Concrete floors are not only functional but can also enhance the aesthetics of a space. However, issues like fouling, spalling, cracking, and mold can detract from their appearance and functionality. In such cases, rather than tearing up the entire floor and starting from scratch, you can consider applying a concrete overlay. Whether you want to trim your countertops or revamp your floors, this article will guide you through the process.
Tools for Applying Concrete Overlay
There are two main tools commonly used for applying concrete overlay. The first is a standard float with oval ends and a flat or slightly rounded middle section. This tool allows you to spread thin layers of concrete evenly over a wide surface area. Another option is a trapezoidal spatula, also known as a “magic trowel” or knockout knife. The flexible blade of this tool requires some skill to handle effectively. The choice between these tools depends on the desired finish.
Prepping for Applying Your Concrete Overlay
Before applying the concrete overlay, it is crucial to clean the existing floor thoroughly. Start by using a suitable cleaner and a push broom to remove any dirt or debris. Then, pressure wash the concrete to ensure a clean surface. To contour the existing floor, you can use acid specifically designed for concrete resurfacing or diluted hydrochloric acid. When using these chemicals, make sure to wear appropriate clothing, a respirator, and eye protection, especially if you’re applying a thin concrete overlay.
Consider using a concrete thickener to reduce the porosity of the existing concrete. Thickeners prevent moisture from seeping through the floor by filling in the pores and increasing surface density.
To achieve a better finished product, it is essential to touch up any large flaking or scaling areas. Fill these areas to ensure that the existing floor is as flat and smooth as possible. This step becomes even more critical when applying thin concrete overlays.
Using adhesives is debatable but may depend on the roughness or smoothness of the concrete you’re resurfacing. Rough surfaces generally do not require adhesives.
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Pour and Float the Concrete Overlay
Now comes the exciting part: pouring and applying the new concrete overlay. This can be done on various surfaces, including floors, sidewalks, or even countertops. Thinner decorative overlays may require a special primer or even two coats of primer due to the presence of resins or other additives.
Use a float, trowel, or concrete broom to level the wet concrete. Different tools yield different effects, so choose the one that suits your preferences and desired outcome.
When applying overlays, it is crucial to achieve a nice, even coat and ensure that the new layer reaches the corners and edges, completely covering the old surface. Failing to do so may result in an uneven look. Start at the edge and work back and forth inwards, progressing towards the area behind you. This approach prevents delays and optimizes material usage.
After the new concrete has set, sand or scrape the floor until it is smooth. A diamond disc or concrete scraper can help you achieve the desired level of smoothness. If multiple coats are involved, you may need to re-prime the surface before applying the final coat. When repairing driveways, sidewalks, or yards, finish the process by using a brush or similar tool to create a level surface.
To ensure the longevity of your newly resurfaced concrete, seal the surface using a suitable sealant.
By following these steps, you can give your concrete a fresh look without the need for a complete overhaul. If you’re a professional with additional overlay tips, feel free to share them in the comments section below or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!