How to Liven Up Your Concrete with Pattern and Color

How to Liven Up Your Concrete with Pattern and Color featured image

February 20, 2019 / by Gregg Cantor / In Home Remodeling

This post comes from the team at Port Aggregates, Inc.

Plain old grey concrete is certainly no longer in style. From kitchen counters to backyard patios, lobbies and foyers, modern day concrete typically sports unique patterns and designs or bright colors to fit a certain aesthetic.

Most decorative concrete techniques can be applied to concrete that’s already dried. Because of this, decorating your existing concrete is a good way to renovate your home in a cost-effective way. In addition, the price of patterned or colored concrete is much cheaper than paver tile or stone.


There are several methods that can be used to enhance your concrete with geometric patterns or patterns that imitate specific shapes. The most popular methods that concrete contractors use are engraving, scoring, and stamping.

Overlays and Engravings

Overlaying and engraving concrete creates the same effect but with different techniques. Concrete finishers can engrave extravagant images into concrete like patterns, logos, or monograms using special tools. While it is not mandatory for this method, a sealant can also be used in this process and staining can add color.

concrete overlays and engravings

The overlay technique is performed by adding lettering, intricate images, or other designs as a polymer layer to the concrete, then sealing it. This method may wear more easily due to the fact that it is not carved directly into the concrete, and the sealant bond can break.


This method is quite easy and involves contractors laying down chalk outlines of pattern on concrete that has dried, and scoring it into the concrete with a circular saw. It’s important to use an experienced contractor for this method in order to guarantee that the pattern is cut at an even depth and laid out perfectly with professional equipment. This technique is meant for simple curves and straight lines only.

concrete scoring


Instead of emptying your wallet buying stone pavers of trying to lay out and design tile brick patterns, stamping your surface can create a near-identical look at a cheaper price. Using a coloring technique with this method allows concrete stamping to mimic several tile and stone surfaces.


Over the years, concrete enhanced with color has become more and more common in both exterior and interior design. The three most frequently used techniques for adding color to existing/dry concrete and new concrete are dyes, stains, and colored epoxy finishes.


In order to do their job, dyes rely on the porous nature of concrete, and are either solvent-based or water-based. This technique is more efficient for indoor use due to the fact that over time, UV rays can change color. One downside to the dye method is its drying and absorption speed, leaving little room for error. Because of this, you should hire a concrete contractor instead of trying to do this yourself.


Rather than relying on the porous nature of concrete to work, stains are dependent upon a chemical reaction, and are less uniform in color. There are two types of concrete stains–acid-based and water-based. Water-based stains may require more than one coat in order to deepen the color. Acid-based stains have fewer color options, and work by reacting to the concrete’s ingredients.

stained concrete finish

Colored Epoxy Finishes

Matte or glossy finishes from metallic and resin materials add a decorative, thin coating to dry concrete. Mimicking different metals and stones, epoxy finishes can soften the harsh appearance of concrete and add to the implied aesthetic of your interior design.

colored epoxy concrete finished

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