Q: Do you have any information on the long-term performance of polymer overlays?

This question on CC’s LinkedIn group drew a variety of responses. One of the more thoughtful came from John Kazalonis, supervisor at D. E. Contreras Construction Inc., Lemon Grove, Calif.

A: My experience is that coatings can be an excellent surface solution for the appropriate use. I started using polymer concrete overlay products 25 years ago. There are some exterior applications and many interior applications we installed that are still going strong after 25 years, and some that failed after only a few. I’ve learned a lot over this time and have come to the following conclusions:

  • Quality, proven materials are an absolute must. [Use products with] a proven track record. [Kazalonis generally uses Concrete Solutions’ Ultra Surface.]
  • Proper surface preparation is very important (probably the most important). Preparation not only includes properly cleaning a surface, but also profiling it to receive a coating. Preparation also includes evaluation of and treatment for moisture vapor issues. If you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for properly selecting, mixing, and applying materials, the finished result is generally extremely strong and durable. The finished appearance is something that comes with artistry and experience, and generally isn’t a reflection on the material.
  • Maintenance is a must. There is no overlay product that does not need proper maintenance cleaning, repair, and periodic resealing.
  • Lastly, a coating should not be oversold. I’m not afraid to tell a potential customer not to spend any money on a resurfacing system if I think the substrate is substandard or if a coating is not appropriate for the intended use.