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When the pavement changes color, it affects the overall appearance of your outdoor area. That's why before choosing your hardscaping material, you should know if its color lasts and what you can do about it if ever it fades. Today, we'll talk about stamped concrete in particular. We've asked our experts if it changes color and if it can be restored. Here's what they have to say.
Stamped concrete is bound to change its color as it dries and is continually exposed to harsh weather conditions and daily use. You can restore its color with the help of dyes, stains, tinted sealer, and other restorative products to make it look new once again.
Continue reading to know more about why the color of stamped concrete changes and how you can restore it. We'll also answer if stamped concrete has a lighter or darker color once it dries and if sealing can help preserve or protect its color. We'll also talk about how to adjust the color after installing your stamped concrete. Let's get started!
Does stamped concrete fade over time?
All homeowners want their patio to look nice. But the pavement's faded color can make it look unpresentable. It tells you that it is worn out, old, and hasn't been given diligent maintenance. In other words, it doesn't make a good impression on guests and passersby who see your patio.
Stamped concrete is a popular hardscaping material used for outdoor paving projects such as patios, walkways, driveways, and pool decks. It is poured concrete that has been stamped with different designs and patterns to make the pavement look nicer. It can resemble the look of bricks, wood, tiles, flagstone, and other more expensive paving materials for less cost.
You can also add pigments to enhance its color and appearance. There are different ways to achieve this.
You can mix the color while the concrete is blended in the truck. It penetrates the entire concrete mixture, so the color stays and doesn't fade. Color options are usually limited to earth hues and pastels. That's why many contractors still use other color treatments to make the stamped concrete look better.
You can broadcast the color on the top layer of the stamped concrete using color hardeners. Aside from giving the concrete a more intense color, they also add strength and density to the pavement.
There's also the surface-applied color which is used to give the pavement a more natural look. Examples are chemical dyes and acid-based chemical stains.
A wide variety of colors are available for stamped concrete. The more popular ones are the earth tones such as gray, brown, and red since they blend well with the natural surroundings. You can also mix colors to create the perfect match for your exterior property's color scheme.
However, even the best concrete colors will still fade over time. This can be due to exposure to the sun's heat and harsh UV rays. They can break down the chemical bonds in the paint or pigment. Colors also fade as a result of normal wear and tear. Foot and vehicle traffic will cause the cement and its colors to erode, especially those which were applied at the top layer of the stamped concrete.
How to Restore Faded Stamped Concrete
The good news is that there's something that you can do to restore your pavement's color and make it look new again. You can restain or apply a tinted sealer. There are also available products in the market that have been specifically designed for restoring and renovating pavements. You can try any of these methods on your faded stamped concrete pavement to give it new life and make it look attractive once more.
Does stamped concrete dry lighter/darker?
The color of a newly installed stamped concrete is darker when you compare it to concrete that has dried and hardened. This explains why the pavement looks lighter after a week or so. But if the sub-layers are wet before pouring concrete, it would affect the color contrast. It would stay dark for as long as the layers beneath the concrete are wet.
The color of stamped concrete will become even lighter once it has been given enough time to cure properly.
Does sealing also preserve/protect color?
Sealing is part of your stamped concrete's regular maintenance. This will not only enhance and protect your pavement's color but also preserve the condition of your stamped concrete. It will give it added protection against moisture, dirt, and other environmental conditions. It will also prevent stains on the surface of the pavement. By doing so, it'll bring out the natural beauty of your stamped concrete.
There are different kinds of sealants that you can buy. Some are clear, others are tinted, while some provide additional slip resistance to make your pavement safer to walk or drive on.
Always check if the sealant is compatible with the color treatment that you used. If it is colored, make sure it will match and enhance the concrete's existing color.
Before applying the sealant, sweep off the dirt from your pavement and give it a thorough washing. Make sure that there's no grease or oil on the surface. You can use a degreaser when cleaning. This will guarantee that the sealant will adhere to the stamped concrete properly.
The frequency of resealing your pavement would depend on the foot or vehicle traffic that it gets and its exposure to extreme weather conditions. This could be done every two to three years so that your stamped concrete will always look great and presentable.
Can you darken/lighten dried concrete?
If you're not satisfied with your pavement's color after it has dried, there are still some remedies that you can do.
To darken dried concrete, you can choose from dyes, stains, and tints depending on the level of color adjustment that you need to do.
You can choose between diluted acid stain and impregnating stain for minor adjustments. For medium color adjustments, you would need to use a tinted sealer or a full-strength acid stain or dye.
But if you want to change the color completely, you're better off using a solid-color or acrylic stain.
If you want to lighten the existing color, you need to remove the sealant first, then scrub the surface profusely to remove as much of the old color as possible. If you still want to make it lighter, you can mix 1 part of muriatic acid with 40 parts of water to achieve a lighter color. This is applicable when you use a color release agent on your stamped concrete.
If the color has been integrated with the concrete during mixing, you still need to strip off the sealant. You will have to use colored stains or dyes. Check the manufacturer's instructions on how to prepare the concrete surface for its application. Apply thin coats of acrylic stains to make the color lighter.
Another method that you can try is power washing. Apply continuous pressure on the stamped concrete's surface. This will encourage efflorescence or the formation of salt deposits. The salts will consequently make the concrete much lighter.
Stamped concrete will lose its color as time passes by. It is best to maintain it regularly by applying a sealant to protect its color and beauty. Once the color fades, different products in the market will help you revitalize the look of your pavement.
If you want to know more about other paving materials, you may visit the following links: