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Advantages of Integrally Colored Concrete vs. Topical Color

August 5, 2016

Take a moment and picture a concrete slab. Did you picture a gray block of material? It’s true that most concrete driveways, patios and walkways will stick with the traditional gray, but concrete can be so much more attractive and exciting when you add some color.

In order to color your concrete, you have two options: integrally colored concrete and topical color. Both of these will add the right aesthetics to your concrete, but they’re not created equal. If you really want the best color, you’re better off with integrally colored concrete vs topical color, and here’s why.

Consistent Look

Integrally colored concrete is mixed in with the concrete before it’s poured. Because of this, you will have the same color throughout the concrete. If you were to experience a chip, the same color would still show below. If you used a topical color, this color would only be found on the top layer of concrete. If you experienced a chip or crack, the gray concrete would show, and this would create an eyesore.

Since topical color needs to be applied after, there is also no way to guarantee that the color will be spread evenly over the entire slab. Because of this, it’s possible that you will end up with uneven color, and this can be very unattractive after the concrete has cured.

Less Mess

Since integrally colored concrete is mixed in with the concrete before being poured, it’s less messy. Nothing has to be done on site in order to achieve the desired color. Instead, it’s all done ahead of time at the plant. Topical color needs to be applied after the concrete is poured. This creates more dust and more of a mess at the jobsite, which makes for more cleanup.


Mixing the color in with the concrete first is much easier to do than applying a topical color after the concrete has been poured. After all, this is something that is done when the concrete is being mixed at the plant, so it’s not the responsibility of the contractor or homeowner. Topical color is applied manually once the concrete has been placed. This just adds another responsibility to the homeowner’s or contractor’s plate.

Opting for integrally colored concrete is a great choice for your concrete project. It provides you with a clean and consistent look, and it’s very easy to implement. Ozinga offers integrally colored concrete as an option. Download our decorative concrete guide to see how else we can add some excitement to your next concrete project.

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