Navigating the Wide Selection of Polymer Overlays Over Concrete Substrates
While cement-based overlays have been around for decades, many of the systems widely available today blend polymer resins with cement, sand and other additives to create a highly durable, attractive and easily maintained flooring overlay systems to be used over concrete.
With so many choices available on the market today, many questions arise as to the differences among polymer overlays, specifically in application and material, to achieve the functionality and appearance wanted by a client.
Among the most popular choices:
Broom Finishes with Sealer and Optional Coloring
This type of overlay system finish is achieved by applying a base coat of thin-set resurfacing material over the surface by either squeegee or cement trowel. A second application is applied, and the surface is broom finished as new concrete is poured. The surface is then sealed with a sealer appropriate for the type of traffic that is anticipated.
This system is achieved by using two different types of application systems. Commonly known as a “knock-down” finish, it’s applied using a standard compressor and drywall hopper gun. More specifically, thin-set resurfacing material is sprayed over the surface and flattened using a standard cement swivel trowel, leaving various high/low spots. This allows surface water to pool in the lower un-troweled areas, which is better known as “cool deck,” since water sitting in the un-troweled areas allows water to stand and cools the deck. It’s also frequently used on pool decks and areas where skid resistance is required.
The second method of texturing is probably the most common type of decorating finish used by contractors nationwide. With this particular coating, a base coat of thin-set material is applied to the surface by hand trowel or spray to creating different designs that simulate the appearance of either stone or limestone. It is then stained and sealed with the appropriate type of sealer specific to traffic area.
Decorative Overlays (?” and ¼”)
These type of overlays are applied by trowel or screed rake. The ?” overlay is normally a seamless type of texture, giving the appearance of large simulated stone textures without grout joints, with hundreds of stamping mats area available in different designs and textures. Grout joints are cut into the surface after curing has taken place, and then the surface is stained and sealed with the appropriate sealer. The ¼” stamped overlay is very similar to the ?” overlay, except the pattern creates the simulation or design of individual stones with grout joints. The surface is then colored and sealed with the appropriate type of sealer depending upon the traffic.
Stain & Sealer Finishes
Staining and sealing of concrete surfaces is very popular in a wide range of environments. The system consists of staining the surface using water-based color-stains, dyes or acid stains, and then it’s typically saw-cut in patterns, shapes or designs, color applied and sealed to meet the traffic needs of the area.