How To Use Concrete Dye Powder
Direct Colors Concrete Dye is a topical dye used for smooth concrete surfaces such as floors, countertops, and similar applications. Concrete Dye is ideal for projects where fast drying time and ease of application is important.
Concrete Dye is an acetone-based, topical colorant. The acetone mixes with the coloring agent and bonds to the surface of the concrete. Concrete Dye provides a permanent vibrant color when properly sealed and maintained with a high quality concrete sealer.
Concrete Dye can also be used in conjunction with Concrete Acid Stain to enhance color and texture. Concrete Dye is an excellent choice for concrete flooring, countertops, secondary accents on tinted concrete sealer and acid stain finishes, stenciling, design work, and borders. For any concrete project in your home, Direct Colors Concrete Dye is the tool for you.
Surface Preparation for Concrete Dye
Surface preparation is one of the most important steps of the dyeing process. The concrete must be free of debris, dirt and oils, sealers, adhesives or anything that might prevent the color from bonding with your surface. Just because your project is indoors, doesn’t mean the surface is clean enough to work on.
Often, concrete surfaces inside a home will have dry wall mud, paint, wood stains, tile adhesives, carpet adhesives, grease, pet stains or other contaminants. Use Bean-e-Do, for removing carpet or tile adhesive and Soy Gel Professional Paint Stripper to remove epoxy, sealers, varnish or paint stains.
For the complete application instructions and more information on surface preparation products, check out our full guide here.
Soap and water or an Orange Degreaser can be used to remove stubborn dirt or similar stains from your floor or countertop. Use an organic degreaser at a medium concentration, scrub the surface thoroughly with a nylon brush and rinse with clear water. For a project where water run-off is not possible, use a shop vacuum, mop and/or squeegee to contain the water and speed up the drying process.
The floor should be completely dry before beginning the coloring process. Concrete Dye will cover up some minor imperfections, but to ensure a consistent color, you will want your concrete as clean as possible. Concrete Dye performs best on hand-troweled or relatively smooth surfaces.
For best results, apply a thin layer of Direct Colors Acrylic Water-Based Sealer to the surface prior to applying the Concrete Dye. Because the dye particles are finely milled, most surfaces, especially porous and exterior concrete, should be sealed first before applying the dye. If the concrete has been ground or has a rougher texture, a second coat of sealer may be necessary.
Mixing Concrete Dye
For every gallon of Concrete Dye, you will need one gallon of acetone. Acetone is easily found at your local hardware store. If you aren’t sure, call ahead and ask if they have some in stock or to order it for you.
Empty the dye packet into the acetone, tightly seal the lid and vigorously shake for at least one (1) minute, turning the container side to side and upside down until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Do not mix the Concrete Dye and acetone in the sprayer or any type of electrical mixer. Allow the concrete dye solution to settle for a minimum of 1 hour before applying.
Applying the Concrete Dye too soon can result in color inconsistency, lumping, and other significant mixture or spraying problems. After at least one hour, pour the solution into the acetone sprayer and apply. Shake the remaining solution each time before refilling the sprayer. Periodically shake the solution in the sprayer while applying.
Applying Concrete Dye
While applying the Concrete Dye, your safety should be your number one concern. Remember to extinguish all pilot lights before use and do not smoke during the application. Use goggles and gloves while working Concrete Dye. Air pressure is essential to a successful concrete dye application. Pump up the sprayer to the highest point possible. The concrete dye should spray as a mist and not in the form of droplets. If the sprayer begins to drip and dye droplets form, stop and pump up the sprayer again. Frequently pumping the sprayer to maintain consistently high pressure will produce the best application results. Clean the pump sprayer with acetone and store for reuse.
IMPORTANT: Standard pump-up deck and fence sprayers cannot be used to spray Direct Colors Concrete Dye. An acetone sprayer must be used for application of this product. 3-gallon or similar large acetone sprayers should never be carried by the pump handle while spraying. Most sprayers are bottom discharge units and any sediment will go directly into the strainers causing blockages. The sprayer should be carried by the strap at a 30 to 45 degree angle. Carefully read the acetone sprayer instruction booklet before proceeding with any application.
The appearance of the finished product is very much influenced by the manner in which the dye is applied. Shake the mixture in the sprayer frequently to ensure an even, consistent color during the application. The dye should be sprayed going right to left, then north to south. Try not to spray on too thick. The dye will dry almost instantly. The more layers you apply, the darker the color. Apply as thin a coat as possible to ensure color quality and appearance. Generally, 3 or more coats of dye should be sufficient for most applications, but additional dye can be applied to make the surface darker.
Do not let the dye pool up in any area. Mop up these spots with a disposable rag. Allow the Concrete Dye mixture to dry thoroughly. Carefully use a soft cloth or clean dust mop to remove excess colorant or surface residue from the application before sealing.
Sealing the Surface
For best results, seal the concrete immediately after cleaning. Remove shoes and work in sock feet when stepping on dyed surfaces. Direct Colors Water-Based Sealers are preferred for use with Concrete Dye. As Concrete Dye is an indoor product, Water-Based Sealers give off zero odor, unlike their Solvent-Based counterparts.
Both Water-Based Satin Finish and High Gloss Sealers can be sprayed from a pump-up deck sprayer or HVLP (High-Volume, Low-Pressure) sprayer. Water-based acrylic concrete sealer can also be applied using a ⅜ inch nap roller, a floor trim pad, or a floor coater. If you’re applying the sealer with a pump-up sprayer, backroll with a nap roller sized ⅜ inches or less to make sure the coats are as even as possible.