[Posted on July 2nd, 2013 by Ashley Aguirre]
When you think of concrete, do you picture dull, serviceable grey slabs that make up sidewalks and driveways? Certainly these are two great uses of concrete, but today’s techniques take this durable substance far beyond the old tried-and-true uses. Concrete overlay is now used in today’s homes as flooring, countertop material and even to create unique bathtubs. However, concrete used for interior purposes is rarely left in its raw, grey state; instead, overlays allow concrete masons to fashion beautiful surfaces that stand up to years of wear and tear.
Concrete Overlays: Attraction Meets Utility
Concrete is a durable building product, and for that reason almost anything made of concrete is destined to last for years. Combining that durability with an attractive appearance makes concrete overlay ideal for many home applications.
There are many concrete overlays that give different appearances and are suitable for different uses. A few of the most popular concrete overlays are:
Coating concrete with an epoxy mixture can create a colorful and attractive floor. Many garage designers now include epoxy coatings for these floors to make them look more a part of the home rather than a utility area, and epoxies are also used indoors for entryways and halls to resemble marble or other natural stone. Outdoors, epoxy coatings can create beautiful patios and terraces.
Stamped concrete has become a popular alternative to pavers or stones for driveways and walkways. Stamped overlays give many of the aesthetic benefits of stamped concrete but are easier to install. A recreation room, for example, can be given a stamped stone overlay on a concrete floor for a finished look like natural, dressed stone at less than half the cost of laying brick or stone on the floor. Stamped overlays are being used with increasing frequency as an alternative to tile flooring, particularly in areas where it is difficult to completely level the floor.
Polishing a colored concrete floor gives a dazzling finish, and this technique is being used frequently in retail and commercial settings where durability of flooring is of paramount importance. Homeowners can now enjoy the beauty and sustainability of polished concrete, as well. The high-gloss shine is extremely low maintenance, and polished concrete gives the rich look of terrazzo, stone or macadam without the cost of installation of these methods.
Colored Concrete Overlays
The variety of dyes, stains and other coloring agents that can be used with concrete is almost limitless. Some creative homeowners embed seashells or other objects in their concrete before overlaying a protective coating, and the truly artistic may “paint” a rug design into a large concrete flooring space. The options are truly limitless when dealing with colored concrete flooring applications.
While flooring is the obvious use for concrete, more and more homeowners are choosing to use this handy material for countertops. Most of the material used for flooring can also make great countertops for kitchens or bathrooms and the same finishing overlays can often be used.
Concrete overlays give homeowners a wide range of choices. With fantastic color, beautiful shine and the ability to use all sorts of materials to add to concrete’s natural beauty, concrete overlays are quickly becoming the preferred choice of homeowners everywhere.