Does Concrete Lighten or Change Color as It Dries?

Did you know concrete was perfected by the Romans? Historians claim that concrete was naturally formed in Israel 12 million years ago.

Egyptians built their famous pyramids with concrete and other structures, but the flawless mixture of concrete was generated by the Romans.

Their famous unsupported concrete structure Pantheon, which is situated in Rome, was built in 120 AD and still standing tall.

Concrete is a simple mixture of cement, pebbles, and water. It is the basic ingredient of modern-day structures which is used widely and in every corner of the world.

And as it is as common as anything else around us, there seems to be the concern of the color changing factor for concrete. Let’s dig in deep to know more.

Does concrete lighten or change color as it dries?

Concrete gets lightened as it dries. There is a possibility that the concrete structure might look darker if the base of the concrete is wet or if there is any direct water supply. It takes 28 days for the concrete structures to dry. Poor mixtures, unprotected structures will get discolored.

The color of the concrete depends on how hydrated it is. Concrete is the mixture of sand, cement, and smashed stones.

After water, concrete is the second most used man-made substance in the world. Newly-made concrete structures are usually darker at first. As the structure dries, it gets lighter.

Different types of concrete exist in the world. Mostly the Colored Concrete and Stamped concrete are used. Color concrete is also known as decorative concrete. To make the concrete color last longer, manufacturers use iron oxide pigments.

Whereas Stamped Concrete is called textured or imprinted concrete. Different varieties of patterns are used in stamped concrete. These concrete are used in pools, driveways, sidewalks. Stamped concrete is more famous for its low maintenance than any other concrete material.

Colored Concrete:

Fresh colored concrete gets lightened if not properly maintained. At least 30 days of curing is needed to get the best results. Manufacturers use a sealer to coat the mixture and protect the texture.

Colored concrete gets yellowish marks due to dust, dirt, and the environment. If the mixture is unprotected the surface of the concrete gets exposed by sand particles.

Stamped Concrete:

Stamped concrete gets light over time too. Regular maintenance is required to protect the texture of the stamped concrete. The stamped will begin to fade if it is not checked regularly.

Sealer is the best option for protecting the stamped concrete from getting light. Every 2 to 3 years sealers should be changed to get the best results.

How long does it take for concrete to lighten?

Concrete gets lightened in 28 days. The period depends on how wet the surface is. The procedure is a chemical process and not a physical one. It depends on some facts like environment, temperature.

Temperature is also a key part of lightening the concrete. If the temperature is raised to 10 degrees Celsius, it will take less time to lighten the color.  

What color is concrete naturally?

The natural color of concrete is light grey and the reason behind this is a substance called grey Portland is used to make the concrete mixture.

In the past, the natural color of the concrete was used. But as time went by and the demand for colored concrete increased, now mostly colored concrete is used.

How to lighten stamped concrete?

Lightening stamped concrete is not an easy task. Experts are required to get the best results. Stamped concrete is more complex than colored concrete. So fixing things by yourself will give devastating results. Certain steps need to be followed. They are:

 Active Part:

Basic Mixture:

At the beginning of the mixture when stamped concrete is being prepared, thin layers of colors can be used to get the required results. This is the basic way of giving the desired colors to the stamped concrete.

Avoid Sealer:

Sealer should not be used when the mixture is prepared and applying the acrylic stains of thin layers could be useful on the stamped concrete.

Power Washing:

There is also a way which is power washing the stamped concrete constantly to give it a natural and lighter look. 

Passive Part:

Scrubbing:

A chemical substance which is called color release powder or liquid which is used to lighten the stamped concrete only should be used.

To lighten the stamped concrete, scrubbing the chemical with a brush will lighten the stamped concrete.

Using Muriatic Acid:

If it still does not work, a mixture of forty (40) parts water to one (1) part muriatic acid could be sprayed to lighten the color.

Sunbelt Chemicals 1 Muriatic Acid

How do you fix new concrete discoloration?

New concrete discoloration can be caused mainly by hydration. Also, the dirt is trapped in the mixture of the concrete, and it comes up as balls or clumps. These create stains on the concrete, and it might be disastrous

Creating holes in the stains and clearing all the dirt. After clearing the dirt, a mixture of 1 part of Portland cement, 3 to 4 parts of sand, water with the mixture but not too much. Regular cleansing of the surface is also effective.

If discoloration is severe, a mild mixture of muriatic acid and water will fix the issue. Color staining will mildly clear the issue. Adding tint will hide the discolored part. Some severe cases will only be solved by a makeover for the discoloration.

Why is my new concrete so dark?

Concrete loses its natural color due to some basic mistakes if the mixture is not accurate, the concrete will start to get darker, and visible marks will be seen.

Apart from this, there are some additional reasons that the concrete might look darker. They are given below.

Hydration:

It is the most common cause that concrete gets dark. Too much water in the base mixture will make the surface look darker.

Addition of Calcium chloride:

In the concrete adding more portion of calcium chloride and less water will make the concrete dark. Using chloride chemicals will darken the concrete.

Inconsistent materials:

Without a perfect mixture, the concrete will get darkened. The mixture is not complex but if the percentage of any ingredient is mismatched, then it will be harmful to the concrete.

Weather:

Atmosphere can cause concrete to become dark. Areas, where the rate of evaporation is high, tends to create dark concrete.  

Using reusable substances:

The trend of using recycled products to create the mixture makes the concrete dark. “Go green: products look good at first. Eventually, it will create some stains on the concrete.

How to make cement look darker?

Sealing the concrete is the most effective way to make the cement look darker. For a glossy look, acrylic sealers that are thin can be used.

Other than these two ways, there are easy ways to make the cement look darker. There are some other effective ways, they are:

Using Different Samples:

Buy some bags of cement and create a few batches of samples of cement in small buckets and let it dry.

On the existing surface check which sample matches the color of the samples. Use the one that matches the surface with a layer.

Applying Topsoil:

Apply fresh topsoil over the new cement and use water to make it wet. Let the soil cover the cement and water it regularly. After some time, remove the soil with a shovel.

Scotts 0.75 cu. ft. Premium Topsoil

Adding Stains and colors:

In a bucket add some concrete stain and thin it with water. Check if the stain matches the cement. Add more water if the color does not match the cement.

How long does it take for concrete to turn white?

Concrete turning to white is the most important part of the concrete cycle. It is called the curing process. This is where chemicals mix with water and concrete strengthen. Extra care should be taken to get the best results.

It takes the mixture to turn white from two weeks to two months. Some factors play a role in this part, such as; weather, a mixture of the concrete, and pigmentation. If the process is not handled carefully the concrete will be discolored and stains will be visible.

Does sealer darken concrete?

Yes, Sealer darkens the concrete. Color saturation is also known as darkening concrete. Specifically solvent-based sealers. It will create several shades on the concrete.

Sealers are used to protect the color, but the concrete will get darkened if the mixtures are imbalanced. If the mixture is not applied evenly, it will make thin areas that will be visible.

Spraying on the concrete with sealer will leave stripe marks. Using a water-based sealer will not have any effect on the concrete.

Final Thoughts:

Concrete is the most low-cost material for building structures. And with time and cure, it gets lighter. It only lightens in color because of curing. But if you seem to notice the color change then it may be due to dirt or other materials on the concrete bedding.