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Interior Overlays & Toppings

The most critical factor when covering concrete with an overlay is to prepare the substrate properly. Overlays are designed to adhere tenaciously to existing concrete. But they must have a clean, solid base to grasp on to. That's why overlooking the prep work, or not doing the job thoroughly, is the most common cause of overlay delamination and failure.

Concrete Coatings of Illinois (Before)

Concrete Coatings of Illinois (After)

The basic steps in surface preparation include:

  • Cleaning the concrete to remove all substances that could inhibit the ability of the overlay to bond, such as dirt, oil and grease. It's also necessary to strip away any coatings, sealers or paints that may have been applied to the concrete.
  • Removing any unsound concrete, such as minor spalling, scaling or delamination, down to solid concrete.
  • Filling active cracks so they don't mirror through to the overlay. Typically any cracks equal to or wider than the width of a credit card will require repair. (See steps in repairing cracks for a concrete resurfacing job.)
  • Profiling, or roughening, the concrete surface to improve the "grip" of the overlay.

Using a machine that mechanically abrades the concrete, such as a grinder or shotblaster, is one of the most effective ways to prepare concrete substrates for resurfacing. This equipment not only removes most contaminants and unsound concrete, it will also leave behind a roughened surface profile. (Read more about proper surface preparation procedures and equipment.)

Clearly, this is a simple overview. The procedures will vary depending on the condition and age of the concrete and the surface preparation guidelines recommended by the overlay manufacturer. This is a job best left to a professional who will be able to assess the condition of your existing concrete and determine the scope of work required to ensure good overlay bonding and performance.

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