Hardener vs. Integral Colour for Stamped and Coloured Concrete Driveways

Shane Coloured Concrete 0 Comments

Choosing between hardeners or integral colouring can mean the difference between a plain looking coloured driveway or one which we can be proud of.  Stamping coloured concrete driveways can sometimes be a challenge when installers can’t decide which to use either integral colouring techniques or colour hardeners. Either of these ways have their own merits and drawbacks, or here we will discuss both as well as the average expense, installation tips and how long it will last for our colour through concrete driveway project.

Colour Hardeners for a Colour Through Concrete Driveway

Colour through concrete driveways with a colour-hardener has been done before in many industrial uses like large driveways for warehouses. For these applications, concreters saw that because of heavy vehicular and foot traffic, the strength of the flooring has to be on the exterior the most.

Hardener made up of cement along with metal-based aggregates.  Colour hardener developed when the metallic aggregate materials were substituted by mineral aggregates and by adding iron-oxide pigment paired with copyrighted wetting agents. The colour-hardener is dispersed over or merely doled out over the concrete driveway which is still cheese like and moist. This hardener gets wet itself and is then in effect floated onto the concrete driveway using a wood or magnesium float device. Then the colour thru concrete driveway is stamped and a surface a sealer is also doled out with a fresnos or steel trowels as needed.

The primary advantage of colour hardener for a colour thru concrete driveway is its ability to last so long. The colour-hardener becomes a layer which can reach an 8th of an inch in thickness and possesses a compression level of 8,000 psi and that is 2 times stronger than the concrete base on the bottom. This exterior layer has higher strength levels and is resistant to abrasion than a plain concrete driveway; the exterior is also not as porous, inhibiting water damage, salts, and other substances which can cause flaking or fading.

Colour hardener is also less expensive. Average costs are approximately 15 to 40 cents per square foot based on the colour and the coverage speed. However, we must also think about the cost of labor for using it for a colour thru concrete driveway project. At least 6 working hours are needed to distribute the colour-hardener on about 500 square feet of concrete surface. Most of the working hours are only wasted when installers need to cure the concrete driveway properly, although labor costs are usually not too high.

Two of the biggest disadvantages of colour hardener for a colour thru concrete driveway are the messiness and also the possibility of crusting on the exterior. The debris can be managed by covering the whole driveway location with plastic sheeting. All crusting happens when there is a low humidity level and the outside is very windy. It can also happen that the presence of both can be intense enough that it can inhibit the usage of colour-hardeners. If installers experience these conditions, they may use evaporation retardant substances can prolong the moisture in the concrete driveway.  There are other possible ways to solve a problem like this, but that’s for another article.

Integral Colouring for Concrete Driveway Colours

Now concrete driveway colours via integral pigmentation is a mixture of artificial iron-oxide pigment and wet surface-active agents. Integral colour is accessible in 3 average forms which are powdered base, liquid and as colour grains. Commonly used are powder and liquid forms and when either of these is blended with cement at various loadings, it can attain colour depending on how thick the colored concrete driveway slab can be.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.