Lee Baldwin, Product Development Manager at Sika, is introducing coloured concrete, which will give the drab-looking material a new lease of life in terms of its usage. From industrial units to art installations, coloured concrete has become a go-to solution for designers and those who want their structures to look good, as well as last.
Sika has been a leader in the development of the pigment that has allowed concrete structures to look differently for the past 15 years. To achieve a coloured concrete, it is necessary to add liquid or powder-form pigmented metal oxides, mainly iron oxide, to a concrete mix. The dosage is normally 0.5 – 5.0% of the cement weight and higher dosages do not enhance the colour intensity but may adversely affect the concrete quality. At Sika, primary colours are available, including yellow, red, black, and white, which can then be mixed to create a spectrum of shades.
Now that coloured concrete exists, there are no more limitations to how and where it can be used. It can be blended in with its environment or designed to stand out. A good example of pigmented concrete’s harmonious capabilities can be seen at Payers Park, Folkestone where it was used in the formation of sandstone-coloured steps as part of a recent Sika-based project. Other projects that will use the Sika Concrete Coloured range include specification at the new Concorde Museum in Bristol, where it will be used to create dark grey flooring, as well as being the colourful base for a skate park.
Pigmented concrete can not only be used in commercial projects, but also as a domestic installation. It is durable and requires little to no maintenance, which made it a solid alternative to tarmac. If used in kitchens, the coloured concrete created hard, marble-like flooring and chips and minor damaging to it does not affect its look. Pigmentation has added a new flexibility to concrete, this most unyielding of materials. Its grey days are over and a brighter, more colourful new era awaits.