- Decorative Concrete Overlays Home
- Types of Overlays
- Comparison Chart of Overlay Systems: Which is Best for Your Project?
- Five Factors to Consider When Choosing a Resurfacing System
- Getting Surfaces Ready for an Overlay
- When to Use a Cement-Based Polymer Overlay
- Surface Preparation: Getting Concrete Ready for Resurfacing
- Concrete Underlayments: Tips for priming the substrate
- Design Ideas for Concrete Overlays
- Concrete Coloring Methods
- Stamped Concrete Patterns and Designs
- Concrete Overlays Color Chart
- Applying Decorative Stencils
- Polishable Overlays
- Maintaining Resurfaced Concrete
- How to Protect and Maintain Resurfaced Concrete
- Routine Maintenance for Overlays
- Other Resources
- Concrete Contractors: Find Concrete Overlays Products and Suppliers
Overlays for Interior & Exterior Concrete
Concrete Overlay Transforms an Ugly EntrywayA dilapidated entryway and steps get an extreme makeover with an overlay of decorative stamped concrete
Before being resurfaced with concrete, this entryway was in dire need of a makeover, with delaminating tiles that created an unsafe and unattractive walking surface.
A front view of the ugly entryway before restoration.
A decorative overlay of stamped and hand-tooled concrete, along with new wooden posts to support the porch overhang, completely transform the entryway steps and adjoining patio.
The step edges are slightly cantilevered to give them the look of traditional tile.
The pattern impressions themselves act as control joints, eliminating the need for sawcuts. For contrast, different concentrations of integral color were used for the stamped areas and grout infill.
The challengeThis home's tile-covered entryway steps and adjoining patio had clearly seen better days. Not only were the tiles starting to delaminate and spall, they also became slippery and hazardous when wet. Because it is a rental property, the owners were looking for an economical solution to restore the structural integrity of the entryway and improve the curb appeal.
Design goalsBarry Fisher of Unique Concrete, a New Jersey company that specializes in resurfacing existing concrete, decided to cover the entire area with a 1 ½-inch layer of unbonded reinforced concrete, which he could then stamp and hand chisel to recreate the look of natural stone and tile. Deep grout lines and a textured, nonslip surface further enhanced the appearance and realism of the new overlay. "We deal with problem areas that most contractors would rip out in order to start the project from the beginning. Our resurfacing process is cost effective by eliminating the demolition and recycling costs and by producing a decorative, durable end result," Fisher explains.
Secrets to success
Good surface prep was key to ensure a sound subbase for the new concrete. "We began by removing all of the tiles and the top inch and a half of tile and concrete on the outside cheek walls. This gave us a solid base of concrete to work with and a starting height that would accommodate a minimum of an inch and a half of new concrete," says Fisher.
The new concrete for both the steps and patio was fortified with wire mesh, 2 ¼-inch synthetic fibers, and high-performance PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) fibers to form a heavily reinforced concrete "shell." To make the concrete moisture impermeable and to ensure against delamination, Fisher added a waterproofing admixture to the mix.
The restored area has no visible saw cuts or control joints, which can take away from the overall aesthetics. "Since this overlay is so heavily reinforced, the impressions we put in the concrete to establish the pattern are deep enough to act as control joints and allow for slight movement," says Fisher. All of the impressions were filled with an integrally colored grout to replicate the look of hand-laid tile and stone.
Unique Concrete makes their own stamping tools and texture rollers. The pattern for this job was fieldstone, and hand tools were used to finish the steps and tile border.
To further enhance the steps and give them a more traditional tile look, Fisher slightly cantilevered the edges and used a wood float to finish the vertical surfaces.
Materials usedSynthetic fibers: Forta
PVA fibers: Nycon
Integral color: Lanxess
Waterproofing admixture: Anti-Hydro
Cure and seal: Aqua Cure Vox from Euclid Chemical, tinted with universal colorants from Sheffield Bronze
Clear topcoat: Certi-Vex 1315 Super Gloss from Vexcon Chemicals
Other specialtiesIn addition to resurfacing existing concrete, Unique Concrete has developed a technique for placing stamped concrete overlays over wood decks and floors. See How to Cover Old Wood Decks and Floors with Decorative Concrete.