[Posted on September 24th, 2013 by Ashley Aguirre]
What does a concrete overlay do for your home? Besides bringing beauty and an exotic touch to your floors or countertops, a concrete overlay also preserves your investment and gives you a product that will last for many years with proper care.
A concrete overlay is a treatment that is applied to the top of a layer of existing concrete in order to seal color or otherwise treat it. Overlays protect concrete and are, in general, much more cost-effective than replacing concrete driveways, patios or floors. There are several types of concrete overlays that each serve a different purpose. It is important to understand the benefits and limitations of each type of concrete overlay in order to use them properly in the home.
Epoxy Floor Coatings
Epoxy goes only 3/8-inch deep into concrete and is excellent for pigmenting to match pain colors. Epoxy floor coatings can be tinted to match almost any color or to achieve multi-colored patterns. Epoxy can also include additions such as chips of glass, pearl, or natural stone. Epoxy is extremely durable, so it is ideal for high-traffic areas. However, it is also difficult to apply and should be done by a professional.
Very thin layers of color can be added over existing concrete and then buffed to a high shine to simulate natural stone or other colors. Microtoppings are easier to apply than epoxies but do not give the same level of wear.
Poured out to a thickness of 1/4-inch and then spread evenly over a floor’s surface, self-leveling overlays are especially designed to correct minute flaws in the floor and to even the surface of damaged concrete, giving a uniform and perfect finish. These overlays are relatively easy to apply but the floor must be prepared correctly prior to application to ensure the right adhesion.
These overlays are simply sprayed onto concrete to provide a beautiful finish, but may also be troweled on with a “knock down” technique or splatter coated to produce textured results. Easy to install, professionals can quickly create almost any type of surface visual desired with spray-down overlays, although the finished product is not quite as durable as an epoxy or poured overlay.
For homeowners who want to create a bold visual statement with concrete, a stamped overlay is an ideal solution. Concrete is stamped to give the appearance of stone, brick or other textures and colored to highlight particular areas. The visual appeal of this process makes it ideal for outdoor applications such as driveways, patios or swimming pool bibs.
Polished overlays give a high-gloss shine and beautiful color to an existing floor while also hiding imperfections. Polished overlays are an economical alternative to replacing concrete floors.
With the help of concrete overlays, homeowners can refresh and refurbish old concrete or give an entirely new look to a room or outdoor area. Concrete overlays can help homeowners maximize their flooring, patio or countertop on a budget.