Concrete Overlay Transforms an Ugly Entryway

A dilapidated entryway and steps get an extreme makeover with an overlay of decorative stamped concrete
Project submitted by Barry Fisher, Unique Concrete, West Milford, N.J.

The challenge

This 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 goals

Barry 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 used

Synthetic 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 specialties

In 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.


Barry Fisher
Unique Concrete
West Milford, NJ 07480

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