Dyes and pigments for staining concrete, cement and brickwork

A plethora of creative possibilities arise when one uses dyes and pigments to alter the appearance of concrete, cement, and brickwork. Vibrant colors and delicate tones can bring these materials, which are sometimes thought of as boring and functional, to life. Staining these surfaces can give them a distinctive touch of character and charm, whether you’re trying to improve the aesthetics of a driveway, patio, or the entire structure.

There are numerous varieties of pigments and dyes, and each has unique uses and advantages. Usually penetrating deeply into the material, dyes produce vibrant, translucent colors that accentuate the surface’s inherent texture. Conversely, pigments tend to be surface-level and provide opaque coverage that can effectively conceal flaws and give the skin a uniform appearance.

The type of project, the desired color intensity, and the particulars of the surface to be treated are some of the factors that influence the choice of dye or pigment. Environmental factors and the color’s long-term durability should also be taken into account. Making the appropriate decision will enable you to achieve a gorgeous finish that raises the value and aesthetic appeal of your home.

To get the best results, it’s important to understand the differences between dyes and pigments and to use the right application techniques. With the help of this guide, you will be able to achieve professional-quality finishes and make well-informed decisions about staining concrete, cement, and brickwork. Whether you’re an experienced do-it-yourselfer or a licensed contractor, these tips will give you the skills to turn common surfaces into extraordinary pieces of art.

Dyes for concrete

Concrete cauline may have uneven properties and a different structure. Either way, painting a cement solution to give it more expressive aesthetic qualities is its primary goal.

Color concrete is a creative way to arrange a summer cottage or home courtyard to create variation in the urban landscape. Painting techniques are widely used in the creation of paving slabs, borders, different products made of reinforced concrete, and kneading brickwork solutions for walls.

Using dye in concrete mixture

Prefabricated goods can have a unique look by adding paint to a concrete mixture. The coloring composition does not abrasion or wear out over time because of its high penetration depth. The structure of the composition remains unchanged even with a specific surface. The only thing experts point out is how expensive painted concrete work can be. However, tinting ingredients are frequently added to pouring tracks, doors, floors, and other large areas.

Pigment – what is it

Concrete pigment is a dry powder additive that is added to a mixture of concrete or sprayed on a dried base to provide the desired color. Sometimes the just laid solution is colored with the pigmented composition, which contributes to a decrease in product consumption. Following the addition of solvents, fixators, and additional drying, pigments become resistant to the effects of damaging agents.

Types of pigments

Both artificial and natural (natural) pigments can be obtained through this method. They are divided into two categories: mineral and organic. Additionally, pigments vary in terms of color, heat resistance, and chemical effect resistance.

The types of pigments are as follows:

  1. Natural. They are obtained by crushing lime, kaolin, chalk, ocher, peroxide of manganese.
  2. Artificial. To obtain minerals and stones, thermal treatment is subjected to. Representatives – soot painter, burned Umbra, white titanium, azure, chromium oxide.
  3. Metal. For their manufacture, metals are used (golden, zinc dust, titanium oxide, iron -oxide powder, aluminum powder).
  4. Acidic. They are prepared on the basis of various acids, as a result, pigments of blue, green, black and brown are obtained.

Pigment properties

A variety of qualities should be present in all pigments, and to a sufficient extent. If not, coloring concrete or the final product is pointless because the surface will soon lose its glossy exterior. These are dyes’ primary characteristics:

  • Covering – the product should completely overlap the white or gray tone of the main material;
  • low oil intensity-this indicator should be no more than 40-100 units, the color retention period of the finished solution depends on it;
  • resistance to corrosion, alkali, ultraviolet radiation, temperature changes – such properties will seriously extend the life of the products;
  • dispersion – powder compounds should be well distributed according to the finished mixture, despite the dry state.

How pigments are produced – methods

Pigments are made in industrial settings from organic or mineral materials, enhancing different synthetic additives. Some people use their hands to apply pigments in an effort to save some. However, keep in mind that making this kind of dye yourself is difficult; it is preferable to buy the composition already completed. If dosages are not followed, the solution may turn out incorrectly colored or ruined altogether.


The color of cement affects how a painting turns out. If the substance is muted and gray, the result will also be muted and gray. Invest in a white sequence for colors that are vivid and saturated. To achieve the desired shade, pre-knead a small amount of solution and add a small amount of pigment. If the computed proportions are rigorously adhered to in the future, the design’s tone will be uniform.

Pigment colors are typically restricted to the primary color spectrum, which includes red, blue, yellow, black, and green. They can easily create their own combinations to get purple, orange, and other secondary colors. Take the original white Portland cement and add the same color filler to create a white solution. Use titanium dioxide to lighten gray cement a little.

Other elements that influence the final product’s color include:

  1. Shade of sand and other additives. It is worth using only light gravel or transparent quartz sand – they improve the brightness of pigments.
  2. Water -cement ratio. The more water is introduced, the brighter the initial cement mortar will be.
  3. The temperature of concrete curing. At a higher environmental temperature, crystals formed during the solidification of the mixture have a smaller size. Therefore, the light is more strongly dispersed and the solution looks lighter.
  4. Percentage of pigmentation from cement weight. The maximum permissible amount of ring in the solution is 8-10 %. 5 % are enough for highly coloring compositions. Further, the difference in color will be insignificant, but the properties of concrete itself change for the worse. There are also recommendations on the amount of pigment depending on the color: pastel colors-1-3 %, shades of medium intensity-3-4 %, saturated colors-4-6 %or more.
  5. Manufacturer. Different manufacturers of coloring compositions have unequal quality of pigments, which must be taken into account when buying.
  6. Time. The remainder of the color will depend on the time of operation of the product. So, oxide pigments even after a long time retain the shade. And yet, most tints fade a little as a result of the flowing chemical processes. Valles are formed on the products – lime spots.

Characteristics of the material

The basis for powder pigment’s mechanism of action is light absorption and specific light ray reflection. This allows us to see a glimpse of the final design.

The majority of pigments are safe for the environment and can be used to decorate homes. About the physical and chemical properties, we highlight the primary ones as follows:

  • The remainder on the sieve with the size of the cells of 45 μm-0.05-2.5 %;
  • pH-3-8;
  • The share of water-soluble salts is 0.4-0.8 %.

Prior to going on sale, every train is examined using reference samples. Product quality is guaranteed by the manufacturer.

The structure of the material

A dry consistency characterizes most pigments. Liquid, emulsion, paste, and microcapsule coil realization is far less common. the less expensive dry powders to use.

Light resistance

Pigments are resistant to light. This is the coloring material’s capacity to hold onto its shade when exposed to UV rays. The majority of natural pigments are very resistant to light.

Types of dyes

With a variety of dyes that are made based on pigments, you can add color to concrete. It’s critical that the Cauline has adequate consolidation quality and a good penetration depth.

Acid dyes

Are thought to be the most enduring and prevalent in the building industry. These funds are safe for people and the environment. They cause a chemical reaction that stains the solution or the completed structure. Typically, the color scheme consists of eight standard tones that are simple to combine.

Acrylic dyes

These kinds of dyes are vibrant and long-lasting. They are more frequently utilized to produce colored concrete for use in brick masonry, floor pouring, and wall application. Ready shades are used in building supply stores. Acryl doesn’t hurt people, so you can work with him in quiet spaces. Paint is applied to finished concrete using brushes, rollers, and sprayers. Apply at least two layers of staining.

Dry dyes

An extensive range of basic and pre-mixed pigments, including umbra, white, and ochre, are used to depict these collars. Dry pigments are more common in daily life because they are less expensive than other pigments. Variations in temperature, solar radiation, and precipitation all work against means. It is crucial to ensure that the concrete surface is painted for the first time before applying.

Color additives for concrete

When the solution is being kneaded, these collars are inserted into the cement. They can be pasty, powdered, or liquid. Light hues and pastel tones are prevalent. Rain and sunlight do not frighten dyes; in fact, their longevity is equal to that of the concrete structure.

DIY dye manufacturing

It is worthwhile to choose only premium cement with the lightest initial color for work if you want the desired outcome. Even with homemade dyes, painting will be a breeze.

Recipe for pigmentation:

  • 0.2 l of calcium chloride;
  • 7 liters of water;
  • 30 g of laundry soap;
  • 0.5 kg of dry lime paint of any shade;
  • 1.5 liters of hazel-pusk.

Paint and calcium chloride must be added after dilution of lime in water. Grind the soap separately on a grater, dissolve it in a little water, and then add it to the entire solution. Filter the solution to produce a uniform liquid. The finished paint, which can be added to concrete right away, comes out in about ten liters.

Preparation of concrete mixture with dye

You must apply the resulting dye to the cement evenly for it to turn out well. To achieve this, mix paint into the freshly made solution until a slight thickening occurs. A concrete mixer or other mixer is the best tool for mixing; a hand mixer will cause delays and possibly worse results. You can use the paint for what it was meant to be used for as soon as the veins no longer show through the mass.

It’s critical to carefully follow the ratios when coloring concrete. Breaking the ratio will cause the finished design to become weaker and crack more quickly. To ensure that the material is suitable, it is advisable to perform a preliminary knead and pour a small portion of the material. Crack prevention can be incorporated into the bulk of plasticizers and moisture-holding additives to increase clutch and strength.

The steps involved in staining concrete are as follows:

  • Before starting work, a large container is prepared;
  • Mix dry components of the solution;
  • add water and dye if it is a liquid substance;
  • Mix the mass thoroughly.

In the process of creating the solution, fixators—adhesive additives—as well as cement and pigments are added, if technology permits. To create the mixture, one needs to combine 2.5 parts sand, 1 part cement, 4 parts gravel, ¼ part water, and 2 parts pigment. Upon solidification, you can replicate an aged surface, a natural stone, or fill in a traditional color combination, depending on the type of pigment.

Painting of frozen concrete

Construction is one industry that uses this technique, and experts are also frequently employed. It is necessary to prepare the frozen surface before beginning work. It is cleaned or cleared of dirt, dust, and grease with a solvent-based "dry" method. The base is then dried using a spray or a hairdryer. The following equipment and tools are required for painting:

  • working clothes, glasses, gloves;
  • Maslar adhesive tape;
  • brush or roller;
  • Paint tray.

Wearing protective gear is imperative, particularly when working with acid-based colors. Although staining can be done by hand, using a spray gun is preferable for larger surfaces. Previously, tape was used to glue any contact areas that would not be painted. Put on one layer and give it at least six hours to dry. Once the first coat of paint has dried completely, you can apply a second layer (day). A chemical reaction will take place during this period, painting the concrete’s surface the desired hue.

After finishing the job, use cool water to wash the concrete and a cloth or sponge to wipe it down. A true shade will become apparent as it dries. Applying specific toppings can make it deeper and more persistent. They also give the dye a shine and fix it. Per square meter of surface, up to 0.3 kg of paint are typically used in a single layer; however, this amount can occasionally be exceeded.

Using compounds with deep penetration (up to 5 mm) yields better results. These kinds of funds also have the power to shield concrete from harmful elements. It is always advisable to carefully read the information before making a purchase because the corresponding mark on penetrating staining is always on the material’s packaging.

The nordix plants, such as black N-722, brown N-663, and others, are frequently found in stores. Mapei paints are also widely used because they are high-quality, have a wide range of colors, and work well on concrete and facades. Mapei’s Elastocolor Paint Paints shield against temperature drops, don’t crack, and cover up small flaws. The NPP "GC", Zinser, and TEOCHIM products are also excellent.

In "Dyes and Pigments for Staining Concrete, Cement, and Brickwork," we examine how these substances can improve the durability of surfaces while also changing their visual appeal. We can learn more about the distinctive qualities and uses of dyes and pigments for staining different building materials by exploring their distinctions. We also go over helpful hints for choosing the best kind of dye or pigment depending on the desired color intensity, durability, and suitability for various surfaces. Knowing these options will help you, whether you’re a professional contractor or a do-it-yourself enthusiast, to produce colorful, long-lasting results for your cement, brick, or concrete projects.

Dyes for the solution

Up until recently, homes and other reinforced concrete products could have any kind of appearance. These days, pigmenting concrete is a necessary part of technology in order to produce a vast array of products for finishing and construction. As a result, ready-made pigments are added to the solution at the production stage, creating lovely shades.

Characteristics of additives for the working mixture

Solvents are used to dilute the paints. The following materials can be used for this: water, acetone, white spirit, and acrylic troops. Among the pigments’ key characteristics are:

  • the size of the fraction – the smaller the particles, the better the result of staining, as well as more effective, the ability to block the gray shade of the base;
  • Resistance to the action of light – special additives in the composition extend the lifespan of paint, do not allow it to quickly burn out in the sun;
  • the inability to be saturated with water and oils.

The solution’s dry (powder) paints have ideal granulometric composition and outstanding coloring ability. The majority of pigments are practically impervious to the effects of the atmosphere and can tolerate temperatures exceeding +500 degrees. They are employed in the preparation of diverse concrete solutions and in the painting of both ordinary and mosaic concrete that has been completed. Pigments are added when the mixture is about to be closed or when fresh concrete is applied (rubbed with a spatula).

Artificial stone is structurally given and intensely stained with liquid pigments. In addition to being UV- and atmospheric, they cost significantly more, but the color scheme is richer.

Advantages and disadvantages of painted composition

Professionals believe that using pigments during the kneading process is preferable because the entire mass is painted. Due to the uniform color of all the details, even the cutting of frozen concrete won’t raise any concerns. One major benefit is that the color does not change overall when the surface is abraded.

The following are additional benefits of a painted composition made of cement:

  • giving an original decorative kind;
  • wide range of shades;
  • the ability to realize a design idea;
  • decrease in cladding costs;
  • safety for man, nature;
  • cost savings due to low pigment consumption;
  • Very saturated color.

The method’s drawbacks have likewise. Even the most UV-resistant pigment eventually becomes slightly yellowed due to the Sun’s influence. Additionally, the cost of construction will increase due to the use of pigments as opposed to unpainted concrete. One drawback could be the difficulty of the task, particularly if significant amounts of colored concrete need to be diluted.

Cement solution coloring methods

The following technologies let you add the desired color to concrete:

  • the introduction into the finished composition of one selected pigment with the subsequent filling of the floor, structures;
  • adding different pigments (the method is more often used to fill tiles or other small products);
  • the introduction of different shades of the same color and the creation of the structure of artificial stone (with veins);
  • staining form for filling with the subsequent infusion of unpainted concrete into it.

New technologies

Professionals use the most recent and labor-intensive techniques for coloring concrete with pigments. Concrete is made by experts to resemble both natural and artificial stones in texture and appearance. To achieve this, various pigment shades are blended to create secondary tones, such as burgundy, bright green, lemon, and cherry. It is very difficult to achieve such an effect in artisanal conditions; professional equipment is required.

Preferred types of cement

There are no limitations when it comes to cement brands; you can use any to stain concrete. However, since the final effect is not solely determined by the pigment, the outcome will rely on the material’s quality. White cement costs more and is used to achieve the brightest color. If subdued hues are acceptable, gray Portland cement is available for less money.

If only dark (gray) material is bought, what should be done? By using the appropriate pigments, you can add blue, green, black, and brown to concrete. The simplest method to create a shade of wet asphalt from this mixture. When the required pigments are connected, pink, blue, and beige concrete will be created from white cement.

Choosing a shade

The pigments listed below are most frequently used to stain concrete or produce secondary shades:

  • green – chromium oxide;
  • white – titanium dioxide;
  • red – red iron oxide;
  • yellow – yellow iron oxide;
  • black – soot or carbon monoxide;
  • brown – brown iron oxide.

These pigments allow you to create additional tones that stain a concrete solution. On the other hand, some dyes (like blue flutalocyanine) quickly lose their primary color in the sun, making their use economically unprofitable.

Recommendations to the master

Prior to adding any pigments to the solution, they should all be sifted. They must remove any large particles from the product if they are present. If not, the mass of concrete will start to show dark veins. Filtered liquid dyes are used. Pigments should be added to the mixture until the required color is achieved, but not more than the maximum amount that is allowed.

Additional pointers for novices:

  • To obtain a juicy tone, it is worth mixing different pigments;
  • Before staining the frozen concrete, it must be washed well, remove all fat, otherwise the quality of work will be low;
  • The solution prepared with the addition of the pigment must be given to stand for several minutes so that the coloring substances completely dissolve.

The staining of concrete, cement, and brickwork can greatly improve the surfaces’ durability and visual appeal by selecting the appropriate dyes and pigments. Knowing the differences between dyes and pigments is essential, regardless of whether you’re going for a bright, contemporary finish or a more organic, earthy look.

When it comes to getting bright, consistent colors on cement and concrete surfaces, dyes are perfect. Deeply ingrained in the material, they produce vivid colors that can resemble real stone or inspire strong, modern designs. Dyes are versatile for a variety of design tastes, coming in a broad range of colors that can be combined to create unique shades.

Conversely, pigments work best for coloring brickwork, concrete, and cement while preserving a more natural look. They are usually blended into the material prior to application and are available in powdered form. Pigments are ideal for outdoor applications where durability is crucial because they provide color that endures weathering and UV exposure.

The intended appearance and the surface’s exposure to environmental elements should be taken into account when selecting between dyes and pigments. For indoor applications where color intensity and design flexibility are important, dyes work great. Because pigments can blend in seamlessly with the substrate and are resistant to UV rays, they are the preferred choice for outdoor projects.

Whichever option you select, using the right surface preparation and application methods is crucial to getting the best results. Before using any dye or pigment, make sure the surface of the concrete, cement, or brick is clean, dry, and clear of impurities. To get the correct color depth and consistency, adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations for mixing ratios and application techniques.

Through comprehension of the properties and uses of dyes and pigments for coloring concrete, cement, and brickwork, you can convert common surfaces into aesthetically pleasing components of your house or outdoor architecture. These materials offer limitless opportunities to enhance longevity and aesthetics, whether you prefer the natural beauty of pigmented brickwork or the bold statement of dyed concrete.

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Maria Vlasova

Chemist-technologist, expert on paint and varnish materials. I will help you figure out the compositions of paints, their characteristics and choose the best option for your purposes.

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