If your concrete driveway or patio needs a little non-structural spruce up, an overlay will likely do the trick. A concrete overlay is a resurfacing method applied to worn concrete, making it look smooth and new again. It’s much cheaper than tearing out and starting over, but it should never be applied as an attempted band aid for bigger problems.
Before opting for a concrete overlay, it’s crucial to make sure there are no major problems with the existing pavement, such as large cracks or sinking concrete. If you do have these problems, you’ll need to address those first by filling the cracks, leveling the concrete, and/or assessing soil properties underneath the slab. It’s also important to hire a professional to perform concrete overlays—mistakes are difficult and expensive to fix with this task. An experienced company will make sure the pavement is properly prepared by cleaning the surface, repairing any cracks, removing damaged portions, resurfacing areas that were damaged, and addressing any other potential issues.
Concrete overlays can be a very durable option for livening up old concrete. Properly prepared, professionally applied, and appropriately maintained concrete overlays can last anywhere between 10 and 25 years. It’s a good idea to reseal the concrete about every 5 to 7 years, depending on factors such as weather, materials used, and the type of finish you choose. Concrete overlays have been perfected over the years, and today’s overlay consists of a higher tensile strength than overlays of the past. Because of this, overlays are considered a good option for many projects.
The trick is to ensure the new overlay bonds well to the current concrete. Perfect adhesion is tricky, which is a big reason this project needs to be handled professionally. Even with a perfectly done job, the fact that there are two separate layers still remains. This can create shifting between the layers resulting in voids under the surface—something called delamination. Eventually, the layers can detach and create issues such as cracking or spalling. This is a relatively natural process but can be avoided if job-specific impacts are addressed during the project application. Factors such as temperature, mix consistency, and subgrade will impact delamination. An experienced professional that understands the unique needs of concrete overlays will know what to watch for to ensure this isn’t an issue. A quality overlay shouldn’t show these signs for a long time.
Like any concrete product, wear and tear will eventually take its toll. From weight stresses to thermal expansion and weather issues, concrete is susceptible to some damage, even though it’s an incredibly durable and resistant product. For any concrete job, leave it to a professional to ensure it’s done right. This way you can be confident it will last a long time and look good. Lift Right Concrete is not only an expert in concrete overlays, but we also know how to fix any underlying issues first. If you are considering a concrete overlay, contact our team for a free analysis of all factors pertinent to your situation.