Frequently Asked Questions

Microcement & Microconcrete

Here it is folks, our list of most frequently asked questions about our microcement products  You’ll see that we’ve linked a few of them together when they’re related. Please do not forget to contact us if you can’t find the answers you need; we are here to help.

Will A Microcement Crack?

A crack in an anhydrite screedA crack in an anhydrite screedA crack in an anhydrite screedA crack in an anhydrite screed
A Crack In An Anhydrite Screed

Cracks in finished floor surfaces are common in all material types: tiles, resin, polished concrete, timber, vinyl. They just present themselves in different ways that are not always so apparent. Cracks in grout joints, ripples under vinyl, lippage in timber flooring etc. One floor surface is not inherently better than another at dealing with cracks.

Cracks come from the substrate below the finished floor and often caused by the modern floor designs we now aspire to have; underfloor heating systems, none rectangular rooms, columns in rooms, refusal to have movement joints, using insulation as a perimeter joint. Incorrect curing and drying of floor substrates and commissioning of underfloor heating are a major cause of problems.

Our microcement floor and wall products are designed to be dimensionally stable, shrinkage comensated with a high degree of flexibility. CARRcrete microcement products will not crack, unless they are forced to crack by tensile forces being applied to them in excess of the products design. This is the same for all microcement and microconcrete products on the market.

When we are asked to consult on cracked overlay floors (from a wide range of manufacturers) there is always one thing in common. The substrate (screed, concrete slab, tiles) has a crack beneath the micro overlay. That shows us that the crack has transmitted through to the surface from the substrate below. By slipping a feeler gauge into the crack, you will often find  the crack penetrating far in excess of the thickness of the micro overlay.

If you imagine our product is just 3mm thick, or the thickness of 4-5 playing cards. It cannot be expected to hold back the movement in substrates such as floors and walls which are much thicker and have considerably more mass.

The key to crack free installations is to have well constructed and cured floor slabs and screeds that have been allowed to dry thoroughly, are installed over slip membranes and have movement and perimeter joints where required. During a site survey any cracks or problem areas where visible would be highlighted to the contractor/client.

Is A Microcement Waterproof?

A microcement bathroom floor and shower trayA microcement bathroom floor and shower trayA microcement bathroom floor and shower trayA microcement bathroom floor and shower tray
A Microcement Bathroom Floor And Shower Tray

Unfortunately the construction industry has a history of using ‘water proof’ and ‘water resistant’ interchangeably, which is highly misleading and used only to garner more sales. So when you read that X brand of microcement or microconcrete is waterproof, what they actually mean is that they are water resistant.

But don’t worry, water resistant is still pretty awesome and a great base line to work from.

The polymer ingredients in microcements greatly reduce their porosity to a fraction of what they would be without such additives. Cement is inherently water resistant once cured, the polymer improves on these natural properties as well improving a wide range of over factors. Microcements are still slightly porous until they are sealed 

As long as you seal your product correctly and maintain in accordance with manufacturers recommendations you will have years of trouble free beautiful flooring.

What Colours Can I Have?

Small colour samples of microcementSmall colour samples of microcementSmall colour samples of microcementSmall colour samples of microcement
A Small Batch Of Microcement Colour Samples In Production

One of the great things about our microcement overlays is the wide range of colours available. We are constantly working on new colours and shades to create new effects and pallettes for our clients.

The most popular and most purchased are the grey tones, but we have a wide range of exciting colours such as blues, greens, reds, yellows. All which can be blended to create unique variations for a total bespoke floor or wall feature finish.

Our unique liquid polymer is mixed with liquid colours before mixing with the microcement powders, this thoroughly and indelibly colours the product for life.

We also have metallic tones in developement to further enhance the look of these amazing surface finishes.

No two projects are the same, each one is unique to itself.

Do You Provide Samples?

A client selecting his microcement sampleA client selecting his microcement sampleA client selecting his microcement sampleA client selecting his microcement sample
A Client Selecting His Microcement Sample

We do have small dimension samples which can be supplied by post to prospective clients. We also have larger format samples which are provided to clients who are booked into our diary. Usually on a site visit we will bring along multiple samples to demonstrate the colours and effects possible.

Do You Conduct A Site Survey?

A photo from a microcement site surveyA photo from a microcement site surveyA photo from a microcement site surveyA photo from a microcement site survey
A Photo From A Site Survey

For all confirmed clients, we do undertake a site survey before any microcement works begin. It is incredibly important for us to assess the suitability of the substrate and the site for our products.

During the site survey we will check the strength of the substrate, identify possible problems areas which may cause issues with the overlay. Checks for power, water and access will also be carried out.

How Resistant To Staining Is A Microcement?

As we have mentioned previously, microcement in its unsealed state is still porous to a small degree. But when correctly sealed with our combination of impregnating and topical sealers  stain resistance is very high.

This combination of sealers forms a strong, abrasion resistant barrier that gives a high resistance to water and oil based stains. Regular maintenance keeps the sealed surface in prime condition, failing to maintain will increase the risk of premature wear and seal failure.

We would always recommend removing the spill or contaminant as soon as possible to prevent potential slip hazards and damage as a result of neglecting the problem.

In the UK, slips and falls are one of the greatest causes of work place injury, by maintaining surfaces correctly and removing contaminants as soon as practical you are reducing potential dangers.

How Is Microcement Sealed?

A concrete floor being sealedA concrete floor being sealedA concrete floor being sealedA concrete floor being sealed
We Use The Same High Performance Sealers On Our Concrete Floors

Sealing of a microcement is very important, not only to help prevent staining, but also to increase the abrasion resistance further than the unsealed microcement may offer.

Whilst the CARRcrete microcement are inherently less porous than many overlays products on the market, they do need to be sealed to be fully protected. We do this with a combination of sealers, an impregnator plus a topical sealer.

The first step to sealing our micro overlay, is our CARRcrete MicroSeal impregnating pre-sealer. The MicroSeal pre-sealer is a breathable water based solution of acrylic and polyurethane that soaks into the surface, coating the minute pores and grains of quartz within the final top layer of product. This sealer adds a little additional colour and is almost transparent with a matt finish.

This sealer alone is more than capable of standing up to water and oil based stains. This sealer also increases the overall strength and abrasion resistance of the microcement.

The second step is to apply two-three coats of our topical coating sealer. This topical sealer is again a breathable polyurethane solution which is applied over the pre-sealed surface. The water based solvent carriers allows the guard product to adhere to the fully sealed surface below.

By adding two-three coats of our topical coating, you are creating a fantastic stain resistant layer to the finished product. These layers of sealer do increase the colour and gloss of the products applied and provide an easily maintained, highly abrasion resistant coating.

Can A Microcement Overlay Be Damaged?

A microcement or microconcrete layer like most other finished floor surfaces such as timber flooring, resin, natural stone tiles, vinyl flooring such as Amtico and Karndean, can be damaged through misuse, neglect and deliberate methods.

In short, a fully sealed CARRcrete microcement is a tough coating, it doesn’t get damaged unless you really try to cause the damage or are extremely careless, don’t maintain the surface or don’t take precautions to prevent damage. Or have used your underfloor heating in excess of our recommend temperatures.

For example, one of our applicators told us about a team of delivery men dragging a huge Amerian style fridge freezer across both a hardwood timber floor and his microcement floor on their way to the kitchen area. Both of floors were damaged by the process of dragging the 400kg machine on two small wheels.

The main culprit of the damage was the grit left on the hallway floor, which then transferred itself to the wheels of the fridge. Combine the cheap abrasive grit with the point pressure from a 400kg lump of an appliance and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. If the floor had been clean, the damage would have been much less, more than likely the wheels would have turned consistently and not dragged.

Microcement overlays take a lot of pressure to dent, far more so than many timber or resin floor options. If they are denting more easily than they should, the strength of the substrate should be investigated. Other than this, it is more than certain that the damage is deliberate through prolonged and repeated abuse.

Suitable For Use Over Underfloor Heating?

Our microcement products are more than suitable for use over an underfloor heated screed or concrete slab. The polymers we use allow our products to flex inline with tiny thermal movements caused by the heating.

As microcement overlays are only 3mm thick, they let heat pass through from the heating pipes with very little resistance; far less than tiles or timber flooring.

It is imperative to comission the underfloor heating correctly to prevent the screed or slab below the microcement from cracking and also to set the maximum water temperature at the heating manifold to 35’c. Water temperatures above this figure will increase the risk of the substrate below of cracking, degrading of the sealer and potentially softening the floor so it can be dented.

How Long Does It Take To Install A Microcement?

A microcement can take between two to five days to install allowing for drying and hardening time of each coat of product, the number of coats and application of sealers.

Applying a microcement overlay is a time and labour intensive process, there is no short cut way to install them correctly. The more care and attention given to preparation and application, the better the finish and greater the durability of the products.

When Is The Best Time To Install A Microcement?

Micro overlay systems are very accommodating of the construction industry, an industry that is renown for delays, schedule changes and scheme alterations, as such we often install our microcement to floors and walls before second fix, before studded walls are erected or even after the project is complete, working around fixtures and fittings such as door ways and kitchen units.

With the microcement being applied by hand with a trowel in multiple layers, great freedom is offered to designers, contractors and ultimately the end client because of the way the product is applied.

It is important to apply the product in an environment between 10’c and 30’c, that is weather tight and dry without complications of debris blowing across the surface. Other than that, applicators can jump into a project when it suits and is convenient.

Will A Microcement Dent?

It is important to realise that microcement overlays even though they are so thin, they are incredibly tough and resistant to denting, they do not fall to bits under foot traffic. But that is not to say they cannot be dented, anything surface can be damaged with deliberate actions.

A thin overlay product piggy backs is compressive strength from the substrate below. For example, take playing card in your hand, you can freely bend the card with your fingers. But place the same card onto a table top and you can no longer bend or dent the card. The table top is hard and rigid and the card now matches this.

CARRcrete microcements are much tougher than the competition, with their ECO friendly combination of glass, quartz and our unique binder formula we can offer a level of robustness that our competitors struggle to match.

If a floor should dent, the first thing to check is the temperature of your underfloor heating. Heat softens all polymers and as such, high temperatures should be avoided.

Is A Microcement Easy To Clean?

Yes, very easy to clean and maintain. All you need are microfibre mops and our pH neutral cleaner maintaining fluid. If you use a microfibre mop on a regular basis in a dry fashion, you will effectively remove a large amount of dust and debris from the sealed microcement surface.

Our MicroCare cleaning product should be used weekly to disinfect, clean and maintain the sealed surface to help protect your investment.