In Brazil we have a floor finish named Burnt Cement (that doesn't involve burning). Here is a description of the process

In summary, you use a mix of cement and pigment (sometimes marble powder too) sprinkled over fresh concrete floor (1 part cement and 3 parts sand), and then use a steel float to spread it. It can simply color, or have a stained effect.

What is this called in English?

Also, how can I properly execute this technique?

EDIT: From what I discovered, I think that is called dry-shake. In US people seem to buy a ready made compound to use, where in Brazil we mix cement and pigment (sometimes marble or limestone powder too) to make the same effect. If that is correct, I need to find some instructions on how to execute this (a video showing the effect would be even better).

  • The linked page is now a 404. Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 4:01

1 Answer 1


Correct, dry shake. Or more specifically dry shake color hardener. As you say, it is essentially cement and colorant. You might just search video sites for application instructions, such as http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dry+shake+color+hardener+application. Incidentally, techniques that achieve similar effects to cured concrete are concrete dyes and concrete acid stains.

  • I really like the effect of concrete stains, but unfortunately I can't find it in Brazil. I can find hypochlorite acid (commonly sold as strong stone cleaner) and pigments made of iron oxides, silicates, etc, is there a way to make an acid stain mixing those? If so, what ratio? Commented Nov 29, 2012 at 0:19
  • 2
    You mean hydrochloric acid (HCl)! A hypochlorite solution will produce poisonous chlorine gas when mixed with acid :( The acid stain colorants are usually some combination of metallic salts. Manufacturers closely guard their formulas, and acid solutions are not something anyone should experiment with, results can be fatal if you don't know what you're doing. I did stumble on this interesting site though: www.stainedfloor.com The issue with acid stains is the result is dependent on the exact composition of the concrete, which you have little control over.
    – bcworkz
    Commented Nov 29, 2012 at 21:39
  • @bcworkz you have lots of control over the composition of the concrete if you are mixing it yourself. Commented Feb 3, 2013 at 1:42
  • @TC- you are right, but unfortunately I misspoke. I should have said the finish is dependent on the exact composition of the cement used. All the aggregates and most of the sand you control in the mix are not at the stained surface. I should have added you can at least ensure a somewhat consistent stain by ensuring all the aggregates are tamped below the finished surface. Exposed aggregates will typically not stain. You can't fully control the results, but you can at least ensure consistent results with proper finishing.
    – bcworkz
    Commented Feb 3, 2013 at 19:48

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