Concrete Quality

I'm building steps in my backyard from a door down to a patio. Last week I poured footings using Quickcrete. That went fine but now the concrete is set and it looks unattractive -- deep dark grey and I want a lighter color. What quality should I go with to get a better appearance? Would using straight cement make a difference? I'm just a weekend do-it-yourselfer who's trying to get it done. Also, I'm hiring a contractor to do the finishing for me so I'm really just researching the quality issue.
Kevin
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I'm building steps in my backyard from a door down to a patio. Last week I

Concrete will lighten with time and loss of moisture. Freshly set, it will be dark gray for some time, especially if it is at ground level. Once the steps are built, above grade, they will fade out to a light gray over time. Straight cement will not set properly, will shrink and crack, and is used only as an adhesive or repair material. Quikrete in my experience sets to a medium to light gray, when used on steps. The contractor can also add earthtone colors to the slurry, if desired, to yield different effects. Roger
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"Roger" <sherryrogeratcomcastdotnet> wrote:

Ok, that sounds great. What you said about the color at ground level really makes sense because I've never seen it look that ugly before. Thanks for taking the time to help out.
Kevin
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pakdog writes:

Mix your own using white portland cement and gravel.
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pakdog wrote:

<snip>
Kevin
Higher strength concrete usually is whiter than the run of the mill type. When you're at the box store or whatever, read the labels on the QuickCrete. 4500PSI will be lighter than 3000PSI, for example. Some old time ready-mix suppliers used to deliver mix based on the number of bags in a yard, i.e., 5 1/2 bag mix was deemed very good and was a lighter shade cured than lesser grades. HTH
Joe
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Most exterior flatwork and curb work I've seen involves spraying the finished work with what looks like a very watery white paint before the concrete sets. That provides a white finish.
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Actually, that is likely a curing / sealing compound, and it will dry clear. Also, since it locks moisture into the concrete, it is likely to keep concrete DARKER for longer because it doesn't dry out as fast.
Most flatwork or curb work on streets is done with VERY rich concrete, possibly more than a 6 bag mix, which will get very light when it sets.
JK
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What you see is pigmented curing compound, it has nothing to do with the finish color of the concrete. I have noticed though that slabs rained upon on the first day they are poured are remarkably white. This whiteness stays for many years. I can still show you sections of parking lot pours that are substantially lighter due to the rain. I've always wondered the cause.
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