Durable concrete fixing with polymer

Durable concrete fixing with polymer


The floors of our home and patios are often subjected to heavy foot traffic, which can result in wear and tear over time. Suppose you’re in a position where your concrete floors are looking worse for wear. In that case, consider some options to improve their appearance and durability.

One such option is polymer coating products, which have evolved significantly since their inception and are now widely used. These coatings form a protective layer on top of the concrete, sealing any cracks or imperfections and providing a smooth, shiny finish.

The result is a floor that looks great and is more resistant to damage from foot traffic, spills, and other everyday wear and tear.

Concrete coatings history

Concrete coatings are familiar as they date back to the ’60s. Chemical companies started experimenting with acrylic resins as admixtures for cement back then.

The outcome was a micro-topping or concrete coating that adhered to the existing concrete substrate. This produced a new surface coating, restoring the well-worn surface and protecting the original substrate.

At that time, concrete coatings fell short in long-term performance. The acrylic resin properties produced excellent UV protection. Still, they could not handle the long-term effects of moisture resistance, which affected adhesion and caused delamination.

So they had to go back to the drawing board. The chemists had to solve the moisture and delamination problems better.

Polymer modified cement

In the ’70s, leading chemical companies developed a polymer-modified cement that could be utilized in the concrete coatings industry. Polymer-modified cement consists of different types of aggregates and polymer resins. Adding polymers to the cement significantly enhances concrete coatings’ performance, strength, and moisture resistance.

Polymer-modified cement can be applied thick or thin without failure and can stand the test of time. Also, this type of concrete coating is resistant to salt, petroleum chemicals, UV, weathering, and traffic deterioration.

Polymer cement was initially designed to be used for substrate restoration. However, in the early ’80s, polymer cement was introduced to the architectural concrete and commercial flooring industries.

Additionally, polymer cement has become a standard application in these industries. Polymer cement is an economical solution for coating concrete substrates, providing a long-term, durable renovation without the costly repairs usually associated with deteriorating concrete substrates.

Polymer cement concrete can handle heavy use

How polymer-modified cements are used

Polymer-modified cement can be used industrially, commercially, and residentially for interior or exterior applications. As a concrete coating, polymer-modified cement is a protective layer used as a decorative coating. It can resemble tile or stone and is also used for pool deck coatings.

Polymer-modified cement can be hand-troweled or stamped for restoring, leveling, and filling in damaged areas of concrete substrates. Polymer-modified cement can be applied in many patterns: thick or thin, smooth or rough, water-colored, stained, and powder-colored.

The application can range from pool decks, patios, walkways, entryways, and driveways.

The polymer as a concrete overlay product

Concrete overlay products offer an economical and practical solution to improving the appearance and appeal of almost any concrete floor or surface. Instead of paying the high price to break up and remove an old concrete slab and pour and install a new one, a better solution is to create a concrete overlay.

Concrete overlay products come in several forms applied on top of an existing concrete surface. They can be sprayed or rolled on and used in various thicknesses. Before any concrete overlay is applied, the condition of the old concrete slab should be inspected and prepared for the application of the polymer-based product.

Before applying, the concrete needs to be repaired

The concrete slab needs to be stable for concrete overlay products to go on properly and stay on as they should. While a few hairline cracks are not a problem with most overlay products, any holes or larger cracks must be patched and repaired before applying the new coating.

In addition, if the sub-base is unstable, causing stress or cracking of the old surface, unless it is repaired, the new product is likely to fail shortly after application.

The polymer coating can even prolong the life of a sound slab.

Assuming that your concrete patio, floor, or another type of slab is structurally sound, it will generally be a good candidate for applying some tangible overlay product. The main reason for choosing such a product is cosmetic and keeping it healthy.

If your patio is full of rust stains or your basement floor looks old and worn, an intelligent and relatively inexpensive way to improve its appearance is to select this type of treatment.

Applying polymer coating

These products can be applied as a very thin micro-topping about 1/16th of an inch up to about an inch in depth. Thicker applications allow for creating deeper impressions and patterns with stencils and stamping processes. They also hold up very well in high-traffic areas.

Thinner applications can still produce the effects most people seek when using concrete overlay products. One can change colors, create designs and patterns, and add new life and luster to the appearance of their concrete floor with micro-toppings.

By applying several coats, texture can be incorporated into the new surface.

Self-leveling overlays of these polymer-based products are perfect for smoothing slight imperfections in a concrete slab. The product is poured over a slab and spread across the surface.

Because of its relatively low viscosity, the concrete overlay product gets distributed evenly across the slab. Low points fill in, and slightly higher points receive a thinner coat. Like water or other liquids, the laws of physics take over, and the product seeks its level, creating a smooth and uniform surface.

Other ways of applications

Other concrete overlay products can be sprayed on with an air-powered applicator gun. A professional will apply the product in thin, even coats that dry quickly and give a stunning new look to the concrete surface. Like most others, this process is amenable to staining or imprinting designs and patterns onto the concrete slab.


If you plan to undertake a concrete overlay project, you should know the cost involved. Typically, you can expect to spend between $1.00 and $3.00 per square foot.

The price range depends on the complexity of the design you choose. If you opt for a simple micro-coating without any designs or stenciling, you’ll be at the lower end of the price range.

However, suppose you want a thicker coating with intricate stampings and stenciling. In that case, you can expect to pay double or triple the price per square foot.

One of the benefits of a concrete overlay project is that it’s an affordable way to maintain your concrete slabs. Moreover, if you plan to install them outside, the coating will make them resistant to weather conditions.

This is particularly useful if you live where the temperature fluctuates throughout the year or if you’re worried about your concrete being damaged by rain or snow.