Concrete enhancement surfacing
Posted By MyGuy
As a licensed and certified application contractor in the coatings installation
industry, we are asked what can be done to maintain and protect enhanced
surfaces and avoid coating breakdown. The most common mistake we see most
people make is that they do not maintain their coatings whether it is
lace decking around the pool, stamped concrete or an overlay renovation
in outdoor living areas. All of these types of surfaces can be repaired
if repairs are done at the first sign of surface problems. These are the
top five things to look for in an enhanced surface so that you don't
have issues later down the road.
"THE BIG 5"
- Voids or holes
- Changes in coloring or fading of surface sealers
- Peeling or delaminating
To do nothing at the first sign of surface breakdown can lead to expensive
replacement cost instead of affordable repairs that can even be budgeted
and planned every few years. To ignore an existing enhanced surface if
it is stamped concrete, stamped overlay, hand trowel finish or lace decking
in a pool environment is delaying the needed maintenance to protect your
investment. The perception that many people have is that the enhanced
surface will need to be completely replaced and that it will be very expensive
and unaffordable. There are a percentage of installers that want to sell
you a new surface that can cost thousands instead of making repairs. In
most cases repairs can be made to match the existing surface, thereby
cutting the project cost by half or more. All enhanced surfaces or coatings
have to be sealed periodically.Enhanced surfaces that are maintained properly
can last decades.
The 3 most common concrete enhancement surfaces:
- Lace decking most commonly used in pool and wet areas
- Stamped overlay textures and patterns
- Hand trowel finish applied in different patterns
- This is the coolest surface to walk on
- Can be repaired
- The entire area can be color sealed to provide a safe and cool surface
in wet areas
- Typically, pool chemicals do not affect this surface and it is esthetically
pleasing in earth tone colors
- The most common, and often cooler, colors are the lighter shades which
perform better in direct sunlight over time
- A common issue with the lace surface is chipping
- The experts recommend replacement of lace surface in that area in between
the concrete joints, and then color seal the entire lace decking in that
area too as a repair solution
This is a very attractive surface. They can require the most maintenance
depending on the texture and pattern which are numerous in architectural
Issues to watch out for are:
- color fading
Repairs can be made, and colors matched, depending on the age of the overlay
and maintenance performed. We recommend all stamped overlays be cleaned
and resealed every 2 -5 years depending on what sealers are used.
Hand Trowel Finish:
This also a very attractive surface and a customer favorite due to the
fact that the texture is similar to that of flagstone and natural stone
surfaces, so it has a natural look.
- It is easy to wash off or sweep
- Safe to use in wet areas
- Limitless color selections
- Patterns can be applied like tile, stone, or the most common and flagstone
The advantage with this finish is the texture does not hold water avoiding
common hard water stains. We recommend all stamped overlays be cleaned
and resealed every 2 -5 years depending on what sealers area used.
Tips for Do-It-Yourselfers:
- Being cautious, if a pressure washer is used, not to use too much pressure
that you remove the protective sealer or even the enhanced surface being
protected by the sealer. Use a wide fan pressure washer tip away from
the surface to remove the dirt and leave the sealer intact. Over use or
misuse of a pressure washer can damage the area and reduce the life if
- Choose a cleaner that is non-toxic and non-acidic. No bleaches are allowed
on typical enhanced surface coatings. The use of citrus or orange cleaners
is not recommended as well due to the acidic content. When cleaning, it
is important to remove all cleaner and standing water, due to the hard
water issues in the valley that can leave mineral deposits on a newly
- Self-performed repairs by the homeowner are possible but not recommended.
Knowing what products to use and the process involved can be complicated
and requires experience to repair correctly. For the do-it-yourself person,
we highly recommend that you do not buy repair products from the major
retail outlets. The products on the shelf are not designed specifically
for the surface at your home or business. The professionals that are trained
and qualified know what products are best suited for the areas of repair
and work closely with the manufactures to understand how surfaces are
to be prepared and products applied for quality and longevity.
The key is knowing when and who to call for an honest repair quote. Unfortunately,
this industry has seen a lot of companies come and go due to many reasons.
Do your homework when searching for a company for these types of repairs.
Ask to look at hard samples or pictures when possible to help communicate
the final look you would like to achieve. Be cautious if a company just
wants to install their "own" product. In our experience, replacement
has been necessary for surfaces that have been installed, but were not
designed for that area. Manufacturers design various products for particular
areas based on the conditions to minimize maintenance and create a long
lasting enhanced surface.
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