How to dye concrete pavers

Written by duane craig
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Concrete pavers are excellent candidates for dying because they are most often porous and will accept an exterior dye well. According to Bob Harris, president of The Decorative Concrete Institute, dyes expand the colour palette and offer more vibrant colours for concrete including yellow, blue and purple. Dyes can be mixed where needed, and unlike paints, they will not crack, peel or chip, making them ideal candidates for use in harsher outdoor conditions.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Detergent
  • Bucket
  • Scrub brush
  • Sprayer with Viton seals (acetone sprayer)
  • Concrete dye
  • Acetone
  • Disposable rags
  • UV-resistant concrete sealer

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Thoroughly clean a test paver by using the detergent mixed with water according to manufacturer’s recommendations and the scrub brush. Remove all dirt, oil and other contaminants. Rinse well and allow to dry thoroughly.

  2. 2

    Protect areas surrounding the point of application by putting down plastic or dust sheets. Be sure to protect nearby plants by covering them.

  3. 3

    Test the product on one paver by mixing the manufacturer’s recommended amount of dye with 1 quart of acetone in the sprayer.

  4. 4

    Blend the mixture by shaking for 30 seconds.

  5. 5

    Wait three hours, then shake the sprayer briefly again.

  6. 6

    Apply the product by holding the spray tip about 24 inches from the paver. Spray from left to right followed by up and down, or use a circular motion to achieve even coverage. The dye dries almost instantly, and the more you apply, the deeper the colour becomes. Do not allow the dye to puddle. Mop up puddles with a rag.

  7. 7

    Stop when you have reached the desired colour. If the colour does not adhere, or your results are not satisfactory, dying the pavers may not be an option. Otherwise go on to the next step.

  8. 8

    Clean all pavers following the same process used in Step 1.

  9. 9

    Use the remaining test batch and note how many pavers the mixture covers.

  10. 10

    Mix a new batch of stain with acetone, if necessary, making an amount based upon the coverage noted from the test batch.

  11. 11

    Apply the concrete sealer according to manufacturer’s instructions once the pavers are completely dry.

Tips and warnings

  • Acetone is flammable, so do not use any type of electrical mixer and do not smoke.
  • Observe all acetone warnings on the container.
  • Wear safety goggles and gloves when working with these products.

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