Our old concrete floors might have seen better days, be it inside the house or our patios. Then comes the time we have to start figuring out what to do with them. If you’re considering now, it might be good to check out polymer coating products. They have come a long way since the invention and are widely used these days.
Concrete coatings history
Concrete Coatings are not exactly a new thing 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. In turn, this produced a new surface coating, which restored the well-worn surface and protected the original substrate.
At that time, concrete coatings fell short in long term performance. The acrylic resin properties produced excellent UV protection, but 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 figure out a better solution to the moisture and delamination problems.
Polymer modified cement
In the ’70s, leading chemical companies came up with 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 greatly enhanced the performance, strength, and moisture resistance of concrete coatings.
Polymer modified cement can be applied thick or thin, without failure, and they 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 originally 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 known as an economical solution for coating concrete substrates providing a long-term, durable renovation without the costly repairs usually associated with deteriorating concrete substrates.
How polymer modified cements are used
Polymer-modified cement can be used industrially, commercially, and residentially; as interior or exterior applications. As a concrete coating, polymer-modified cement is a protective layer that is 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; and can be water-colored, stained, and powder-colored. The application can range from pool decks, patios, walkways, entryways, driveways, and more.
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 that are applied on top of an existing concrete surface. They can be sprayed or rolled on and applied in various thicknesses. Before any type of 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
In order for concrete overlay products to go on properly and stay on as they should, the concrete slab needs to be stable. While a few hairline cracks are not a problem with most types of overlay products, any holes or larger cracks must be patched and repaired before attempting to apply 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.
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 normally be a good candidate for the application of some type of concrete 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 is looking old and worn, a smart and fairly 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 that is about 1/16th of an inch all the way 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 still have the ability to produce the effects most people are looking for when they use 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 out slight imperfections in a concrete slab. The product is poured out over a slab and spread out 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 own 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. This process, like most others, is amenable to staining or imprinting designs and patterns to the concrete slab.
Costs for concrete overlay projects generally range from about $1.00 – $3.00 per square foot. A simple micro-coating without any designs or stenciling is at the lower end of the price range, while thicker coatings with intricate stampings and stenciling can cost double or triple the price per square foot.
It is relatively cheap way to keep your concrete slabs in good condition and resistant to weather if outside.