Decorative Concrete Overlay Systems: Knowing the Difference

Resurfacing is one of the most popular and cost-effective methods of restoring concrete surfaces. There are different types of concrete overlays and it can be quite confusing to distinguish one from the other. To help property owners in deciding which is the most suitable for the project they have in mind, here is a brief look at each decorative concrete overlay, what they are, and what they do.


Microtopping is an overlay system often used to repair surface damage. It is spread thinly but thick enough to fill in cracks and holes while giving the slab a whole new surface. The new surface gives the look of a concrete slab. It can be further customized with staining, scoring, engraving, and more.

colored concrete patio stamps st louisStamped Overlay

A stampable overlay is designed to make the existing slab look more decorative. About ⅜ to ¼ of an inch of this material is laid over the slab, the exact thickness depending on the type of pattern to be stamped. This overlay can only be as good and as durable as the slab underneath it. Unlike an overlay, it does not guarantee that the slab will be more durable. There is only so much it can do.

classic texture patio st louisMulti-purpose Overlay

This type of overlay is used more often as a texturing material. It can be sprayed down, broomed, or trowelled to enhance the slip-resistance of an otherwise slippery concrete surface while making it look more adorable.

self leveling concrete overlay Self-Leveling Overlay

From the name itself, this overlay levels itself out on its own. It is one of the most difficult overlays to handle because it has a short working window. It is highly recommended to have a pro install a self-leveling overlay because following the manufacturer’s instructions exactly is crucial. Too dry and it won’t level properly. Too wet and it may crack and cause other problems right after it has dried.

Before choosing a decorative concrete overlay, make sure that you understand what the options are. Never assume and never rely on its name or what a contractor says to you. For all you know, he may be making it up for the purpose of having you sign up. Do your research and check other decorative concrete websites, customer forums, and reviews. Making an investment in your property can be quite costly so make sure that yours is worth all your hard-earned money.

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