Experts have long considered concrete one of the most cost-effective and durable building materials. Yet that well-earned prestige hasn't stopped the world of concrete from continuing to develop new and innovative techniques. One of the most exciting new trends in concrete design goes by the name of polymer overlay.
The relative newness of polymer overlay means that many people outside of the concrete industry remain unfamiliar with this technique. Unfortunately, such people often fail to capitalize on the unique benefits of polymer overlay. This article seeks to improve your knowledge by introducing three key facts regarding polymer overlay.
1. Polymer Overlays Have Both Functional and Decorative Uses
Once upon a time, the only option once a concrete floor had reached the end of its lifespan and begun to degrade was to break it out and pour an entire new slab. As you can imagine, this process requires huge time and labor commitments, and can be quite disruptive. The costs of a complete removal also tend to be unacceptably high for many people.
Polymer overlays allow contractors to restore an aging concrete floor to like-new condition with a fraction of the effort and time. In addition to correcting spalling, cracks, and other forms of surface damage, you can use a polymer overlay to level tilted floors and to add traction to slippery, high-traffic areas.
Yet polymer overlays don't simply fulfill a pragmatic function. You can also use them for decorative purposes, offering an easy way to revamp the aesthetic makeup of a home or business. Polymer overlays also come in a virtually endless range of colors. You can use stamps to give the overlay indented lines that mimic the appearance of natural paving materials.
2. Polymer Overlays Are Thinner Than Other Overlays
Concrete overlays have existed for several decades now. Yet those overlays, which did not contain polymer additives, had to be considerably thicker in order to withstand the stresses of daily use and abuse. Even then, such overlays often end up succumbing to the same issues that damaged the original slab.
Only more recently have contractors begun to implement overlay blends that include polymer resins. Contractors can incorporate a variety of different polymers, depending on the specific attributes required by the designer.
Yet virtually all polymers give an overlay clear advantages in terms of both strength and flexibility - so much so that builders have successfully used them for resurfacing automotive bridges.
The advantages of polymer overlays are so great that they can be effective even contractors apply them in much thinner layers. Even a polymer overlay with a thickness less than 1/4" can provide years of reliable results.
3. Sub-Base Preparation Determines Overlay Bonding Success
While the advantages of polymer overlays may be clear cut, you must install them properly in order to ensure the best results. Here, the most important factor involves properly preparing the sub-base - the pre-existing layer of concrete atop which a professional will place the overlay.
Simply pressure washing the bonding surface won't be enough to ensure a strong bond. Instead, experienced contractors roughen the surface using a diamond grinder. Roughening up the concrete increases its overall surface area, helping the overlay create as strong a bond as possible.
After grinding the surface, a professional will thoroughly wash it to remove all dust and debris. Then the overlay installer will allow the sub-base to dry thoroughly. Any moisture present in the slab may impact the strength of the overlay's bond.
Polymer overlays have revolutionized the world of concrete resurfacing, giving contractors an exciting new way to restore concrete floors. For more information about whether a polymer overlay would be a good choice for your needs, please contact the pros at Carolina Concrete Designs Inc.