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How to Create Iconic Playgrounds with Concrete – Part 3: Colored Topical Treatments

Colored topical treatment called MicroTop used at Swansea Park.

Colored topical treatments are a great way to add design to any concrete surface, and a perfect option for adding unique elements to playgrounds. At Colorado Hardscapes, we provide a variety of options, from color hardener to MicroTop to stains. Have a smaller budget? Want something super durable? Continue reading to find the topical treatment best for your playground project.

Colored Topical Treatment Option 1: Color Hardener

Johnson Habitat Park

Out of all three products, color hardener is the most durable. When considering durability, the ideal product will not fade from UV exposure or be “walked off”, color hardener does neither.

This is because we apply color hardener in powder form while the concrete underneath is still wet. This bonds it to the concrete slab and makes it extremely wear-resistant. Plus, it comes in a variety of colors, so you can really get creative with your design!

As for cost, color hardener is generally the least expensive option as the application happens during the placement of the concrete underneath. Keep in mind that this depends on the complexity of the design as well.

Colored Topical Treatment Option 2: MicroTop

A muliticolored splash pad Microtop - ST Concrete Overlay - Colorado Hardscapes
Promenade Shops at Centerra

MicroTop wins the “Brightest Color Award” of all three listed Colored Topical Treatments. Not only does it have a lot of pigment, but we can also apply it to existing concrete! In fact, concrete must cure for 30 days before applying MicroTop.

Durability you ask? MicroTop is the thickness of a credit card but can withstand the average amount of human traffic, making it a great option for playgrounds. Of course, this depends on the integrity of the bond which then depends on the preparation of the existing concrete. We always clean and etch the surface before applying the product to ensure the best results.

MicroTop is also a fantastic product to use with stencils, allowing for extremely detailed images on your playground in horizontal and vertical applications.

The cost of MicroTop is often the most expensive option of all three options but never fails to disappoint with its bright colors, detailed design potential, and versatility.

Colored Topical Treatment Option 3: Stains

Large school play space with sun dial Microtop - ST Concrete Overlay - Colorado Hardscapes
Sundial at Cordera

Utilizing stains is a great way to achieve super-pigmented patterns on your playground. We can apply it to both new and existing concrete in a variety of vibrant colors. Although perfect for patterns and simple designs, you should be aware that stains bleed when stencil-applied.

Unfortunately, stains are also the least durable when it comes to both UV exposure and traffic. Depending on the colors, stains will start to fade within the first year and will continue to do so over time unless reapplied.

On the other hand, the cost of stains is often the least expensive option! So, if you’re looking to add colorful patterns to your playground on a budget, stains are the way to go.

If anything, know this…

Douglas County Park

Playgrounds are meant to be colorful, we can help you incorporate that into your design. Colored Topical Treatments are the perfect material for creating something unique that will stand the test of time. Get in touch with our professionals to get started on your project today! We’d love to show you around our Design Center so you can get a better idea of the possibilities of decorative concrete.

Colorado Hardscapes

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