Decisions, Decisions: Concrete Color Edition

There are just two things standing in the way of getting the siding on our house now. One of them is a complete lack of time in which to accomplish that task, and the second is a complete lack of concrete pads on the porches. Since, you know, siding starts from the bottom up, so we need to have the floor in place first.

However, that dear, dear man I live with got the ball rolling on the concrete pads big time today, and we’re just a few pieces of lumber shy of being ready to pour the mud. Which means I’ve got a decision to make in the next, oh, 24 hours or so.



The floor in the Station is colored, stamped concrete and it turned out beautifully so we’re also planning on coloring and stamping the concrete on the porches. The question is… what color?

The house, if you recall, is going to be a lovely shade of gray/green called Gloucester Sage.


If I can ever sort out the great cedar beam fiasco of 2010, the wood on the porch railings and deck will look like the wood on the door. And the the foundation will be covered with a cultured stone, I’m thinking similar to the Aspen Country Ledgestone from Owens Corning.

I like a mix of grays and browns without fully committing to either color, which was how I picked out the roof color.

The question is, should the concrete pads lean more towards the gray, or more towards the brown?

Here are the colors I’ve narrowed it down to. Kind of.

Here’s a quick note on concrete colors, since I used to be in the business. There are a few ways to color concrete… you can pour it standard gray and then stain it once it’s cured, you can mix an “integral” color into the wet concrete before it’s poured (which will color the concrete all the way through), and you can sprinkle a colored “release” onto the concrete after it is poured but before it is cured, which gives a more textured look.

We did a buff integral color with a walnut release for the station floor, and it looks like this…

I really like the color, but it’s way more brown that I’d like for the porch pads.


Something like the “smoke hardener with walnut release” in the upper right of the samples really appeals to me on paper, but I’m thinking maybe I should go a bit more gray to make sure I don’t end up too brown… something like the “pampas grass integral with colina tan release” in the lower left?

Or should I stay away from the browns and tans and just go with something like the “gator integral with deep charcoal release”?

As you can see, the possibilities are endless.

You all gave me some great things to think about with my fireplace decision (we are going with the direct vent gas insert, I believe) so I’m totally interested in your opinion… any of these colors strike you as being the one?

7 Responses

  1. I personally would be going a darker Grey slate like color perhaps the darkest grey in the cultured stone. Your roof siding and stone colors are great however you don’t want all the planes ( horizontal and vertical) to be to “matchy-matchy” then you are going to end up with something extremely monotone and flat looking before to long.

    But again mater of preference.

  2. Don’t go too light or too dark. Yeah, I know sounds simple and sorta stupid but hear me out. Going either way will show every wet/slightly dirty wet footprint.

    We have a 1928 bungalow with a painted porch floor. The first shade of gray that I choose was not quite as dark as steel gray. Every single wet foot step showed. I live near Buffalo, NY where it snows. Sometimes alot. There are always wet shoes going across.Do you know how hard it is to wash a porch floor when it’s 10 degrees outside? Yeah not gonna happen. Two shades lighted and most (most) of the footprints don’t show.

    Something to chew on as you make your decision.

  3. Do you plan on using salt on them in the winter time? How do these color treatments hold up to salt? Our friends had some nice stained and stamped concrete walkways put in but the stain color was completely destroyed by the salt they used on them. I’ve heard the through color doesn’t do this but I’m not sure about the release.

    Anyway, I like “smoke hardener with walnut release” the best. But if the cultured stone is going to be right next to the concrete I would lean toward “gator integral with deep charcoal release” because I think it would create a better contrast with the stone. With brown doors, mostly brown roof, brown rock, and brown…(actually red, LOL) beams you don’t want too much brown. I think the gator color will bring out the color of some of the gray rock.


  4. Agree with Dave. Use the grey colors to pick up those shades in roof and foundation stone. Otherwise you will end up with matching colors while complimenting one another on paper, will look completely washed out on the house.

  5. This is really hard. I found those samples to be so overwhelming the only thing I’ve been able to do on my renovation this week is buy new work gloves. 🙂 I’ve gone back and forth on different theories about parallel plains matching vs. contrasting, and extending interior floor color outside to make a cohesive space, and scrolled back and forth through the samples and the pictures of the house and the stone, and this is what I came up with:

    The roof and the foundation stone both have mixtures of browns and grays that will complement anything you select. What you should focus on is finding something that provides a good contrast to the cedar door and railings AND the paint color you’ve selected.

    Your Gator idea would look great with the door, but another green tone may merge strangely with the house color and pull all the gray tones into reading more green. So I’m going with a lighter taupe color for my recommendation. Maybe the Harvest Wheat with a gray-toned release? It’ll be light and warm without competing with the cedar or the house color. It’ll highlight the paler tones in the foundation and the roof without drawing too much attention to them. At least this is my theory. You have to decide soon so I can stop worrying about this.

    1. Oh my god Nicole, I know right? This may be the worst/hardest decision yet.

      I had dreams (nightmares) about spreading release on concrete steps in front of an extra large fish tank last night, and no one was around to help me. I’m not sure what the significance of this is, other than that I’m completely losing it.

      MysteryMan is at the ready-mix plant at this very minute, and after three days of emergency concrete color conversations, I just told him to pick whatever he felt like. It will just be a surprise when we pour it.

      For a while I kept going back to the harvest wheat/walunt combo of our station floor and then swinging the other direction and wanting something gray to compliment the siding. And then my head almost exploded so I have to be done thinking about it now. lol. As do you!

      I’ll upload pics as soon as its done. Everyone, cross your fingers we don’t screw this up.

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