How to Get The Color Back In Stamped Concrete?

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stamped concrete

You desire to have the beautiful concrete remain the same for years. Some manufacturers even guarantee that the stamped concrete will retain its amazing and fresh look for decades. However, over time you’ll notice the concrete fade and look dull sometimes within a few years.

Even the best-done stamped concrete will fade, losing its color and looking unattractive. So, what are the reasons concrete fades? Moreover, how do you revive and refreshen the look of stamped concrete?

Why does the color of the stamped concrete fade?

You may ponder why your lovely stamped-concrete patio is becoming more faded and less attractive. One reason is that concrete fades from exposure to sunlight. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays contain energetic photons that strike the concrete and damage it.

According to Rismedia, UV rays act like miniature missiles breaking down the concrete structure’s atomic bonds. Gradually. The stamped concrete fades, resulting in a mottled appearance.

Surface abrasion from weather and foot and vehicle traffic also result in the degradation of the stamped concrete. As with most things, the concrete would wear out as a result of being used. Concrete with an especially low resistance to surface abrasion fades more quickly.

How to get color back in stamped concrete

The dullness and fadedness of the stamped concrete may have you desiring to recapture the natural rich look it once had. Amazingly, in a day’s work, you can easily recolor them for a refreshed look, and here’s how:

  1. Thoroughly clean the stamped concrete. This is the first crucial step where you remove the accumulated debris and stains on the concrete. A wet dry vacuum can be ideal for cleaning and leaving the stamped concrete dry.
  2. Check and reseal any damages. After thoroughly cleaning and drying the stamped concrete, check for any damages, such as cracks and holes. Also, ensure the concrete is waterproof since if it absorbs water, the concrete is damaged. After these checks, fix the crack and holes and reseal the stamped concrete.
  3. After cleaning and repairing all damages, re-stain the stamped concrete. The process involves applying a new coat of paint to bring the old shine back. The best way is to use a pump-up sprayer. Shake and then pour antiquating stain into the sprayer. Next, carefully apply the stain evenly over the concrete, covering all the crevices and indentations. After a minute, apply a second coat of stain, then allow this final coat to dry for 5-6 hours.
  4. Finally, apply an outdoor sealer. Solvent-based acrylic concrete sealer is a popular choice (CorrosioPedia)

What are the best staining options for a stamped concrete floor?

There are several staining options available. The two most popular options are acid stain and water-based concrete stain.

Acid stain

Acid stains were the first staining options for stamped concrete. The stain is a reactive coloring process that is the most permanent since it penetrates the porous concrete surface.

Acid stains chemically react with the concrete to create color, making it challenging to get the desired color. However, with eight coloring options that can be mixed and tweaked, you have plenty of options.

If you want to know how to make this type of floor stain yourself, I wrote a complete guide on how to do it with local and easy-to-find materials.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive to purchase
  • More durable than water-based concrete stain
  • Gives a timeless look
  • The stain can be used for indoor and exterior concrete

Cons:

  • Requires regular maintenance
  • Getting the desired color can be challenging
  • It needs to be neutralized before sealing
  • Requires careful care when handling

Water-based concrete stain

Water stains are a newer and non-reactive stamped concrete staining method. They are three types: solid color, semi-transparent, and acrylic. Water stains don’t react with the stamped concrete and only penetrate if the concrete is porous.

This option is a newer and more improved method of staining concrete; however, it is less durable than acid stains. To apply the water-based concrete stain, thorough cleaning is necessary for the best results.

Pros:

  • Nontoxic hence more user-friendly
  • More color options and you have an easier to get the desired color
  • Endless color effects

Cons:

  • Less durable in exterior application than acid stains
  • You must use a sealer
  • More expensive to purchase

How do you remove the color from stamped concrete?

The most common approach to removing color from stamped concrete is using chemical strippers. SFGATE informs that chemical strippers make for an easier process of removing color.

One chemical stripper is muriatic acid. Mix one part of the acid and forty parts of water, then spray the mixture on the concrete. It will chemically react with the color, unbinding it from the stamped concrete surface.

Mechanical processes to remove color include brushing, grinding, or blasting. These processes are more tedious and tend to damage the stamped concrete surface. Rather than only removing the color coating, you’ll usually leave scratches.

Another less popular approach is removing sealants and power washing the stamped concrete. This process encourages efflorescence, a process where white salt films form on the concrete. The white deposits remove the color from the concrete.

Can you redo stamped concrete?

If you are unhappy with the current shade of the stamped concrete, you can redo it to look new again. Recoloring is one step to making old concrete look new. You can also change the color of the stamped concrete.

Stamped concrete fades over time due to erosion and sunlight exposure. However, you can apply different stains, tints, or dyes to bring back the old shine.

Several color adjustment and correction options, including acid stains, tinted sealers, and water-based acrylic or solid-color stain, can help redo stamped concrete.

Can you color-stamped concrete after it dries?

If unsatisfied with the results, you can change the stamped concrete color after it dries. As discussed above, you can apply different types of stains, tints, or dyes to color-stamped concrete.

The level of color adjustment would require different products. For a minor color change, diluted acid strain is ideal. For medium pigmentation, string acid strain or tinted sealer can achieve the desired result.

An acrylic or solid-color stain will help if you desire a complete color change.

How much does it cost to recolor stamped concrete?

The cost of coloring stamped concrete varies significantly. According to howmuch, the average cost is $890 for a 500 sq.ft surface, including labor and material. However, the cost can be higher or lower depending on the state.

For instance, the cost to recolor stamped concrete is $1430 in New York and $827 in Denver (howmuch).

Conclusion

Naturally, stamped concrete fades due to various factors, including UV radiation and surface abrasion. However, there are ways to get the old shine back on the concrete. Water-based concrete staining is among the most popular and best approaches to recoloring dull stamped concrete.

References

https://www.corrosionpedia.com/definition/2462/solvent-based-acrylic-sealer#
https://www.rismedia.com/2021/07/13/how-to-protect-your-patio-from-sun-damage/
https://homeguides.sfgate.com/fix-stamped-concrete-dark-100901.html
https://howmuch.net/costs/staining-concrete-install

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