The Benefits of Using Concrete Overlays

Concrete overlays are a relatively new material that has been heavily used by the construction industry in the last twenty years. Developed to fix cracks on concrete surfaces, overlays are now being used for aesthetic reasons alone. Decorative concrete overlays can break up a monolithic stretch of concrete in a driveway or building exterior, while other homeowners use these products for counter tops and flooring.

While most concrete overlays are used over existing concrete, some can be used on wood as well. They are often preferred when other cosmetic treatments such as staining or painting are not feasible options, but the homeowner wants to keep the existing slab.

One of the most common reasons to pour concrete overlays is to prevent more damage to the existing surface. Concrete, although durable, is also porous, making it vulnerable to water damage. A poor mix can make the material more susceptible to damage, causing it to chip or flake. By using overlays, you can create a new surface while preventing further damage.

Most overlays are products made of cement, polymer resins, and aggregate. While cement and aggregate are common contents of any concrete mix, overlays have an added polymer resign to make the covering more flexible. Therefore, they are more likely to be able to resist chipping, cracking, or scuffing. They also can resist frost damage and water discoloration better than traditional products.

Lots of contractors will cast their own overlays, although some prefer to use a system from a manufacturer that sells overlays. Many manufacturers also sell recipes for overlays that specify the amount of resin, pigment, and concrete mix needed to create a nice surface. However, the easiest way to cast concrete overlays is to buy a mix that only requires water to work.

Mixing the products for overlays must be done carefully. The wrong ratio of products can create a solution that is unusable. A well-mixed batch should be able to be spread as thin as a 1/16 of an inch and be responsive to a wide variety of finishing techniques.

Before beginning, be aware that certain products are better for certain areas. The weather and climate can affect the products you buy to cast over the surface, so be sure you are buying the correct products for your area.

Before applying make sure to clean the surface as thoroughly as possible. You want the products to be able to adhere completely to the surface, so use a hand brush to remove any dirt. You should also make sure that the concrete is free of any oil, because that too can affect the bond.

Once the area is clean, mix and apply the product according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Depth and mixing instructions vary widely between products, so be sure that you are following the directions for your specific mix.

Concrete overlays are a simple way to protect eroding concrete from damage. These products are also an excellent solution when you would like to change the appearance of a surface. However, they can be time consuming to apply, so be sure to plan carefully or hire someone to do the job for you.

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