Custom Colored Concrete

A Brief History

Pigment has been used to color cement and concrete for almost one hundred years. In the beginning, natural iron oxides were used to make basic Buffs and very light Reds. When synthetic Iron Oxides became more mainstream in the 1950's, the main pigment used was a Blue Shade Red Oxide to make a rather unattractive pink. Pink was a popular color in design at the time, so the fact that concrete was not grey was very cool and unique. But it was pink. This pigment is still made today but from a design point of view, it does not produce desirable shades of colored concrete.

After the pink phase, other colors like Tan, Beige and Buff became more popular. These shades basically use a blend of synthetic Yellow Iron Oxide shifted with small amounts of Red and Black Iron Oxide. To achieve Beige and Browns, more Black Iron Oxide was added into the formula. Charcoal also became a popular color. To this day, more than 90% of concrete and cement producers make these shades. We call these the day to day colors. Nice...but the world of color reaches far beyond these basic earth tone concrete color shades.

Blue is a favorite color to many people. Blue pigment is beginning to play a much larger role in the concrete and cement industry.
Blue pigment was rarely considered in concrete and cement because it was far too expensive. Project requests in Blue quickly became cost prohibitive when the Blue pigment dollar factor was added to the batch cost. We do it differently at Clarke. Our focus IS on Blue and THEN we add other pigments to the formula, resulting in substantially more economical batch costs. It is often thought that bright Handicap type shades of Blue are the reason to use Blue pigment. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Designer shades of Earth tone Blues which compliment the other architectural shades used in exterior design is one example of custom colored concrete. A specific example is blending shades of Brown Oxide to Blue to create attractive BlueStone shades.

Clarke uses over 28 prime pigments to create Custom Colored Concrete and cement. Whether matching a leaf, a paint chip or a vein in a piece of natural stone, Clarke can make the pigment to match as close as possible in concrete and cement.