What to do about faded retaining wall?

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circuit1

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I have a large retaining wall at the front of my house. It is constructed of 85lb burgundy decorative cement blocks. My problem is that some of the block have become faded over time and they are a real eye sore. They have a whitish tint to them now and really look old.

My question is do they make something to help return the color back to new, like a tint or dye that I could put on the surface to bring them back to life. Or will I be forced to replace the blocks with new ones. I have done a lot of searching but haven't been able to find an answer.

Can anyone please help me.:)

Thanks so much!!!
 

glennjanie

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Welcome Circut1:
Yes there is a concrete stain. You may find it at the ready-mixed concrete plant. It comes as a powder in bags to mix with water and apply. When it dries it is semi-permanent, reds are the worse color about fading in ultraviolet light.
Glenn
 

yesitsconcrete

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another possibility's pneumatically applying a polymer-modified cementitious coating to the wall including integral uv-resistant color.
 

Daryl in Nanoose

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First thing I would do is wash it down with muriatic acid and rince well with water. Take note of how they look when there wet and go from there.
 

mudmixer

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Stain is just a surface and a very temporary fix. Stains do not usually contain synthetic iron oxides, which are very permanent and very ultra violet resistant. Iron oxides come in yellows, reds, browns and black. They do not come in greens or blues. Blues and greens are either shortlived stains (cheap) or very expensive metallics (chrome, etc.).

It is very rare for the pigment in a concrete block to fade and the fading usually appears because the concrete itself gets lighter as it cures. Some colore are pron to fading because of the raw material - cheap carbon black is substituted for black iron oxide and dyes are used instead of oxides. Common dyes will fade and be suject to ultraviolet rays. Carbon black will just wear off, so you don't see it any more. Very often dark mortar will use carbon black, so it can fade.

Burgundy could be a color that can be difficult without the right aggregate. Because of this, and the fact you do not know what pigments (may contain blues or cheap blacks) were used and why it is fading, I would clean the wall well to see what you have as far are as clear color and unuformity. Soap may be better than acid unless the acid is very diluted.

Daryl's suggestion is the best. You don't want to throw on just anything without really looking at it.
 

BridgeMan

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Might be worth a trip down to your local (or nearest, if none local) masonry supply store. Most of them carry a number of different products for sealing and restoring concrete surfaces. And often the guys/gals who work there, if they've been in the business a while, are quite knowledgeable about what works best and under what conditions.

I'd be tempted to hit the wall with a few coats of Kure-N-Seal, but only after talking to a few experts in the business to make sure there won't be any surprises.
 

DIYGuide

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If there is no other alternatives, I would pressure wash the wall. Let dry, Get a concrete stain/sealer mixed to your color standard. Apply the stain with a sprayer. Applied Right, this should last many of years.
 

slownsteady

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Is it really a case of fading, or is there some material leaching from the concrete. I have seen this on Grinnell walls.
 

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