A decorative concrete overlay or microtopping is a great solution for restoring and enhancing worn, damaged or discolored concrete floors. Overlays can also be placed over other flooring materials, such as vinyl tile or wood. The application tools and techniques for installing cement-based overlays will vary, depending on the type of system being applied, the size of the project, and the look you are trying to achieve. Always refer to the overlay manufacturer’s installation recommendations for their specific product.

The most critical step when installing any cement-based overlay system is surface preparation. You’ll need to clean the substrate, remove any existing coatings, and then profile, or roughen, the surface to ensure a good bond. There are several methods you can use to profile concrete, including acid etching, shotblasting, diamond grinding, scarifying, and sandblasting. For guidance, see Concrete Surface Preparation.

If there are cracks in the concrete, they also must be repaired before you can install the overlay so they won’t reform and mirror through to the topping. The type of repair method you use will depend on the nature of the cracks. See these concrete crack repair tips.

Watch These How-To Videos

Concrete Overlays over Vinyl or Linoleum
Time: 01:54
Vvideo showing how you can install colorful and durable concrete floors over vinyl.

Installing a Concrete Floor Over a Wood Subfloor
Time: 01:10
Concrete floor video on how to install concrete over an existing wood subfloor.

Installing Concrete Floors over Tile
Time: 02:59
Get ideas for concrete floors and installation tips.

Concrete Floors Baseboards & Transitions
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Concrete floor video on how to install baseboards

For more information:
Tools Required for Applying Cement-Based Overlays
Comparison Chart of Concrete Overlay Systems

Resurfacing and Overlay Tool Videos