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    How much do I need to refinish my countertop?

    It will depend on the thickness of your application.

    You can apply concrete overlay as thick as 1/4" or as thin as 1/16" to overlay wood, Formica/laminate, tile, etc. The most common concrete overlay thickness is 1/8".

    Choose the base color, texture and color options above then use the calculator below to see how much concrete overlay to buy.

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    Product Details

    A concrete overlay is a durable, ultra strong cement based product that can be thinly applied over concrete, laminate, plywood or tile to resurface and color existing horizontal or vertical surfaces. Concrete overlay main material is Portland cement so it’s basic colors are white and gray. You can add concrete pigments when mixing the overlay and create over a 100 different concrete colors. The process of adding pigment to concrete is called integrally coloring concrete. 

    • Cost Effective upgrade for old countertops—requires minimal demolition of existing unit
    • Resurface or repair old, damaged and soiled concrete patios, driveways and walkways
    • Apply borders to disguise carpet tack strip holes or unsightly flooring scars
    • Enhance the look of indoor/outdoor concrete with Stamping, Stenciling & Artistic Finishes
    • Color with Acid Stain or Concrete Pigment – Choose from Over 100 Color Possibilities
    • Overlay also makes an ideal surface for Décors, such as spray-on stenciling and Vertical Acid Stain

    How Thick Does a Concrete Overlay Have to Be?

    Concrete overlays are ultra-strong and durable so you can apply from 1/16th inch to 1/4 inch of overlay to the surface to be refinished
    The coverage rates of concrete overlay will vary depending on the texture, porosity, condition of the concrete, application method and weather conditions 

    The following are estimates based on a per 50 lbs. of concrete overlay mixed to the appropriate consistency for each coat depth.
    • 1/4 inch = 20 to 25 sq. ft.
    • 1/8th inch skim coat = 50 to 60 sq. ft.
    • 1/16th inch skim coat = 100 to 120 sq. ft.

    CURE TIMES

    • Skim coat of 1/16th to 1/8th inch = minimum of 12 hours
    • Add 4 hours for each additional ¼ inch of depth to a maximum of 1"
    • Add 25% more time for high humidity conditions

    MIXING INSTRUCTIONS

    For bucket-mixing
    • Pour one gallon of water into a five gallon pail first
    • Slowly pour the contents of a 50 lb. box of overlay into the bucket while mixing continuously with a drill mixer
    • For best results, use a birdcage, high-shear paddle for bucket mixing
    • Thoroughly combine the water and overlay to insure the dry polymer is saturated and properly dispersed
    • For a thicker consistency, use less water
    • To thin the overlay during application, add water as needed up to a maximum of one additional gallon
    • If using colored concrete pigment, water should be kept uniform for every box of overlay to avoid color discrepancies
    • Pot life for the overlay is approximately 45 minutes and can be extended by 15 minutes by using ice cold rather than room temperature water
    • Ambient temperature will also affect pot life length with cooler temperatures marginally extending and hotter shortening the expected pot life

    To spray the overlay, add up to one gallon of additional water per box of smooth texture overlay until the mixture resembles a thin pancake batter suitable for spraying at 25 psi.

    Complete texture overlay should be sprayed as a base-coat only.

    RESURFACING CONCRETE FLOORS 

    How to Avoid Concrete Overlay Cracks and Problems

    1. Repair any slightly damaged areas such as carpet tack holes or similar imperfections with Concrete Patching Compound and sand flush with the floor before overlaying.
    2. Allow concrete overlay to cure for minimum six hours and sand using a 100-grit pad.
    3. Make sure expansion joints are thoroughly cleaned and free of all debris before overlaying.
    4. Lay a piece of string in the expansion joint before applying the concrete overlay and pull the string immediately to reveal the expansion and allow cement overlay to dry for 12 hours.
    5. Saw cut with a skill saw and a diamond blade if needed.
    6. Ground out structural cracks using a tuck point diamond wheel, thoroughly cleaned and the crack blown out with a leaf blower until dry and completely free of debris.
    7. Fill with a two-component epoxy concrete filler and allow to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.
    8. Proceed with the overlay application.

    How to Resurface Concrete Floors

    1. For floors with more widespread hairline cracks, chips or divets, apply a skim coat of no more 1/8 in.
    2. Slabs that have significant damage such as spalling can be overlaid but the existing concrete must be structurally sound with no foundational cracks and all loose concrete material entirely removed before proceeding.
    3. Use a wet/dry vacuum or leaf blower to remove dirt, organic material and debris.
    4. Wash with a concrete degreaser and water solution and rinse thoroughly.
    5. Machine-troweled or tiled floors should be profiled with a sander using a 60-80 grit pad to "scuff" the surface. Profiling allows the overlay to adhere more securely to the floor.
    6. Floors can be chemically-profiled using a full-strength application of Hard Troweled Floor Pre-Treatment
    7. Apply desired concrete overlay texture

    Smooth Concrete Overlay Trowel Finish

    1. For a smooth concrete finish appearance on a coat depth over 1/8", finish the overlay with a gauge rake and a magic trowel.
    2. For a 1/16th to 1/8th inch skim coat, apply the overlay with either a pool trowel or a squeegee trowel.
    3. The squeegee trowel will allow a less-experienced person to achieve a more uniformly smooth surface.
    4. Use a gauge rake set to the desired depth on floors with up to a ¼ inch overlay.
    5. Follow with a squeegee trowel to smooth out any rake marks or other imperfections.

    Approximate working time for overlay once applied to the substrate:

    • Skim Coat: 3-5 minutes
    • 1/8th inch coat: 5-7 minutes
    • ¼" inch coat: 10-12 minutes

    Ambient and surface temperature will affect working time with cooler temperatures marginally extending and hotter shortening the expected working time.

    Do not attempt to apply Concrete Overlay to surfaces below 40F or above 85F. Hot temperatures can be controlled by moistening the surface with water prior to application

    Applying Textured Concrete Overlay

    For a textured finish, spray the trowel with Concrete Liquid Release Agent and handwork the overlay with a pool trowel.

    Approximate working time for overlay once applied to the substrate:

    • Skim Coat: 3-5 minutes
    • 1/8th inch coat: 5-7 minutes
    • ¼" inch coat: 10-12 minutes

    Ambient and surface temperature will affect working time with cooler temperatures marginally extending and hotter shortening the expected working time. Do not attempt to apply Concrete Overlay to surfaces below 40F or above 85F. Hot temperatures can be controlled by moistening the surface with water prior to application.

    Concrete Spray Texture Finish

    1. Select Smooth Concrete Overlay and mix according to the instructions above for spraying overlay.
    2. Spray a single coverage coat from a flat-work texture gun at 25 psi.
    3. Hold the sprayer at least 6 inches from the surface during application to minimize rebound.
    4. Mix one box at a time as needed.
    5. For a more coarse texture, spray down without further finishing.
    6. For a smoother texture, use a pool or magic trowel immediately after spraying.
    7. Spray trowels with Concrete Liquid Release Agent before use.
    8. Allow drying time of 6-8 hours.

    Stamped Concrete Overlay

    1. Select Complete Overlay for stamping and apply at ¼ in. depth.
    2. Choose stamps or texture mats intended for use with overlay.
    3. Add 1 gallon of water per 50 lb. box, ice water if stamping in hotter temperatures.
    4. Use a gauge rake set to the desired depth on surface.
    5. Follow with a squeegee trowel to smooth out any rake marks or other imperfections.
    6. Allow to dry until the surface can be depressed without sticking.
    7. Apply  Concrete Liquid Release Agent to the stamps, tools and overlay to prevent sticking.
    8. Depending on size of the job and the mats, use at least three stamps or texture mats along with one floppy for any project up to 100 square feet.
    9. For 100-1500 sq. ft. projects, use a set of five stamps or mats and floppy.
    10. Time is limited so make the choice according to crew size and ability.
    11. Assuming 75F and a 100 sq. ft. project, allow for twenty minutes stamping time – slightly more time if colder, less time in hotter temperatures.
    12. If stamping a larger area, one person should be mixing overlay continually while others are applying and stamping.
    13. If the work cannot be completed at one time, do not stop applying in the middle of a section or floor.
    14. End at logical separation, such as an expansion joint, for the best overall finished appearance.

    Stenciled Concrete Overlay

    1. Select Complete Overlay  as a base-coat for stenciling.
    2. Follow the mixing instructions above for spraying overlay.
    3. Spray from a flat-work texture gun at 25 psi.
    4. Hold the sprayer at least 6 inches from the surface during application to minimize rebound.
    5. Mix one box at a time as needed.
    6. Allow to dry for 6 hours before applying the stencil.
    7. Affix the stencil and then carefully spray the top or color smooth texture overlay coat in the same manner.
    8. Pull the stencil after 10 minutes drying time.

    RESURFACING COUNTERTOPS WITH CONCRETE OVERLAY

    Concrete Overlay Over Plywood

    1. Select ¾" plywood with a sturdy base that exhibits no flex.
    2. Attach hardy backer board (or similar concrete board) to the plywood using non-corrosive screws.
    3. Fill all seams with a two-part epoxy and allow for a 16 hours dry time.
    4. Once epoxy has cured, sand the areas down flush using 180-grit non-loading sandpaper.
    5. Thoroughly clean all dust and debris from the surface in preparation for the overlay.
    6. Do not apply overlay directly to unsealed plywood.
    7. Always seal wood first using a urethane or lacquer based sealant.
    8. Allow to dry according to manufacturer's recommendations prior to overlaying.

    Concrete Overlay On Formica Countertops

    1. Ensure the existing countertop is well reinforced and exhibits no flex.
    2. Scuff the surface with a 120-grit non-loading sandpaper.
    3. Wipe the area down with a damp cloth to remove any dust and debris and allow to dry. Fill all seams with a two-part epoxy and allow for a 16 hour cure time.
    4. Once cured, sand the areas down flush using 180-grit non-loading sandpaper.
    5. Thoroughly clean all dust and debris from the surface in preparation for the overlay.
    6. Overlay the vertical surfaces before the countertop face.

    Covering Tile Countertops with Concrete Overlay

    1. Scuff the surface with a 120-grit non-loading sandpaper.
    2. Wipe the area down with a damp cloth to remove any dust and debris and allow to dry.
    3. Fill all seams with a two-part epoxy and allow for a 16 hour cure time. Once cured, sand the areas down flush using 180-grit non-loading sandpaper.
    4. Thoroughly clean all dust and debris from the surface in preparation for the overlay. Overlay the surface and allow to dry for 3-6 hours or until the overlay achieves a uniformly light gray color.
    5. Apply a second skim coat and smooth with a magic trowel to prevent tile "ghosting" unless that is the desired finish.

    Polished Concrete Overlays

    One-Step Concrete Overlay may be polished only when applied at a minimum of ¼" depth or more.

    WALL AND VERTICAL SURFACE CONCRETE OVERLAY

    Troweled Vertical Concrete Overlay

    To trowel overlay on to vertical surface, the overlay consistency needs to be stiff enough to roll into a ball and stick it to the countertop surface.

    Wear vinyl gloves when using this method.

    1. Spray a pool trowel with Concrete Liquid Release Agent and trowel material smooth in an upwards motion.
    2. Scrape the excess overlay off the countertop face with the trowel.
    3. Vacuum clean if needed.

    Spray Texture Concrete Walls

    1. Spray-on vertical application using a drywall texture gun.
    2. Mix the overlay to apply to the edges (about a quart of wet mix per 100 square inches) to the consistency of a thin pancake batter.
    3. Depending on the texture gun used, rotate the nozzle or tip to the ¼"or 6 millimeters or select the same attachment if the gun has interchangeable tips.
    4. Set air pressure to 25 psi and spray material on to the surface.
    5. Once applied, spray the trowel with Concrete Liquid Release Agent and trowel the overlay smooth in an upwards motion.
    6. Scrape the excess overlay off the countertop face with the trowel.
    7. Allow to dry for 3-6 hours or until the overlay achieves a uniformly light gray color.
    8. Apply one additional coat for a more even finish and to avoid shadowing at the seams.
    9. Scrape any overspray together on countertop surface and vacuum.
    10. Once the vertical application is complete, mix the remaining overlay to a thin pancake batter consistency and pour it onto the surface.
    11. Spray the trowel with Concrete Liquid Release Agent and trowel the mixture down smooth with a squeegee trowel.
    12. If acid staining, allow for a 24 hour cure time before proceeding.

    How-To Guide

    Printable Concrete Overlay How-To Guide

    Step 1: Preparation

    Concrete:

    • Cover areas at risk of over-spray with plastic drop cloth.
    • Newly poured concrete must cure for 30 days before application.
    • For existing concrete:
      • Remove paint or previously applied sealer using Soy Gel Stripper.
      • Remove carpet glue or other adhesives using Bean-E-Doo® Mastic Remover.
      • Remove any oils, dirt, debris, Soy Gel Stripper, or Bean-E-Doo® Mastic Remover using scrub brush and ProClean™ Degreaser.
    • Verify absorption by pouring a cup of water in various areas. If not absorbed within five minutes, etch surface with CitrusEtch™, then neutralize surface with ProClean Neutralizer™ and rinse thoroughly.

    Plywood Substrate:

    • Ensure there is no “flex” in the plywood substrate. Weak or flexible areas will lead to the overlay cracking.
    • Once the floor is rigid and well supported, apply a moisture (vapor) barrier over plywood.
    • Attach cement backer board grid-side down to plywood substrate using ceramic-head or non-corrosive screws.

    Tile:

    • Ensure tile is thoroughly cleaned and free of any dirt, debris, or residues – allow to dry completely.
    • Sand tile with 80 grit sanding pad to provide a “scuff”, promoting a good surface for overlay to bond.

    Caution: May be harmful if swallowed or ingested. Contact with skin can cause mild irritation. Avoid contact with eyes. Step 2: Application

    Coverage rate is approximately 75 square feet per 50-pound box when applying a skim coat (thin coat). Coverage rates may

    vary based on concrete texture, surface porosity, and application method.

    NOTE: When applying on surfaces over 90 °F (32 °C), mix Concrete Overlay with ice-cold water (increases working time), then dampen surface with water.

    Mixing:

    • Pour 4.5 - 5 quarts (4.3 - 4.7 liters) of water into a clean five-gallon bucket
      • If using concrete pigment, mix into bucket until thoroughly blended (otherwise streaking will occur).
      • Pigment can settle into bottom edge of bucket; be sure mixing tool reaches this area.
    • Slowly pour 50 pounds of Concrete Overlay into bucket while continuously mixing with a drill mixer.
      • Use a birdcage or double box mixer attachment.
      • Mix for at least three minutes to make sure water and Concrete Overlay have thoroughly combined.
    • Concrete Overlay must be applied within 30 minutes (otherwise product hardens and cannot be used).

    Concrete:

    • Wet surface with water before applying Concrete Overlay.
      • Remove pooled/puddled water from surface with a towel or squeegee.
    • Wear spiked shoes so you can move around freely without affecting the fresh overlay.
    • Starting on the far side, pour ¼ to ½ of the bucket into a puddle onto the surface.
    • Using a 12” or 18” squeegee trowel, maintain steady pressure and pull the overlay toward you as you move backward, leaving a thin skim coat behind.
    • Maintaining a wet edge, continue moving the puddle with the squeegee trowel until it is expended.
      • If you must pause application, do so at a control joint and not mid-way across surface. Stopping mid-way will cause a dry line that will be difficult to blend out when you re-start application.
    • Pour more Concrete Overlay onto the surface as needed and continue pulling it with the squeegee trowel until you have covered the intended surface area.
      • Concrete Overlay will dry faster in higher temperatures and on windy days, requiring you to move relatively quickly.

    Plywood Substrate:

    • Begin by skimming overlay into grout lines, filling low grouted area to be flush with tiles.
      • Allow initial skim to dry for 12-24 hours (depending on temperature and humidity).
      • If grout lines are deep, a second skim may be needed to fill and bring flush with tile surface.
    • Once grout lines are filled and surface is even, apply a skim coat over entire surface following the same method as described below in “First Coat”.
    • Wet surface with water before applying Concrete Overlay.
      • Remove pooled/puddled water from surface with a towel or squeegee.
    • Wear spiked shoes so you can move around freely without affecting the fresh overlay.
    • Starting on the far side, pour ¼ to ½ of the bucket into a puddle onto the surface.
    • Using a 12” or 18” squeegee trowel, maintain steady pressure and pull the overlay toward you as you move backward, leaving a thin skim coat behind.
    • Maintaining a wet edge, continue moving the puddle with the squeegee trowel until it is expended.
      • If you must pause application, do so at a control joint and not mid-way across surface. Stopping mid-way will cause a dry line that will be difficult to blend out when you re-start application.
    • Pour more Concrete Overlay onto the surface as needed and continue pulling it with the squeegee trowel until you have covered the intended surface area.
      • Concrete Overlay will dry faster in higher temperatures and on windy days, requiring you to move relatively quickly.

    Tile:

    • Do not apply Overlay directly on plywood (wood will draw moisture, expand/contract, and Overlay will crack).
    • Begin by skimming overlay into grout lines, filling low grouted area to be flush with tiles.
      • Allow initial skim to dry for 12-24 hours (depending on temperature and humidity).
      • If grout lines are deep, a second skim may be needed to fill and bring flush with tile surface.
    • Once grout lines are filled and surface is even, apply a skim coat over entire surface following the same method as described below in “First Coat”.
    • Wet surface with water before applying Concrete Overlay.
      • Remove pooled/puddled water from surface with a towel or squeegee.
    • Wear spiked shoes so you can move around freely without affecting the fresh overlay.
    • Starting on the far side, pour ¼ to ½ of the bucket into a puddle onto the surface.
    • Using a 12” or 18” squeegee trowel, maintain steady pressure and pull the overlay toward you as you move backward, leaving a thin skim coat behind.
    • Maintaining a wet edge, continue moving the puddle with the squeegee trowel until it is expended.
      • If you must pause application, do so at a control joint and not mid-way across surface. Stopping mid-way will cause a dry line that will be difficult to blend out when you re-start application.
    • Pour more Concrete Overlay onto the surface as needed and continue pulling it with the squeegee trowel until you have covered the intended surface area.
      • Concrete Overlay will dry faster in higher temperatures and on windy days, requiring you to move relatively quickly.

    NOTE: You may choose to apply a second coat depending on success of initial application and/or desired thickness.

    Additional Coats:

    • Allow your first coat to harden and cure for 12 - 24 hours depending on temperatures.
      • If there are bumps or raised edges in the finish of first coat, they can be sanded with a 100-grit sanding pad or overlayed over.
    • Make sure surface is swept clean and free of dirt or debris before applying second coat.
    • Apply second coat using same method as you applied first coat.
      • We recommend that you do not wear spiked shoes on this application as it can lead to dents in the first coat of Concrete Overlay, depending on how well cured it is.

    Pro Tips:

    • If using integral pigments in your mixture, you must measure your Overlay, pigment, and water quantities to be the same every mix. Otherwise, you will have color variations across your project.
    • If more than one batch of Overlay is needed for your project, have a second person on-site to mix while you apply.

    Cleanup:

    • Clean tools and supplies using ProClean Degreaser™ and warm water before Overlay has cured.
    • Clean tools and supplies with mechanical sanding or a concrete dissolver after Overlay has cured.

    Tools & Supplies:

    • Pump-up sprayer
    • Scrub brush, cotton mop or low-speed floor buffer with brush attachment
    • Wet-dry vac or mop bucket
    • Squeegee trowel or gauge rake
    • Plastic drop cloth
    • Drill mixer
    • Bird cage or double box mixer attachment

    Disclaimer: Direct Colors does not warranty or guarantee results (outcomes). Concrete variations or improper application may cause unintended results. Test product on an inconspicuous or small area and allow to fully cure to ensure compatibility and desired result.

    How-To Videos

    Concrete Countertop Overlay Calculator Help

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