The Best Way to Preserve Your Concrete

What is a Concrete Overlay?

October 29, 2022 10 Read

Concrete is a durable construction material that creates durable flooring, surfaces, and pool decks. However, concrete floors are not damage-proof and can wear and stain over time. Existing concrete surfaces such as a concrete patio, pool deck, or polished concrete floor may suffer from heavy foot traffic, water damage, or weather changes.

Heavy Traffic

Heavy traffic is one of the main reasons that concrete floors can suffer from wear and tear. This may be especially true for polished concrete floors where many people walk, such as in commercial spaces or high-traffic homes.

Water Damage

Concrete surfaces can also become damaged by water or moisture over time, either due to changes in weather or water leaks. This problem is common for homes with existing concrete pool decks.

Weather Changes

Concrete floors can also be damaged by weather changes such as extreme heat or cold. This is especially common for concrete patios and pool decks exposed to the elements. Thermal expansion of concrete can cause cracks, making the floors look worn and unattractive. Likewise, freeze-thaw conditions during winter months can also cause damage to concrete.

Fortunately, professional concrete contractors recommend several flooring options that can be applied over existing concrete surfaces, including overlays, epoxy coatings, polyurethane coatings, and others. These products provide durability and weather resistance for concrete floors, helping to protect them from wear and tear.

Resurface or repair your existing concrete with a concrete overlay

The concrete overlay gives the old concrete its original appearance. In some situations, overlays may be placed on feathers as thick as 1 inch. It may be smooth, polished if needed, or painted or stamped. Applications are made using a trowel, squeegee, and gauge rake & smoother. They make concrete surface surfaces more attractive with far less effort than re-painting and removing concrete.

A concrete overlay is a floor surface product applied over existing concrete surfaces, such as patios, pool decks, or polished floors. This floor surface material is typically made from cement-based products and other additives that provide durability and weather resistance to the existing concrete floor. Some common types of concrete overlays include epoxy coatings, polyurethane coatings, and polymer-modified mortars. These products are often used for restoring worn or damaged concrete surfaces due to heavy foot traffic, water damage, or weather changes. Concrete overlays provide an affordable and effective way to protect and improve the appearance of your existing concrete floors.

Why use concrete overlays?

With a concrete overlay, you can completely change the appearance of your home’s flooring. Here are some of the advantages of concrete overlay. With various color and design choices, interior designers will enjoy how polished concrete is colorized in colorfast and topically colored through stains. Floors can look white, gray, or whatever colors you want them to have. For enhanced appearance, you can also design polished concrete seeded in different types, like colored glass. Customers using polished concrete overlays will be provided with numerous customization options.

Energy Efficiency

Polished concrete overlays and polished concrete floors contribute to LEED points, which appeal to anyone wanting to improve building efficiency. Polishing the concrete will enhance energy efficiency because the reflected surface of polished concrete will reduce artificial illumination, lowering energy costs and environmental impact. The popularity of polishable concrete overlays is not surprising.

Concrete Replacement Savings

One of the most important benefits of utilizing polish-proof concrete covers is preventing replacing existing concrete and poured cement without adding resurface material. The resulting product can be used with other materials. It all makes your life much easier and more productive.

How Does Concrete Overlay Improve Your Existing Concrete Floors?

Concrete overlays are a popular flooring option for improving an existing surface. These concrete overlays provide several key benefits, including:

Durability and Weather Resistance

Concrete overlays are designed to withstand heavy traffic, water damage, and weather changes. This makes them an ideal solution for creating a much more durable concrete floor resistant to wear and tear over time. Applying an overlay is a durable solution for your concrete problems, especially in high-traffic areas.


Unlike replacing or installing new concrete, installing a concrete overlay is often more affordable. Applying a thin concrete overlay allows you to improve the appearance of your flooring without breaking the bank.

Aesthetic Appeal and Decorative Reasons

Many types of concrete overlays, like stamped concrete, can create unique and attractive finishes on your concrete surface, ranging from smooth polished looks to textured designs that mimic natural stone, brick, or wood.

A new concrete overlay can look like anything you want with the proper overlay material, stencil patterns, and proper surface preparation. You can easily choose the desired finish for your concrete surfaces. For example, selecting from the many decorative options available with overlay applications is possible if you want your finished floor to have a feather finish. This makes decorative concrete overlays an ideal choice for improving the aesthetic appeal of your existing concrete surface.

In short, decorative concrete overlays are a popular and affordable flooring option for improving your old concrete surface. Whether you need to protect against heavy foot traffic, water damage, or weather changes, a concrete overlay can provide the durability and weather resistance needed to keep your concrete floors looking great for years to come.

What are the Types of Concrete Overlays for Your Concrete Floor?

Depending on your specific needs and preferences, you can choose from several types of concrete overlays. Some common types include:

Epoxy Coatings

These concrete sealers provide a hard, durable finish for your existing concrete surfaces. They are often used for garage floors or industrial applications requiring high durability. One benefit of an epoxy coating is that they are among the self-leveling overlays, which means that the polymer resins covering your existing concrete floor will provide a smooth and seamless finish.

Polyurethane Coatings

Like epoxy coatings, polyurethane coatings are also used to seal and protect concrete surfaces from damage. These water-based coatings protect extensively against moisture, chemicals, impacts, stains, and abrasion. Polyurethanes can be tinted to create a wide range of appealing color options for your flooring. Polyurethane coating is also a self-leveling concrete overlay and will automatically create an even-thin layer over the entire surface or floor that needs to be covered.

Polymer-Modified Mortars

These concrete overlays are typically used to cover existing concrete floors or stairs damaged by water or other environmental factors. They use polymer resins as binders to form a durable layer over the existing concrete surface that provides improved strength and will not easily crack or chip.

Stamped Concrete Overlay

A stamped concrete overlay is more of a decorative option for your existing floor than other types of concrete overlays, making it an ideal choice for improving the aesthetic appeal of your existing floor. This overlay is often used to change the look of concrete patios to mimic natural stone, brick, or wood finishes and can be customized to suit various design styles. You can significantly change the appearance of an existing They provide superior strength and resistance against shrinkage and other common issues with standard concrete.

Many types of concrete overlays are available depending on your needs and preferences. Whether you need durability and weather resistance for high-traffic areas or decorative options for enhancing the appearance of your flooring, an overlay solution is right for you. Choosing the correct concrete overlay will help improve the look, functionality, and lifespan of your existing concrete floors.

Why Choose Self-leveling Concrete Decorative Overlays over Standard Concrete?

There are several benefits of using self-leveling concrete overlays over standard concrete overlays, including:

Easy application

Self-leveling overlays are much easier to apply than standard concrete. This makes it an excellent option for DIYers or professionals who need to cover large areas quickly without sacrificing quality.

Increased strength

Compared to regular concrete, a self-leveling overlay has been engineered with polymers, bonding agents, and other specialized materials using proprietary blends of manufacturers that increase its overall strength and durability.

Reduced shrinkage

One common weakness of standard concrete is its tendency to shrink while drying, leading to cracks in the finished floor or surface. Self-leveling concrete is explicitly designed to be resistant to this type of shrinkage.

Overall cost savings

Choosing self-leveling overlay products can help you achieve the same aesthetic and functional results at a lower cost than standard concrete. This can be especially beneficial for large areas or buildings where flooring is subject to high levels of traffic and wear.

Overall, if you are looking for a durable, easy-to-apply solution for improving your existing flooring, self-leveling concrete decorative overlays are an excellent choice. They provide superior strength, resistance against shrinkage, and other common issues with standard concrete. They tend to be more cost-effective than alternatives while giving the appearance and functionality you need. Self-leveling concrete overlays offer an attractive and reliable option for improving existing concrete flooring.

How Thick Should A Concrete Overlay Be?

The thickness of a concrete overlay will depend on the type you are using. Generally, self-leveling concrete overlays tend to be much thinner than polymer-modified or stamped concrete overlays, which can range from 1/8 inch to 5 inches in thickness.

Before you install any overlay on your existing concrete floor, you first need to look over the condition of the underlying surface and determine if an overlay is needed. Some cracks and other damage may require simple repair techniques rather than covering up with an expensive overlay. It is also essential to consider the intended use of your finished surface and any aesthetic requirements before choosing a specific type and thickness of concrete overlay.

If you are considering installing concrete overlay products on your existing concrete floor, there are several factors to keep in mind. Some key considerations include the condition and thickness of your underlying concrete surface, the intended use for the finished floor, and any aesthetic requirements or limitations.

Ultimately, the best way to choose an appropriate concrete overlay will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Some factors to consider when making this decision include the condition of your existing concrete surface, how you will be using the finished floor (e.g., high-traffic areas vs. residential spaces), and any aesthetic requirements or limitations that may affect your final decision. Consulting with a professional contractor can also help ensure that you select an overlay solution that is right for your project and meets all safety requirements.

How Long Will Concrete Overlays Last?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as the longevity of concrete overlays will depend on several factors. Common considerations include the type of overlay you use, how it was installed on an existing floor and maintained, and how often it is exposed to moisture or high levels of wear and tear.

Some common materials used in concrete overlay mixes include polymer-modified cement and latex-based products. These overlay mixes are generally more durable than standard concrete, but these overlay systems can still be vulnerable to damage if not properly maintained or installed. The quality of installation will also play an essential role in determining the overall lifespan of your concrete overlay. In general, well-maintained concrete overlays can last anywhere from 10 years up to 50 years.

How to Maintain Surfaces with Concrete Overlay?

Maintaining concrete overlays is generally a straightforward process, and there are many products and techniques that you can use to keep your overlay in good condition. Some essential tips for maintaining concrete overlays include sweeping or vacuuming the surface regularly to remove dirt and debris, washing the polished concrete floor with water as needed, and resealing the surface every few years.

It is also essential to protect your concrete overlay from moisture damage by sealing any cracks or joints in the underlying flooring before installing an overlay. Additionally, it would be best if you took care not to expose your concrete overlay to harsh chemicals, excess moisture, or high levels of impact. A wide range of specialized sealants and cleaners are available for maintaining concrete surfaces with an overlay. Consulting with a professional contractor can help you select the best products and techniques suited to your needs.