How is your decorative concrete coating looking? Is it time for some maintenance?

There is a hidden downside to the lighter colours and finishes popular in the decorative overlay industry which has to do with sealing and maintenance.

Lighter colours tend to get dirty and show wear much faster than darker colours, which means the sealer and maintenance products need to meet a higher standard of durability. Lighter colours demand more attention,” therefore we see a trend toward the use of better-quality sealers.

Lighter colours and cleaner finishes also demand a higher calibre of sealer. Acrylics are no longer the only option for decorative concrete, and especially decorative overlays. High-solids polyurethanes, polyaspartics, and epoxies are now commonplace, especially in high-traffic and commercial applications.

It is especially critical to have a high-solids sealer protecting thin-section overlays like micro toppings because the overlay will not withstand direct traffic long before beginning to wear. High-performance coatings may cost as much as three to five times more than acrylic sealers, but can last years longer.

There is also a noticeable trend with sealers on decorative overlays shifting toward matte and satin finishes. In many instances today a high-gloss finish is practically the only option available. For decades, the “wet look” was all anyone wanted. This trend held fast and was embraced by the decorative overlay industry, however, in the last few years, though, the trend has shifted away from gloss toward matte and satin finishes.

The combination of lighter colours and simpler designs has also drawn more designers and installers to embrace matte sealers because they tend to hide scratches and wear better.

When it comes to sealer selection, people tend to spend time and money focusing on the topping with little thought to the sealer. Our customers and applicators need to be educated on the importance of sealers and maintenance.

Concrete overlays are thin for the most part, which means the sealer is a critical part of the overlay flooring system as a whole. Maintenance schedules are important, yet they are often left out of the scope of work when installing decorative overlays. The good news is that Barefoot Concrete educates our installers and end-users to embrace better quality sealer systems and best practice maintenance for all forms of decorative concrete.