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What is color-crete?

Color-crete, also known as colored concrete, is a type of decorative concrete that is integrally colored during the mixing process. Unlike standard gray concrete, color-crete contains pigments that provide a wide range of colors, allowing for unique and eye-catching concrete surfaces.

How is Color-Crete Made?

The pigments used in color-crete are added directly to the concrete mix before or during mixing. The pigments are dispersed throughout the concrete mixture, ensuring even color distribution. Here is the basic process for producing color-crete:

Step Description
1 Add pigment to the concrete mix according to manufacturer specifications, usually around 3-10% of the cement weight.
2 Mix the pigment thoroughly to disperse it evenly throughout the concrete.
3 Pour, finish, and cure the concrete as normal.

The pigments used are inorganic mineral oxides that are alkali-resistant, UV stable and designed specifically for coloring concrete. Some common pigments include iron oxide for reds, browns and yellows, chromium oxide for greens and titanium dioxide for whites.

Types of Color-Crete

There are two main ways to produce color-crete:

  1. Integrally colored concrete: Pigment is added during batching of the concrete mix. This colors the entire depth of the concrete.
  2. Colored concrete topping: Pigmented concrete topping is applied to a concrete base. The topping layer is typically 1-3 mm thick.

Within these categories, there are a few methods for achieving different color effects:

Solid color

A single pigment is used throughout the mix to achieve a uniform, solid color throughout the concrete.

Variegated color

Two or more colors are randomly dispersed to create a mottled, multicolored finish.

Exposed aggregate

The top layer is washed away to expose the colored aggregate underneath. This creates an interesting, mottled look.

Benefits of Color-Crete

There are many reasons to choose color-crete over plain concrete:

  • Aesthetics: Color-crete allows for dramatic and creative looks not possible with plain concrete. Vibrant reds, blues, greens and more can liven up concrete surfaces.
  • Design versatility: An endless array of colors, patterns and textures can be achieved to complement any design style.
  • Durability: Properly mixed color-crete is just as durable and long-lasting as unpigmented concrete.
  • Stain resistance: The pigments help reduce staining from oils, fluids and weathering compared to plain concrete.
  • Lower maintenance: Colored concrete resists fading and damage better than other decorative finishes like stains, paints and dyes.
  • Cost-effective: Color-crete is affordable, especially compared to other decorative paving options like brick, natural stone or pavers.

Applications of Color-Crete

Here are some of the most common uses for integrally colored concrete:


Color-crete is very popular for driveways, as it provides an attractive, durable and unique surface that enhances curb appeal. It’s available in earth tones, cool grays, reds and more to complement both traditional and modern home styles.

Pool decks

Bare feet love the cool, smooth feel of colored concrete pool decks. Color-crete also provides a nice aesthetic contrast to the water. Popular pool deck colors include cool grays, light blues, beiges and terra cottas.


Enjoy striking, vibrant patios that can handle harsh outdoor conditions. Color-crete patios are slip-resistant and easy to clean. Bold reds, oranges and umber hues are great patio color options.


Welcome guests with an eye-catching walkway. Colored concrete walkways coordinate beautifully with greenery and landscaping. Soft earth tones like sand, brown and beige are ideal.

Interior floors

Polished color-crete floors are growing in popularity inside homes. They provide a durable, seamless and design-forward alternative to carpet, tile and wood. Grays, light blues and greens work well indoors.

Cost Breakdown

The cost of color-crete is dependent on several factors:

Factor Description
Base concrete cost This includes cost of concrete, labor, site preparation, permit/inspection fees, equipment, etc. Expect to pay $2-$6 per square foot.
Pigment cost Colored pigments add $0.15-$0.30 per square foot typically.
Complexity Intricate patterns, multiple colors and specialty finishes add cost.
Location Project costs are higher in areas with higher labor and material rates.

Many factors affect the final installed cost, but on average, expect to pay $2.50-$8 per square foot for colored concrete. Get quotes from multiple companies before deciding.


Color-crete requires minimal maintenance. Here are some tips for keeping it looking its best:

  • Clean regularly with water and mild detergent using a stiff broom or pressure washer.
  • Avoid using acidic cleaners which may etch and lighten the surface.
  • Re-apply concrete sealers every 1-2 years.
  • Check for cracks and repair quickly to prevent damage.
  • Remove oil, grease and rust stains immediately before they set.
  • Address plant overgrowth or drainage issues quickly.
  • Remove snow and ice in cold climates promptly.

With proper installation methods and occasional maintenance, color-crete surfaces can last for decades.


If you’re looking to add curb appeal, value and personality to your property, color-crete is an excellent option. With its durability, design flexibility, and relatively low maintenance requirements, color-crete can provide an attractive, distinctive look for driveways, patios, pool decks and more. Just be sure to hire an experienced decorative concrete contractor to get the best results. Your new color-crete surface will provide enjoyment for years to come.