stain that isn't really a stain, but rather a top-coat that will just wear. An acid stain will actually etch into the concrete and act more as a true stain.

The nice thing about staining is that it's incredibly easy to apply. Just spray/mop it on. Apply neutralizer, then hose off.

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