What You Need to Know About Plain and Colored Concrete

In this article, we’ll explore the different benefits of coloured concrete. Learn about the cost and maintenance of coloured concrete and subgrade preparation. It’s important to remember that both types of concrete have advantages and disadvantages. Here are some essential points to consider when making a decision.

Choosing between plain and coloured concrete

Neutral colours add a welcoming appearance and look particularly good on homes with clay roof tiles or Spanish-style exteriors.

Both plain and coloured concrete can enhance your home’s exterior. However, coloured concrete has different advantages over plain concrete. Concrete dyes are easy to apply, while concrete stains are prone to fading and losing colour over time. They are also more vivid and easier to manipulate, allowing you to choose a colour that best complements your home’s style. You can also use these to create polished concrete floors and pavers.

Although most concrete is grey in its natural state, it can be painted in various colours. In most cases, however, homeowners prefer earth tones for outdoor concrete because they blend with their homes’ landscape or the exterior. If you’re unsure which option is best for your home, a professional’s opinion may be helpful.

When choosing between plain and coloured concrete, be sure to check for the durability of the materials. Coloured concrete can fade over time, so choose a provider with durable mixes and hire an installer with extensive experience in finishing architectural concrete. To protect the surface from fading, apply a clear sealer regularly. Consider adding a decorative overlay if you’re looking for a durable and beautiful concrete surface. You may also choose coloured concrete solutions by Skyco Group to ensure that you will get the best results.

Subgrade preparation

It is also important to prepare the subgrade before pouring the concrete. A poorly prepared subgrade can ultimately sabotage the concrete project, so the preparation of the subgrade is a key factor in achieving the desired results. You should consult a professional engineer if you don’t feel confident enough to undertake the project yourself.

Prepare the subgrade by filling the holes with clean, dry soil. It will prevent any cracks and abrasions in the finished slab. The subgrade should be firm enough to support the weight of the concrete, and it can crack and crumble when it dries if it isn’t firm enough. For coloured concrete, check that the subgrade isn’t too soft by performing a proof-rolling test.

Make sure that the subgrade is level and compacted. It will prevent the concrete from settling. Formwork, whether plastic, wood, or metal, should be clean and stiff to hold its shape during the casting process. 


The costs of plain and coloured concrete vary greatly. However, there are some commonalities between them. All concretes contain a certain amount of colourants, either powder or liquid. While the price of coloured concrete is higher than plain concrete, the additional colour can dramatically change the appearance. 

Decorative concrete costs more than plain concrete. Decorative concrete can add 10 to 30% to the overall project cost. In addition to being more expensive, the process is much messier than using plain concrete. You may also end up with a messier surface after pouring the concrete. The cost of plain and coloured concrete will depend on the size of the area to be decorated.

If you are looking to improve the aesthetic appeal of your property, then coloured concrete can be a great option. The process can add colour to concrete and sealant, which adds about $0.50 to $0.75 per square foot. Depending on the desired colour, you may want to invest in a professional concrete stainer to add a custom colour to the mix. You can add a stain after pouring for a subtle, two-tone effect. Opt for a four or five-inch thick concrete for a more durable driveway.


Yearly cleaning will remove most dirt, stains, and other debris for a plain concrete finish. A weekly or monthly power washing is also helpful for loosening deeply settled debris. However, a power washing with a high PSI can cause damage to the aggregate surface. Another tip is to use a low-pressure stream of water for snow removal. It would help to avoid power washing for decorative concrete since high pressure can break down the sealant.

Despite its more affordable cost, plain concrete is still a durable, high-end finish if finished correctly. While it has higher maintenance requirements than coloured or stamped concrete, plain concrete still retains its beauty and lasts for years. However, the main difference between the two types of concrete is that coloured concrete requires more maintenance and colour hardeners. 

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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