Concrete overlays are made up of a combination of cement, various aggregates, and polymer resins. The purpose of a concrete overlay is to make existing concrete look better. In many cases it is not necessary to tear out existing concrete that has surface imperfections such as cracks, pitting, or discoloration. Concrete overlays are a great solution to “ugly” concrete that is otherwise structurally sound.
Just like acid staining, concrete overlays are also procedures used in the transformation of normal concrete into decorative concrete. The history of concrete overlays stems from the year 1960 which was marked with chemical engineers experimenting with resins and acrylic acid. These substances were used in sand and cement mixes for modification purposes. The resulting product was a layer of cement which acted as a coating since it was an adhesive for concrete surfaces. However, there were some disadvantages since these products were not water proof. Some of the different types of concrete overlays are explained below in detail.
There are polymer cement overlays which started being used in the last 20 years. Polymer cement overlays simply involve adding polymer resins to cement which increases performance traits and it`s versatility to other elements. There is no fear of product failure since polymer cement overlays have proved the test of time; therefore they can either be applied as a thick coat or a thin coat depending on the preference of the owner. They have also proved to be more durable than other types of overlays since there has been no reported damage from chemicals, weather elements, UV light and also salt. Polymer cement overlays are specifically created to mimic the textures of authentic materials.
There are also stamped overlays which are created by using imprinting tools made of rubber. These tools are pressed into the concrete overlay material which results in textures which are consistent to stones or bricks. The imprint tools are released from the concrete using release agents which avoid sticking. The release agents can either be liquids or powders. They facilitate the process of decorating concrete to come up with unique designs.
The use of concrete overlays has been popularized today since the resulting concrete resembles naturally occurring authentic materials such as stones, bricks or wood.
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