How to Select the Perfect Concrete Overlays

by | Feb 16, 2018 | Polished Concrete Toppings, Polished Concrete

Do you love the versatility and durability of concrete, but you don’t want the utilitarian or industrial feel of the cool gray shades? If you’re uncertain about how your concrete will look when the project is complete, you may want to consider implementing a polished concrete topping. You can change the entire look and feel of your space with just one simple step.

Instead of simply polishing the concrete, a topping allows you to uniquely customize your floor based on your design preferences. However, that isn’t all that a concrete topping can offer to selective homeowners and contractors. They have real benefits from a construction standpoint, especially when compared to other types of floor coverings that would achieve a similar visual.

Before you decide on a final topping, you should know TCF West and these prominent benefits and design tips to help you choose the very best one.

Why Choose a Concrete Topping?

When a topping is applied by a professional, you can achieve an endless array of designs, colors, and styles. Your design horizons broaden significantly with concrete toppings, which is why many homeowners and project managers first consider them. Many people don’t realize that toppings offer several large visual advantages over traditional concrete.

The toppings used by professionals don’t have the same propensity to shrink that concrete has. In general, this means that you may be able to achieve a seamless visual instead of incorporating saw cuts to control the concrete shrinkage. You still have the option to add cuts if that fits in with your grand design, but it isn’t a necessity.

Most people are unaware that there are even more advantages to these simple toppings that aren’t quite as visible. A polished concrete topping is far more versatile than traditional polished concrete because it doesn’t require much in the way of surface preparation to correct flaws in the subfloor.

You may not know what condition a concrete subfloor is truly in until the previous floor covering is removed. Perhaps it’s stained, contains major cracks, or has large bolt holes that would impede the seamless and clean aesthetic you envisioned. A polished concrete topper can be poured at 3/8” thick, covering many of these blemishes entirely.

The best part for many contractors is that the floor is finished relatively quickly. Compared to sand and finish wood floors that could take weeks to complete, a polished concrete topper is poured one day and polished the next. This is a great solution for projects that have a strict timeline.

How Do You Choose an Overlay?

There are a number of different styles and overlays that homeowners and interior designers can choose from. The color palette available for overlays and micro-toppings is almost infinite, with customizable shades and stains readily available. Staining and coloring a concrete floor has just as many color options as paint for your interior walls.

When it comes to the various types of toppings, you should keep a few important design tips in mind. After all, the selection of the right concrete topping can make a huge difference in the way your space looks and feels. Read through some of these design tips to help you get a better feel for which topping is the right fit for your project.


Did you know that your concrete floor could have a texture instead of the polished gray slab you envision in many warehouses? A textured style can serve multiple purposes: it helps to hide wear and tear over time, it provides a better grip, and it adds a layer of visual interest to an otherwise monolithic surface.

If you are planning a relatively sparse modern design scheme with simple furniture and colors, a little bit of texture on your polished overlay could add the inviting feature your room is lacking. It’s a simple and practical way to add a little pop of texture without overwhelming a room with knick-knacks.

Texture can take on many different forms, including some that imitate the appearance of natural stone or brick. Many of these styles are achieved through additional steps that can be taken during installation. For example, you may be able to achieve a more textured finish through labor-intensive steps of using a hand trowel, squeegee, or a roller.

Gloss Level

Designers can choose from high-gloss or low-gloss finishes as well. A polished concrete topping with a high gloss finish can help to make an entire room feel more open. Natural and artificial light bounces off the reflective surface, making a space feel both brighter and larger. This is a great option for naturally dark spaces or small rooms.

Low-gloss finishes can help to dilute a space that’s flooded with natural light. Instead of reflecting it back into the environment, a low-gloss finish will absorb some of the bright rays of sunlight. These are best incorporated in large areas with lots of natural light.


Do you want a floor that has significantly more visual appeal than a standard polished concrete floor? Seeding your polished concrete topping with different types of aggregate or colored glass can be a great way to build a unique visual and incorporate several different colors into the floor. It can be as subtle or as obvious as you desire for the floor covering to be.

According to experts, this is still a developing aspect of the industry that is currently growing in popularity. The installation of seeded polished concrete overlays can be an inexpensive way of achieving a highly sought-after finish, if you have a professional experienced with this type of topping.

Polished concrete toppings are a great way to create a unique and customizable aesthetic on any project. At a much lower price point than similar visuals, this floor covering provides an excellent selection for prospective designers and homeowners. Consider all of the construction benefits that these simple overlays have to offer before determining if a polished concrete topping could be the right choice for your next project.


Technical Concrete Finishes

CEOMichael Rosenblat

With over 20 years in the field of technical concrete finishes, I offer a deep experience and precision in design and application of concrete floors. As founder of TCF West, I lead my team in crafting durable, aesthetically striking industrial floors. In this blog, I share industry insights to help elevate your space through quality flooring. Let’s connect to transform your environment with custom floors that meet your needs.