Curious about polishable concrete overlays? You’re not alone. The popularity of overlays has skyrocketed in recent years.
Still, if you want to invest in the long-term look and durability of your floor, it’s important to prepare your floor the right way. In some cases, that means pairing concrete overlays with polyaspartic coatings that will boost the aesthetics and the durability of your floor. In others, you may want to use polishable concrete overlays to dazzle onlookers.
Want to learn how to use polishable concrete overlays and polyaspartic coatings to transform your flooring? Read on for a complete breakdown of overlays and protective coatings.
Why Use Concrete Overlays?
With polishable concrete overlays, you can completely redefine the look, durability, and feel of your flooring. Here are a few benefits of concrete overlays.
Varied Color and Style Options
Interior designers will appreciate that polished concrete can be integrally colored with Colorfast or topically colored with Deso Dyes. The color of a floor can be a contemporary white, gray, or any color you choose. You can also design polished concrete to be seeded with different types of aggregate, including colored glass to further enhance its brilliant appearance.
Customers who choose a polishable concrete overlay have many design
options. You may want to simply cover a problem floor. Maybe you’ll decorate your floor with intricate stamps or with stencils and coloring. Solid, contemporary colors are always a popular choice. Other effects may be achieved using a colored aggregate, pigment powders, or decorative saw cuts and borders.
Regardless of your vision, the sky's the limit when it comes to color and design options.
Concrete Replacement Savings
No matter the floor's planned design or appearance, one of the greatest benefits of choosing a polishable concrete overlay is that it eliminates the need for replacing the existing concrete and pouring new cement. That all saves you time, effort, and money.
Polishable concrete overlays and polished concrete floors contribute to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) points, which makes them appealing for anyone who wants their building to be more efficient. Polished concrete can improve energy efficiency because the reflectance of a polished concrete floor decreases the need for artificial light, which lowers energy costs and your environmental impact.
With all of these benefits, it is no surprise that polishable concrete overlays are growing in popularity. More homeowners, building managers, and commercial property owners are embracing the durability, versatility, and beauty of polished concrete flooring over carpet, wood, tile, or laminate. This is especially true in urban and upscale areas.
What Types of Concrete Overlays Are Out There?
Before you start picking out that perfect concrete overlay, it is important to understand the choices you have at your disposal. Here are a few types of polishable concrete overlays.
Have an old or worn out concrete floor that you want to breathe new life into? Microtoppings are up to the task. Sometimes called “skim coats,” these coatings are thin but effective polishes. They produce a concrete surface that’s both durable and versatile. In most instances, you can choose the coarseness and texture of the coating.
Microtops are a cost-effective way to reinforce concrete surfaces, and they can give you an initial canvas to lay out even more elaborate designs. Self-Leveling Overlays
Here’s one scenario driving a need for self-leveling overlays: Many property managers are removing their existing floor covering, such as VCT, ceramic tiles, or linoleum, and replacing them with polished concrete floors. Unfortunately, during the process of removing existing floor coverings, the concrete substrate morphs into a weathered surface with several patches of glue or tile mastic. The substrate may get damaged to such an extent that it can no longer be ground and polished.
Completely removing the existing concrete surface and replacing it with regular fresh concrete is not practical in high-rise buildings or commercial spaces where quick return to service is a major requirement. In such situations, a self-leveling polishable concrete overlay is an excellent solution.
Self-leveling concrete overlays generally provide a thicker layer of protection than microtops. True to the name, they level off on their own and leave you with a durable, polishable surface.
When to Use Decorative Concrete and a Polyaspartic Coating?
As an alternative to polishable concrete, you may also be considering pairing decorative concrete with a coating. If you decide to go this route, once you’ve designed the perfect concrete flooring, you’ll need to preserve it. Although there are many coating options out there, it’s worth starting out with polyaspartic coatings in mind if you’re designing a high-use space. Here are some ways polyaspartic coatings outperform other coating materials.
Low to Zero VOC
Because polyaspartic coatings generally have few or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the cure time tends to be much lower than other substances, and you can ensure better air quality in your space.
Strength, Flexibility, and Chemical Resistance
Its chemical properties protect flooring from wear, scratches, chemical attack, and stains. This quality of durability makes it a popular material for garage floors that are prone to gas, grease, and oil. It also transforms floors into reliable surfaces in restaurants, bars, and highly trafficked commercial spaces.
Reliable Concrete Preservation
If you’ve taken the time to design a stunning concrete floor, you’ll want its splendor to last. In high-traffic areas, such as restaurants, lobbies, and retail stores, an unprotected floor will wear down. Such a floor will also fade or lose its luster under heavy traffic. Polyaspartic protective coatings restore colors, reinforce your floor’s shine, and protect the surface from being tarnished.
How to Install and Preserve Polishable Concrete Overlays
Ready to install and preserve your polishable concrete overlays? Here are some simple steps to take.
1. Prep the Surface
Replacing worn concrete with a polishable concrete overlay requires the concrete surface be ground down, cleaned, and prepped.
2. Add a Primer
Next, apply a primer before spreading the overlay. Remember, installing polished overlay is much faster and more cost-effective than ripping out and replacing existing concrete.
3. Start Polishing
Once you’ve applied your overlay, it’s time to polish your concrete. Although your polishing technique will depend on your final desired look, you can complete the polishing process using standard polishing equipment. Want more detailed instructions on polishing? Here’s a video series that will walk you through the step-by-step process for installing a polished concrete floor using a Param 6000 overlay.
This guide should help you start designing a stunning, durable concrete floor. But you don’t have to begin your next project on your own. Have a question about a product or need help installing your polished concrete floor? Talk with one of our experts today.
Products Referenced in the Video Series for this Article:
Perdure E10 multipurpose epoxy primer, binder, sealer, body coat for concrete floors
Param 6000 polishable self-leveling concrete overlay
Hermetix Densifier densifier for polished concrete floors
Hermetix Protector protective finishing conditioner for polished concrete floors