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You Can Change the Color of Your Concrete!by Steve VandeWater

Is your stamped concrete worn, damaged, or in need of rejuvenation? Perhaps it’s in good shape but you’d just like to change its color. Either way, your decorative concrete can be restoredor recolored.

One recoloring method consists of applying a tinted base coat and then going over it with a contrasting antiquing color. This is followed by sealing to protect and enhance it. The photo to the left demonstrates the effect of this process.

Case Study: The original concrete in the photo above was stamped, but uncolored. A few sections had become damaged and were in need of replacement. The homeowner wanted it all to look the same after the repairs had been made, so she suggested acid staining the entire slab. I informed her that this wouldn’t work because the new concrete would take the stain differently than the old concrete. To solve the problem, we decided upon an opaque stain coating to cover and hide everything.

After researching several products and finding them too expensive or limited in their color choices, I decided to make my own “homemade” version. I studied the tech data bulletins and material safety data sheets and came up with a reasonable facsimile. The ingredients were less than half the price of the “real” products, and were available locally. I could create virtually any color I wanted, and since I could make it myself, there would be no delays in shipping. If I needed more material than I originally thought, I could instantly mix some more on the jobsite. If I used less than anticipated, I would not need to worry about returning or storing unused containers that had a definite shelf-life. After explaining my plans to experiment and getting the OK from the homeowner, I applied my coating. The homemade “stain” gave the entire job a cohesive appearance, but was a single color and lacked the mottled & variegated look of stamped concrete. It looked somewhat “painted” Therefore, I antiqued it with another “homemade” antiquing mixture which allowed it to resemble traditional stamped concrete coloring methods. The slab was then sealed with clear, water-based concrete sealer. The job turned out great and the owner was delighted.

She called me back a year later after her home had been treated for termites. The exterminators had drilled holes in the concrete to allow for pesticide injection and the patch material they used was plain gray concrete. The white spots were unsightly and detracted from the home’s curb appeal. I used my method to color the patched holes, and the repair was flawless. You could scarcely tell that anything had been disturbed. Three years of hard Indiana winters followed, and the job still looks good today.

The “homemade” product was so successful that I have since used it on countless other jobs to color uncolored concrete, recolor poorly-colored concrete, fix mismatched colors between slabs, or simply to restore old stamped concrete to near its original appearance. In every case, I informed the owner that this was a “homemade” product and that as such, there could be no manufacturer’s warranty. To this date, I have heard no reports of failure.

Because I needed to call the product something, I decided on the name ”Koat-It”. I have shared the Koat-It process with several local contractors who needed to resolve color issues with customers of their own. The contractor is always advised to disclose the “homemade” nature of the product to the owner before applying it. Many jobs have been spared the jackhammer through the use of this stain.

Below are “before and after” photos of jobs where the Koat-It process was used.