What Are Polishable Concrete Overlays?

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A polishable concrete overlay could save your old and jaded concrete floor from having to be re-laid.

Here’s the background to this exciting new development in flooring.

The History

 Although the technology behind concrete overlays has been around since about 1930, you may not be familiar with the more recent innovation of polishable overlays.

In the thirties, the prototype concrete overlay was patented by a British chemist. This was developed by his company, Crossfield Products Corps.

However, despite this process making the concrete flooring extra strong and durable, it wasn’t especially pretty.

The Development

It has only been over the last ten years that concrete overlays have been developed to the point of being decorative, as well as practical.

The company pushing this evolution has been Spec Chem. This company has its past in chemicals for the construction business and it created SpecLevel PCT.

This is a cement type product, which can be polished only twenty four hours after it has been laid down.

The practicality of the material is such that it can be used dry or wet. And it works both outside and in interiors.

The major difference between it and earlier overlays is that it can be dyed or stained.

The Preparation

Before the overlay goes on, the floor must be properly prepared.

It needs to meet the strict criteria as set out by the International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI). This means preparing it with the use of scarification tools and shot blasters, to get the base right for the overlay.

Contractors should also give the flooring a thorough clean, prior to installation.

It needs to be primed, before the overlay will go on. This can be purchased from the manufacturer of the overlay – in a choice of epoxy or latex. The most popular amongst concrete contractors is the epoxy primer.

It also must be sanded as well – a lot. In fact, the primer needs to be sanded down until it resembles a beach!

Before the overlay is even considered, a contractor should give the flooring a thorough inspection to make sure it is right for this space.

If it is too worn down or not constructed by modern day techniques, it might have too many troughs and peaks in it.

Because the polishable overlays may be less than half an inch in depth, it could mean that it won’t be deep enough for your old floor.

It is possible, therefore, that the floor will be accidentally grinded through, by a planetary head grinder.  This could bring the old floor out, poking through it, which is not something any contractor wants.

To avoid this, contractors should use a laser transit. This gives them a better idea of layout of the floor, before even starting the project.

The Future

Although no one knows for sure exactly how long these new overlays will last, they are something that can quickly fix an ageing concrete floor, which other wide have to be re-laid – and make it sparkle and shine in the process!