What Is Microcement?

What Is Microcement? Let Us Explain What Microcement Floors And Walls Are

What Is Microcement?

Microcement or Microcemento as it commonly known in europe, is a very fine coating of cement combined with fine aggregates mixed with water based liquid polymers. The coating is made up of between three to four very thin coats of product. In a similar way to Venetian plasters polished plasters such as Marmarino and Gracello.

Usually two base coat layers which include cement and larger particles of sand to create strength and durability, along with two finer finish coats of cement and fine filler to create the texture and tone of the microcement application.

Imagine a cross section of plywood board, you’ll see that it is comprised of multiple thin layers which are glued together. It is these multiple layers that give the board extra strength and durability.

These plywood layers are somewhat of a similar idea behind microcement and microconcrete overlays, in that they are also comprised of multiple thin layers bonded together. Each layer has a slightly different texture which is sanded to ensure a key for the next layer to adhere to.

In the case of our MicroWall and MicroFloor overlays, the aggregates used in the based layers have been specifically chosen to interlock with one another; like a dry stone wall. This increases both the compressive and tensile strength of our micro overlay products.

Because microcement mixtures often use a liquid polymer opposed to water, they tend to have increased bond strength to substrates, offer greater resistance to water and are inherently more flexible than standard concretes and plasters.

CARRcrete laying a microcement floor in NottinghamshireCARRcrete laying a microcement floor in NottinghamshireCARRcrete laying a microcement floor in NottinghamshireCARRcrete laying a microcement floor in Nottinghamshire
The microcement application process

How Is CARRcrete MicroWall & MicroFloor Different?

Our microcement overlay products for floors and walls; CARRcrete MicroWall and MicroFloor, were designed in-house by our professional applicators for fellow professionals to offer superior performance in multiple areas. Both of our products boast: ease of use, excellent abrasion resistance, superb flexibility, enhanced crack and shrinkage resistance. Along with a highly environmentally friendly formulation.

Available in two base layer thicknesses, extra coarse 1.5mm and standard base 0.5mm. Plus we have finer layers available in medium and fine. Used together in subsequent layers to produce stunning and highly resilient, seamless floors and walls. Simply mix with our pre-coloured polymer liquids.

Our technically advanced formulations do not use sand as their main aggregate, do not use calcium carbonate at all, so they offer hundreds of time greater wear resistance. MicroFloor and MicroWall are also free of both portland cement and high alumina cement, binders which are renowned for shrinkage and cracking. Our next generation cement binder is naturally light in colour and produces 20% CO2 during manufacture than comparable OPC binders.

It is fair to say that our products lead the way in both technical prowess and ECO friendliness.

Microcement being applied over floor tilesMicrocement being applied over floor tilesMicrocement being applied over floor tilesMicrocement being applied over floor tiles
Microcement Can Be Applied Over Tiles

Uses And Benefits Of Microcement

Microcement and Microconcrete overlay products are highly adaptable to many different applications. For example you can use a microcement overlay to cover both new and existing floors, cover tiled surfaces to produce a stylish polished concrete type finish.

The same products can cover walls to create the look of a concrete wall or partition, yet offering considerably more flexibility and crack resistance than a standard concrete. And without the thickness associated with concrete. For example a microcement installation is approximately 3mm in thickness, opposed to 100mm for a standard concrete slab.

As long as the substrate has been correctly prepared and is movement and vibration free, you can more than likely apply a microcement or microconcrete product to the surface.

Further examples of how a microcemento can be used, as a coating for furniture such a worktops and countertops, coffee and dining tables, stairs and partitions. Suitable for both interior and exterior application, a microcemento product such as CARRcrete MicroWall or MicroFloor are high durable and beautiful finish for many new and existing substrates.

Because our products consist of recycled media, quartz and premium liquid polymers, along with a highly abrasion and water resistant solvent sealer. You can expect our microcement installations to last years. All without the excess build up associated with standard concrete, so greater heat transfer from underfloor heating; which means less heating costs overall.

A microcement conference table and floorA microcement conference table and floorA microcement conference table and floorA microcement conference table and floor
A microcement conference table and floor in progress

Difference Between Microcement And Polished Concrete

Whilst a power trowelled polished concrete floor looks quite similar to a microcement overlay floor, they are as explained above, very different in construction. Where a concrete floor is placed in one thick slab which is then tamped and flattened before smoothing off with multiple passes with a power trowel. This power trowelled surface then needs to be left for around a month to cure out and harden, before any diamond polishing begins and finally sealed.

The construction of an overlay is very different and is made of multiple individual thin veneers that are applied and allowed to harden before sanding smooth and applying further layers. Each layer adds additional smoothness, colour and tone to the finished surface. The individual layers are part of a system and required to get the best over finish from the microconcrete overlay.

As a concrete floor is incredibly heavy, the locations where one can be placed are greatly limited. Whereas an overlay is mixed conveniently in a bucket and hand applied to the chosen areas, so there is far greater scope for installation in weight and height restricted areas. Overlays can be applied around kitchen units and up to skirting and kick boards etc. They can also be applied to both new and existing substrates, so again we have loads of scope for application.

To know more about polished concrete flooring, please check out our other website.

A polished concrete floor by CARRcreteA polished concrete floor by CARRcreteA polished concrete floor by CARRcreteA polished concrete floor by CARRcrete
A polished concrete floor can look similar to microcement

Are There Any Downsides To Microcement Overlays?

I wouldn’t necessarily call them downsides, but there are certain brands of overlay out there that are not that good. By simply breaking down their formulations you can see that they are very basic, the ingredients are pretty old hat and far from keeping up the curve of innovation.

A lot of microcement products contain calcium carbonate as a fine filler, which is basically a cheap chalk-like material that smoothes out the mixture somewhat. But calcium carbonate is weak, soft and easily abraded away. So if you’ve heard stories about overlays being dented by foot traffic, a large portion of this can be attributed to this.

Also it worth bearing in mind that many of the microcement brands on the market are actually made by the same companies, same products just different brand names and white labels. So do your research.

All CARRcrete microcement products are manufactured by ourselves in Nottinghamshire, this is something we are very proud of. Our products are used by numerous industry professionals on hundreds of square metres of project every year.

Do Microcement Floors Crack?

Almost any surface finish be it microcement, polished concrete, tiles, timber floors, resin can be cracked and/or damaged if it is subjected to force or movement greater than the tensile strength of the finishing product.

For example, if a floor screed beneath tiles should move during commissioning of an underfloor heating system, chances are that the tiles will crack down the grout lines. Excessive movement where flexible adhesive has not been used may force the tiles themselves to crack.

So it is entirely possible to crack a microcement floor in the same scenario or movement caused by another issue translates through to the microcement finish. A 3mm thick layer of product cannot hold back the stress of a screed or concrete substrate at either 50mm or 100mm thickness.

Substrate design and correct commissioning of underfloor heating systems are very important things to consider.

Conclusion

Microcement products from CARRcrete are an ideal alternative to polished concrete and polished plasters. They are extremely versatile being able to adhere and cover a wide range of substrates. Being a bespoke product, CARRcrete are able to colour the products inhouse to ensure you get the look and feel you desire in your concrete flooring or wall projects.