Concrete overlay

Why Not to DIY Your Concrete Overlay

Concrete overlays have become a popular solution to adding a fresh new look to your concrete surfaces such as patios and driveways as they are durable and easily maintained. But, unless you are a concrete expert, it is highly recommended that only a professional undertake doing this job. From prepping to finishing, proper installation can be a bit tricky for the weekend do-it-yourselfer. Videos and tutorials may appear easy but are not enough to fully prepare you for getting the job done correctly.

Concrete is a high-tech and unforgiving material that requires a high degree of knowledge and experience to get the job done right the first time. Most contractors have many years of experience in this field as there is no room for mistakes when working with concrete; once laid, it is permanent and can’t be fixed without entirely removing it and starting over, unlike carpentry or other construction projects where errors are easily fixable. Overlays are simply a thin (generally about 1/4″) layer of concrete poured over an existing 4 – 6″ concrete base. If the overlay is not done properly, removing it also means removing most, if not all, of the base material. This is an expensive and time-consuming prospect.

Another factor to consider is the cost between attempting an overlay on your own or hiring a professional. Although it may be possible to rent the needed tools, experienced contractors already have the proper tools (most of which are quite expensive if you’ve thought of buying them), resources, and knowledge required to get just the look and finish desired. If the existing concrete to be overlaid already has issues such as cracking or ‘slumping’, the experts can identify and correct any issues that were causing problems. Otherwise, an overlay will be a waste of time and money. A deteriorating base layer, improper concrete mixture, and even the weather, are just a few things that will determine the outcome of the finished overlay. Timing is critical as concrete begins to ‘set’ quickly once it is poured and once the process is started, it can’t be left until completed. No “I’ll finish it tomorrow” or taking a lunch break. Once again, no room for mistakes.

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