Adding dyes and pigments changes the color from a dull and boring gray to any color you can imagine to fit into your decorating style and needs. Concrete-dyes can be added to both big and small jobs. If you choose to make your own garden stepping stones and you want them to be purple, you can do it! If you are pouring a patio and want yellow stamped-concrete, it is possible. For large jobs such as pouring a patio, driveway, garage floor, foundation or any type of large cement slab, the concrete will have to be dyed by the delivery company. For smaller jobs where you will be using bag type, ready mix-concrete, you can do it yourself. Concrete is actually very easy to dye and can be done by anyone who knows how to mix concrete. For larger jobs that require a delivery in a cement truck, the company will have pigments they can add in to color your concrete. Of all of the choices for coloring-concrete, dye is the most effective because the dye colors the concrete throughout rather than just a surface color. Surface colors wear off of concrete and tend to fade in the sun.
You will need an acid free, water insoluble, soluble salt free and sun fast dye, also called a pigment. These dyes are specially formulated for dying concrete. Dyes or pigments are available at home improvement stores, mason supply houses, some hardware stores, cement companies and online.
In a large wheelbarrow or tough add the dry concrete mix and your pigment. Mix the concrete according to the directions on the bag.
How much color should you add:
For a light color or a hint of color add 1 lbs of pigment into 1 bag-of-cement.
For a lighter pastel color add 2 lbss of pigment into a bag-of-cement.
For a medium color shade add 3 to 4 pounds of pigment to a bag of concrete.
For a very dark and rich shade add up to 10 pounds of pigment to a bag-of-cement.
You can add any variation of dye to bag-of-cement that you choose, there are no rules.
Whatever shade of color you choose, be sure to remember how much pigment you added per bag-of-cement to avoid deviations in color. It is best to mix all of the cement at the same time to avoid any differences in concrete shade.
If you are having your concrete delivered, the company will mark how much dye was added to the cement, but that will not ensure a uniform color if you require a second delivery. Always, whenever possible have all concrete dyed at the same time.