There are many ways to update the look of your home without making drastic changes that are going to cost you a lot of money. If you’ve noticed the concrete floors in your home are cracked and stained and in need of a makeover, you may want to look into decorative concrete overlays. They can get your floors looking better than new without draining your bank account.

What are Decorative Concrete Overlays?

Decorate concrete overlays are a type of finish that can be applied over your existing concrete floors. There are different finishes to choose from depending on the look you’re going after, but no matter what type you choose, the concrete you’re applying the overlay on needs to be solid. This means that the sub-base of the concrete can’t be cracked or on soil that isn’t stable. You also may run into problems if the concrete has a lot of moisture as this can seep into the overlay and cause it to crack once it’s applied.

Overlays are also a good option if you want to turn your subfloor concrete into your main flooring. If you’ve surveyed your sub-base and it’s durable enough for an overlay, you need to think about what type you want.

decorative concrete overlay

Types of Decorative Concrete Overlays 

There are four basic different types of decorative concrete overlays. Although there is a wide variety of finishes, most overlays themselves are made from a blend of polymer resins. Cement, sand, and other materials are combined to make the overlay. The overlay is also made to adhere to the existing concrete while still maintaining its beauty.

As you’re doing your homework about overlays, you’ll also discover that there are many polymer-modified overlays as well. These stand-up pretty well when it comes to wear and tear, salt, chemicals, and temperature changes. They also come in a variety of textures and colors.

Besides the materials of your overlays, you’ll need to decide the finish and look you’re going for. There are four main types to choose from:

  • Stampable Overlays

These look like stamped concrete and are the most commonly used. They can give your concrete stone, wood, or brick look. Since they are cement-based they are durable when it comes to stains.

When you’re looking at stampable overlays you’ll see that they come in texturing skins that are thinner and overlay mats that are deeper and give the floor a more textured look. Both types come in a variety of colors to choose from.

  • Self-Leveling Overlays

These are used to restore worn or damaged concrete. They are often used underneath other floor products and flatten out on their own.

  • Multipurpose Overlays

Since these are mainly made from sand, they are versatile to suit your needs. They can be textured and designed using a trowel or hopper gun.

  • Microtoppings

If you have concrete that’s old and worn, you may want to consider micro toppings. They are applied thinly and usually come in gray or white. They can give your floors a marbleized look if that is what you’re trying to achieve.

How Durable is a Decorative Concrete Overlay?

A concrete overlay should be a lifelong investment as long as it’s been installed properly and well-protected by a sealer or coating. It should be able to withstand heavy foot traffic as well as vehicle traffic and should not need to be replaced. 

If you’re applying your concrete overlay on floors, floor wax or polish can give you an added layer of protection. If the floor starts to show wear, reapply a sealer or wax to protect it.

You may also choose to polish your overlay to give it a high-gloss look. When it comes to concrete overlays, there are so many different options that you can truly get the customized look you want.

How Long Does it Take to Install a Decorative Concrete Overlay?

Installation time will vary depending on the project and the type of material that is being used for the overlay. Generally, overlay projects can be completed in a short period of time and the floor can be accessed within a few hours of the project being completed. It’s best to speak with your installer so that you can get an accurate window of when your work will be complete.

To learn more about decorative concrete overlays, give us a call today at 815-472-9754 to speak with one of our surface preparation experts.