Concrete overlay systems have gained in popularity over the past several years, due in part to not only the versatility, but also the durability and relatively inexpensive cost factor. Overlays can cover many different surfaces when that surface is properly prepared. The purpose of the overlay is to beautify the existing concrete or other surface, to make it look fresh and new.
Concrete overlays work well both indoors and out. Excellent for refreshing a patio, walkway, or pool deck, the overlay protects from harsh weather and environmental pollution when sealed every couple of years. An occasional pressure washing keeps it looking new.
Indoor overlays will give an entirely new, beautiful, and long-lasting look to tired flooring. Easy to care for, daily sweeping and a damp mop once in a while are all that’s required.
Whichever area you plan to overlay (indoors or out), there is a product made that’s just right. Keep in mind, if you plan to do the job yourself, that the surface to be covered must be prepared for the overlay. It should be as smooth, level, and blemish-free as possible. Any cracks or gouges must be expertly repaired in order for the finished overlay to look good and be trouble-free. Also, cracks and other damaged areas will require a much thicker application, which could lead to quicker than normal deterioration of the overlay.
There are several methods to apply an overlay as well as several different products used in any particular method. Doing the job yourself can be quite simple in many cases, but a little homework is needed. Always read the label! Some product requires a primer or bonding agent, some comes pre-mixed with only water added at the job site, and some must have a polymer added. Check with a local dealer familiar with the various products and methods; they will answer any questions and steer you in the right direction. The pourable, self-leveling method is easiest for most do-it-yourselfers and dries faster than the spray or trowel method of application.
If you’re wanting a truly unique finish, the multi-layer, polishable, spray, or stamped concrete method may better help achieve the look you’re going for. For any of these methods, unless you have experience in concrete overlay, using a reliable contractor is probably your best bet for a nice, longer-lasting finish.