We get lots of calls asking if we do concrete overlays. The answer is usually more complicated than a simple yes or no. Hopefully here I can answer that question and help our customers understand what all doing an overlay entails.
To start off, let me explain that many times we pour 3 or more inches on top of a slab that is in good condition. To me that really isn’t an overlay, but a new pour on top of an old pour. What I want to dive into today is thin (under 1/2″ overlays).
This following scenario seems to happen monthly: The phone rings, and it’s another material supplier hawking an overlay product. “This is a brand new revolutionary 20,000 PSI mix that has solved many of the issues of previous overlay products.” “Oh, great! Does it have a warranty?” I ask. That always spawns some complicated answer like “well, not exactly. It only works if it is applied correctly. The existing concrete needs to be completely washed and free of any unforeseen chemicals. Then, it needs to be washed with our proprietary super duper cleaner. Then it needs to be acid etched and a bonding agent needs to be applied. Then you need to pour it at precisely the right temperature (usually between midnight and 2:00 am during the July and August months). Within 24-48 hours, you then want to make sure that you are protecting it with a cure and seal product. The only way to mess up is skip one of these steps.” By the time I follow their procedures it usually would have been more labor and material friendly to just rip out the old concrete and pour a new slab!
Although my story might be a little exaggerated, it isn’t far off! Every now and then I do meet a good candidate for an overlay. Usually it is when concrete is going to be nearly impossible to remove, and/or the existing concrete is in perfect conditional structurally, but just ugly due to poor finishing by a previous contractor. Also, if the customer is understanding that existing micro-cracks are more than likely to return, overlays are a possibility. When we do find a customer who is a good candidate for an overlay, I like to educate them into the best process and explain the risks as well as the rewards. In most cases, overlays DO NOT come with a warranty due to the unpredictability of the product.
If you feel like you can benefit from an overlay or a concrete replacement, please contact us so we can give you a free consultation on the best option for your project.