We sat down with Ken Lazenby with Ken’s Custom Designs based in Krebs, OK to talk about how he creates marble effects on concrete countertops. Learn how he makes builds and creates his concrete countertops.

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You’re listening to LISTEN.DIRECTCOLORS.COM podcast episode number 28, How Do I Get Brilliant White Concrete?  If this is your first time listening, then thanks for listening.  I’m Tommy Carter, Sales Manager and Technician with Direct Colors. We receive a lot of requests for white concrete countertops. White is a popular color for kitchen tops as well as bathroom vanities but it’s not always easy find the materials you need to make a truly white countertop. Direct Color’s General Manager talks about how to get the most brilliant white color for your indoor and outdoor concrete projects! Thanks for joining us today, Shawna.

ST:  Thank you.

TC:  So, why is it so difficult to get a white concrete color?

ST:  In order to get a brilliant white color, you’ll need to begin with either a white concrete countertop mix or concrete overlay. Unfortunately, white concrete mixes are often hard if not impossible to find locally. Often, gray Portland concrete mixes are all customers can find in their area. At best, gray concrete mixes will yield an ashen gray or light gray color even when a white concrete pigment has been added.

Direct Colors does offer both a white countertop mix and concrete overlay if you’re refinishing an existing countertop. We do recommend adding our TiO2 White Concrete Pigment to the mix for the most brilliant white finish possible.

TC:  Just to be clear, can a customer use a gray countertop mix and get a white color?

ST:  No, a truly white color can only be achieved using a concrete mix containing white Portland cement. As I mentioned, white concrete pigment can be added to gray concrete mix to create an ashen color (Ash TiO2-5lb.) but not a white (Pearl TiO2-5lb). Our TiO2 White Concrete Pigment is a powdered pigment and should be mixed into the either the countertop mix or overlay prior to applying.

White Concrete Pigment Colors

White Concrete Pigment Colors

TC:  What options do our customers have for making an existing countertop white?

ST:  Well, they have quite a few options for both indoor and outdoor projects. For an existing gray concrete countertop, for example, I’d recommend trying our white tinted concrete sealer. If they prefer a more solid look, this might be the fastest and least expensive option. Once the tinted sealer has been applied, topcoat the countertop with either a polyurethane or epoxy finish for best results. Keep in mind that epoxy would not be an option for an outdoor project.

Now, if they’re interested in a little metallic shimmer, they consider adding a Pearl metallic pigment in the epoxy countertop sealer for an extra a touch of class. It’s our most popular color on bathroom vanities. We offer complete kits for countertops including each of the products mentioned as well.

TC: Sounds great. We have several photos of countertops finished with a metallic epoxy on our website, don’t we?

ST: That’s correct. In the Direct Colors Concrete Countertop Photo Gallery.

TC:  What about refinishing a Formica countertop?

ST:  That’s by far the easiest and most affordable way to get a white kitchen countertop if you are starting with Formica. Direct Colors offers a white concrete overlay. TiO2 white concrete pigment color packs can also be added to overlay for a brilliant white finish. For our DIY customer, we have several how-to videos available for preparing, overlaying and sealing countertops that demonstrate the technique and products.

TC: Finally, what about sealers. What’s the best sealer for white concrete countertops?

We encourage customers with white countertops to apply a polyurethane sealer for greater durability, chemical and stain resistance. Direct Colors offers High GlossGlossy and Matte polyurethane sealer options for indoor or outdoor countertops. If using an epoxy, keep in mind that the sealer will yellow over time when exposed to direct sunlight. Epoxy countertop sealers should never be used outdoors but should be used with caution on indoor white countertops where direct sunlight might be an issue.

TC: Thanks for all that information. We hope this podcast will help customers find the products they need for white countertops and other concrete projects. LISTEN.DIRECTCOLORS.COM DIY Home Improvement podcasts are produced twice monthly for your enjoyment and show notes can be found at LISTEN.DIRECTCOLORS.COM. Feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed.  You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram. I’m Tommy Carter and thanks again for joining us!

Concrete pigments can be used for a lot more than just slabs. Our customers buy Direct Colors pigments for everything from decorative planters to warehouse slabs and just about everything in between. With more on the many uses for DIY concrete pigment is Shawna Turner, General Manager, with Direct Colors. Welcome, Shawna.

Shawna:  Thank you very much

Lisa: So let’s have it. What’s the most popular use for concrete pigment?

ST:  Without a doubt, it’s concrete slabs of every kind. If you’re just looking for a solid, rich color in your concrete nothing better than concrete pigment. It’s a stress-free color option and really the only thing the home or business owner has to do is seal the concrete after 30 days curing time. Integrally colored concrete is very popular for outdoor concrete, especially stamped concrete, but it’s increasingly popular for interior floors as well because it’s cost effective, easy and low maintenance.

Lisa: Please explain the difference between concrete pigment and integral color. Is it the same thing?

ST: Yes, it is but I can see were the terms might be confusing. Concrete pigment is a powdered pigment added to concrete prior to pouring to integrally color or color the concrete throughout. Because the concrete is integrally colored, the color is still visible even if the surface is damaged or chipped. The color really is permanent though it can fade somewhat overtime if not properly sealed.

Lisa: What are some other popular options for concrete pigment?

ST: I think concrete countertops are probably our second most popular project. Customers choose concrete pigment for countertops for the same reason as floors – easy to use, consistent color and good selections of color options. Pigment can be used in either a poured concrete countertop or in our concrete overlay. Our most popular concrete countertop color is by far our 15.4 Premium Blue Pigment followed by the 230 Black pigment. People really love their blue and black countertops.

Lisa: Can you use pigment for grout, mortar or other finishing materials?

ST: Sure. We get a lot of calls for custom grout colors in particular but concrete pigment can be used with any cement-based material. Stucco is also very popular. We offer a wider color selection than can be found at most big-box stores and we sell direct to the public. It’s difficult for DIYer’s looking for smaller pigment quantities to find affordable products locally or online. We have three varieties of blue concrete pigment for sale on our website, www.directcolors.com, which is a challenging color to find generally.

Lisa: Is there anything special about Direct Colors pigments that sets them apart from other products on the market?

ST: Why of course! Seriously though, it is important to choose pigments according to their use. Our pigments are UV stable and chemically inert so they can be used outdoors as well as with many different cement-based materials. Pigments that are not UV resistant will fade and deteriorate with exposure to sunlight. Because our pigments are non-reactive, they can be safely added to integrally color most any cement-based material. Keep in mind that all outdoor projects should be sealed with a quality concrete sealer and most indoor projects. Sealing protects the surface from undesirable staining, makes clean up easier and darkens the concrete color overall.

We use the same pigments in our Liquid Colored Antique and Tinted Concrete Sealers so each product can be used outdoors and if well maintained over time, the color will not fade with exposure to sunlight.

Lisa: Thank you, Shawna, for the information about what projects concrete pigment can be used for. Here are few blogs post on the subject from our website, www.directcolors.comColor Stucco and Plaster with DCI Concrete Pigments, Top 10 Uses for Professional and DIY Concrete Pigment and Integral Color and Concrete Pigment for Tile Grout Color and More. A little something for everyone.

Lisa: Listen.directcolors.com includes podcasts on many decorative concrete topics so visit our podcast library, including Episode 19: Calculating Pigment for Coloring Grout, Stucco, Mortar and Plaster and check back frequently to see what’s new in the world of DIY decorative concrete! Thank you for listening.

Lisa: The LISTEN.DIRECTCOLORS.COM podcast is produced twice monthly for your enjoyment and show notes can be found at LISTEN.DIRECTCOLORS.COM. Come back often and feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed.  You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instragram. All links are in the show notes. I’m Lisa Bickel and thank you for joining us!

We often receive questions about how to fix or hide carpet tack holes. We sat down with Direct Colors General Manager, Shawna Turner to figure out how to address this issue.

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