Pouring a Cement Overlay

This story shows how to pour and color a cement overlay.


Before pouring a self-leveling compound, prepare the subfloor according to the manufacturer's directions so you'll achieve a sound bond between old and new.

For concrete remove loose pieces and sweep away dirt and debris. Repair large cracks. If the overlay manufacturer recommends it, clean the concrete and apply a bonding agent or primer for improved adhesion of the bonding layer.

A wood subfloor should be stable with plywood sheets or boards securely nailed so there's no give. These instructions are for pouring an overlay over wood. Felt helps ensure a good bond.

Prestart Checklist

About 2-1/2 hours for a 12x12-foot room to lay felt and pour compound; about 2 hours to trowel thin finish for the same-size room; about 3 hours to protect surfaces and apply acid stain

Staple gun, aviation snips, drill equipped with a mixing paddle, gauge rake, squeegee, putty knife, trowel, plastic-body sprayer, paint roller equipped with an extension handle

Using a staple gun and a gauge rake; troweling

Prepare subfloor

#30 felt, metal lath, galvanized staples, self-leveling compound, colorant, concrete thin finish, painter's tape, masking paper, acid stain, ammonia, clear sealer

Step 1

Carefully remove the baseboards so they can be reinstalled later; remove old flooring, if any, to expose wood subfloor. Roll out 30-pound felt paper and staple to secure.

Step 2

Install the metal lath so it runs perpendicular to the felt paper and overlap by 2 inches. (Cut metal lath to fit using aviation snips.) Use a hammer so lath lays flat. Secure lath so it lays tight against the subfloor, driving in 1-1/2-inch galvanized staples every 2 inches with the pneumatic stapler.

Step 3

Following the manufacturer's directions use the drill equipped with a mixing paddle to combine water and self-leveling compound in a 5-gallon bucket. Pour and spread the compound one bucket at a time.

Step 4

Begin pouring compound in the farthest corner of the room. Use a gauge rake, set at 1/4 inch, to spread the compound over the metal lath. Push the compound into the corners using a squeegee or a putty knife if needed. This layer will need to dry 10 to 20 hours.

Step 5

Following the manufacturer's directions add colorant to 6-1/2 quarts water in a 5-gallon bucket. (Select a hue that provides a compatible base coat for the stain.) Wear a dust mask and use the drill and mixing paddle to blend in a 55-pound bag of thin finish. This mixture will be thinner than the self-leveling compound. Dampen the floor with water using a plastic-body sprayer. Use a squeegee to spread the thin finish. Let dry.

Step 6

For the second layer of thin finish, mix the colorant into 5-1/2 quarts of water and add the thin finish powder. Dampen the floor with water as before and use a trowel to spread the thin finish. Let dry overnight.

Comments (5)
sgfsd wrote:

Download over 16,000 WOODWORKING PLANS at here woodworkingplanspro.weebly.com Woodworking guide offers anyone of any skill level the ability to build amazing projects. The guide is extra helpful because it offers more detailed explanations, videos and blueprints then your typical woodworker magazine . Hope it will help you next time !

6/9/2016 01:33:04 PM Report Abuse
integrity_pries wrote:

installing concrete overlay over ceramic tile

8/20/2015 08:40:20 PM Report Abuse
romer691 wrote:

Please post something on how to pour an overlay on uneven cement flooring.

7/3/2013 03:35:51 AM Report Abuse
denise_arsenaul wrote:

good question! I have the same question

3/8/2012 09:56:22 AM Report Abuse
dachenhausen wrote:

do you need to apply felt paper and metal lath if the floor is already cement?

3/28/2011 04:58:02 PM Report Abuse
Add your comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Register | Log In
Find a Pro

Get free quotes from prescreened professionals in your area.