Types of Trowels Used with Concrete Overlays

Trowels have evolved to become a very handy concrete-laying tool on the industry market today, and many installers find all the benefits and uses for them in the world.

There are a select couple of different types of trowels, and each one suits an installer’s preferences.

Check out some of our troweled concrete overlays here

Hand Trowel

A hand trowel is a long, rectangular device that concrete installers use to finish concrete also is often used with overlays. You can optionally use a rectangle-shaped trowel, often called a ‘square-edged’ trowel or, you can use a pool trowel (it’s the same thing as a square-edged one, but the corners are round and smooth.)

When it comes to the size of a hand trowel, they are usually about 24’’ long, but you can get very short ones that are only 4’’ long (it all depends on what you need it for).

Hand trowels offer more control and an up-close experience, which allows the installer to create interesting textured surfaces with the trowel, or to simply create unique and different effects.

If you are looking to use one of these, it would be good to practice before actually using one a concrete floor.concrete overlay ottawa

Funny Trowel

The funny trowel may be the punchline, but it’s the joke involved that will help you to master this tool. Basically, think of a squeegee (which can also be used as a tool for overlays). Alternately, you can also imagine a hand trowel on a long stick.

The biggest advantage to a funny trowel is that, if you do not like working on your hands and knees with a hand trowel, this trowel allows you to be in a standing position while working your concrete magic. You can also create textures that you normally would either not be able to make at all, or would have greater trouble with, that you cannot with the hand trowel.

The funny trowel takes a long time to master using, as concrete isn’t exactly water…you will have to use some force when you push the funny trowel through. However, do not overdo it! Trowelling a surface repeatedly will cause air bubbles and generally moisture to appear in the concrete, which can be very bad for you (and your customer).

Having been that said, these are the two primary trowels that a concrete overlay installer will use.

Choosing a Decorative Concrete Colour for Your New Floor

Coloured concrete has become one of the biggest requests that clients make as of the last few years, and you are also one of these client so when the time comes to install a coloured concrete floor, you must make a decision.decorative concrete floor colour

How do you figure out what colour would be best for your floor?

Well, if this is your home, you could choose your favorite colour. However, some clients do not care for colour, but instead, they prefer to go with colours that are more earthy in nature (terra cotta is a very popular choice in that respect).

One of the major things is that if you have a business, and your new floor is for your business, then consider what your company colours are. If your company’s colours are purple with mixes of verdant green, then you may want a purple floor with gradients of green blended into it.

Another concept you could consider when choosing colour is the overall feel you wish to leak into the room. If a client looks at your floor, the colour will determine what mood your business is giving off. If you’re running a business selling bunny rabbits, you might want a pink floor. Be you male or female, a pink floor screams innocence in waves. So, a pink floor will make the client feel more at ease and willing to look at the bunnies with a better eye.

If your business is selling lemonade energy drinks, you may want the floor to be a mildly vibrant green, because then the colour of green would likely make the client feel refreshed upon entering your room. Therefore, the client is inevitably persuaded into purchasing your lemonade.

If you like the natural look of concrete, sometimes a polish is all you need to establish that earthy grey tone. Covering a natural polish with a sealer will also help bring out the beauty of the stone and aggregate colours.

But back to homes for the closing; you would also do well to choose a colour that reflects the walls on the inside or outside of your home. Check out our gallery and let us know what colour of concrete would look best for your flooring needs.


Styling Your Concrete Floors to Meet these Top Trends

concrete stain ottawaA Concrete Basement Floor You’d be Floored Over

When it comes to the basement floor above, and getting it to be a very close match, you’ll want an 80-grip diamond grind 17’’ machine from HTC, and this will be for evening out the surfaces along your concrete floor (you can also use this machine to remove excess concrete and materials from the floor). Using Camel dye (Brickform’s is recommended), you can seal on and dye the entire floor with colour. After this, use a low solids epoxy sealer.

After the floor is dry, commence using Sand colour (again, Brickform’s (mixing brands is a bad thing to do here)), and this will make the concrete darker and more earthy in its tone. After this, it is time to use that sealant again to seal the new colour.

If you’re looking for a border effect, a darker coloured epoxy can be used to create a four-inch border around your entire room, and you can finish off with a clear coat.

concrete overlay ottawa

Acid-Staining Without Acid-Staining

If you have a concrete floor that is in bad shape and you need to replace it, think again – instead, try using a method that can make your old floor new again by looking acid-stained without actually being acid-stained. You must use a white skim coat, a taped tile pattern, a beige spray coat, which is knocked down with a trowel, which should be immediately followed by a highlight spray of charcoal gray, and then an antique coat of desert beige.

The interesting part is that the seal coat is a water-based sealer, which ends up being poured and smoothed onto the floor with a squeegee. When it comes to the second coating, it requires being rolled on the floor with rollers.

Have an idea for a unique concrete floor design? Contact one of our specialists today!


DIY Polished Concrete Floors: Should You Polish Your Own Concrete Floor?

Decisions decisions, If you want an awesome polished concrete floor that you’ve saved an image of on Pinterest, then you may be struggling with the following question; should I do this floor myself or hire a team of concrete professionals to do it for me?DIY Polished Concrete Floors: Should You Polish Your Own Concrete Floor?

If you decide to do it all yourself, where do you get started? What do you do once you’re ready? Well, first things first, what do you actually need to polish a concrete floor? It is heavily advised that you have the following: (regarding the polishing disks and machine, it would be wise to purchase them outright instead of renting them)


  • Clean water
  • A broom
  • Polishing machine (a floor grinder)
  • Special concrete polish
  • An industrial  vacuum cleaner
  • A mild detergent
  • A dustpan
  • A bucket and a mop
  • Special polishing disks (they must have 250 grit or more than that)


Once you have these materials, you’ll be able to start the polish of your concrete floor.

Your Effort V.S the Professionals

Hiring a Contractor

There are positives and negatives to both polishing a concrete floor yourself, as well as bringing in a contractor to do so. Bringing in a contractor can cause you to rack up a much larger bill than you would if you attempted to do the work yourself because of labour costs.

However, the major plus to hiring a professional concrete contractor is that if you hire a good contractor, you will get the professional result of your concrete floor looking beautifully polished, and properly completed.


Deciding to go ahead and do it all by yourself after all has its pluses, but it also has a huge negative. The pluses are that you will gain personal experience, and you’ll be able to manage the upkeep on your floor without having to hire a contractor.

Another plus is that you will be able to design your floor how you want it, without having to verbally demand to a contractor what should and shouldn’t be done.

In closing, however…there is a BIG negative. There’s a huge chance that if you are indeed a first-timer at this, you could muck up your floor and be left with a huge mess…you’ll end up having to call in the contractor anyways and pay even more to have them fix your mistake.

Weigh your decisions out carefully! Also take note that there are multiple speeds on the grinding machines…if you are unaware of what you are doing and you go at odd speeds, you will have an extremely uneven surface, thereby making another negative.

If you’re still stuck on the decision, contact us for help!

Are Concrete Floors Slippery?

Concrete floors are usually very smooth and very much unblemished, and any surface like that can become quite slippery when they are wet.

This is one of the reason why most industrial locations that use concrete flooring insist upon the floors remaining as dry as possible, because even with a non-slip additive to prevent slipperiness, wet concrete floors can still be a hazard to anyone who is not paying attention.

If you have concrete floors in your home, and the floor is in an area where the floor is prone to getting wet, you need to make perfectly sure that the floor remains dry, as you could slip easily on these floors.concrete floors ottawa maintenance cleaning

Special high-gloss sealants can be used to make the floors more slippery, and they also protect from water damage, so how can you remedy this?

You may come across a special non-slip additive, which is specifically designed to prevent people from having accidents on wet concrete. Putting this additive into your floors will make it so that, if a bit of water gets on the floor and the floor is still wet after being mopped up, the floor won’t be as slippery.

Now, because there is polished and unpolished concrete, you may wonder if polished is slipperier than unpolished concrete? Well, truth be told, they are about the same, although polished concrete actually tends to have more traction than polished marble or waxed linoleum, so that can really help in choosing your flooring of choice (in the consideration of surfaces that are as non-slippery as possible).

One major consideration about slippery concrete floors you should make is whether or not there will be children running on and around this floor. If there will be children, then your best bet is to go to every length to ensure water and other liquids do not get on this surface and make it slippery, as children often fall just as hard as adults, if not more so, due to them often running around without consideration for the texture and surface of concrete.

So, in closing, make sure you make safety your priority when you are dealing with slippery concrete and ask one of our concrete professionals about our slip proof concrete solutions. 


How to Deal with Concrete Cracks

Unfortunately, cracks in concrete are generally unavoidable; they’ll happen sooner or later, but there are ways you can take a form of control over how, when, and where these cracks would occur.

Placed in concrete to try to help with cracking are expansion joints. Expansion joints, when expansion or contraction of a slab of concrete occurs, the joints prevent the slab from rubbing up against another slab or a wall or something similar, as that “rubbing” usually is what produces cracks (in fact, a seismologist would be the only person who would be ecstatic to see the concrete floors in their home cracking).

The reason why seismologists are mentioned here is that cracks in the ground from earthquakes occur much the same way the cracks in concrete floors occur; when two slabs grate against each other and put an immense amount of strain on the other, causing the cracks.

However, cracks in concrete will never not occur; these expansion joints simply exude control over where the crack will occur, and the joints can be placed within the concrete prior to the concrete setting with a prediction that the cracks will occur in a place that is non-threatening to the surrounding structure.

There are two types of cracks in concrete; aesthetic and structural. Aesthetic cracks are simple cracks that are small and not very deep at all, and they merely mar the beauty of the surrounding home. Structural cracks run very deep, right down to the base of the building itself; these cracks can be a danger to the structure, but they will not stop (no matter what is done), until the concrete has found an equal balance between the ground and the concrete itself. If you are deemed to have structural cracks, there is little that can be done to stop them (you can fill them in and such, but they would only be temporary, as another crack would soon form).

Currently, the best repair method is using resin, and injecting the resin into all parts of the crack, as resin actually reinforces the floor and makes the area where the crack was stronger than the remaining floor space. If you would like an expert to come and help you determine what can be done with your concrete cracks, please contact us today. 


Should You Dye or Stain Your Concrete Floors?

When You’re Just ‘Dyeing’ to Dye Your Concrete

In today’s day and age, concrete has developed a high level of verisimilitude, in terms of being able to make concrete look like other flooring, such as tile and others. Dyeing is a very popular concept with concrete, as the finished product can look extremely rustic and it would not look out-of-place in an older home (or a home modeled to be older-looking).

Through chemical staining methods, combined with concrete dyes, concrete can be made to take on a plethora of beautiful colors. The dark grey in concrete doesn’t blend completely with the color, so the dye allows for that dark grey to become a darker shade of the dye.

Another benefit is, with dyeing of concrete, you don’t usually want to put carpets and such over these beautiful floors, and to boot…concrete is not flammable, like other materials such as carpeting and hardwood.

Don’t Abstain From Staining Your Concrete

Dyes and stains both share a prime difference. With dyeing, you have a huge vibrancy of colors, but with stains, you have not only a level of permanency…but stains have far more to do with chemicals than dyes do. Dyes are more like paint, whereas they are more acrylic-based.

Staining concrete allows room for error, whereas dyeing is extremely fast to seep deep into the concrete and remain, which means that, if you make an error, this will be a problem.

However, staining allows for more rustic and ‘old’ colors.

In concrete, there is a compound called calcium hydroxide, and staining reacts to the calcium hydroxide in concrete to provide the finished result, which has a very classy look, and literally is ‘stained class’.

At the end of it all…

Whether you choose to dye or stain your concrete floors, you would be best off having an expert do this for you, and you have to be 100% certain about the color you have chosen…it will be quite difficult to try to backtrack on your decision once you’ve ‘set it in stone’.

Another thing to pay attention to when dyeing and staining is that you can put more than one color into the same floor, and not by necessarily blending colors…but you can have four colors meeting each other to give the floor a ‘mosaic’ feel. Never hesitate to experiment! Contact one of our flooring experts today!


Concrete Floors Are Not Boring!

Stepping it Up to Be More Eye-Appealing

Nowadays, there is not too much that cannot be done to change the entire look and finished product of concrete. There is an overwhelming colour pallet of colours that can be incorporated into the concrete to tint/shade it. You can even have the concrete textured into a desirable stamp design, patterns or overall texture.

You can even opt to have your concrete polished to give it a luxurious gleam (which resembles ceramic tiles) or work with existing cracks from an older floor to upgrade it to a more “antique-looking” and new floor.

Your Creativity is Your Only Limitation

If you are planning on pouring in a new concrete floor within the confines of your home, your only limitation is your creativity and choosing what the finished product should be. The concrete can now be mixed with a particular stain to colour it to suit your taste and poured with a variety of finishes.

The additional costs involved in beautifying your concrete floor is worth it, as the durability of concrete is unsurpassed in comparison to traditional types of floor coverings (which all have a much shorter life duration).

Strategizing and Formulating a Solid Long-Range Plan

Depending on where you are planning to pour your concrete floor, you may want to think about the future and if you will still be the homeowner down the road. Concrete is certainly making a comeback to modern decor because of its newfound versatility, but it is not for everyone.

Homeownership may change for you down the road, so it is important to ensure that the place in your home that you are pouring a concrete floor is going to add value (garage or basement). If you are replacing the floor in the garage or basement with new concrete, be sure that whatever issue that arose with your old floor has been fixed prior to pouring the new floor.

Check Out All of Your Options

When looking into your options as far as straying from the traditional concrete colour and texture, be sure to incorporate all expenses that you will incur before making your final decision (it is not like laying down wood or laminate flooring that can be easily removed).

Need any help deciding what to do about your flooring project? Contact a concrete flooring expert today!

Non-Slip Vs. Cleanability for Concrete Flooring

So you’ve decided it’s time to make a change from traditional flooring like tile or sheet vinyl to something more rugged and modern: a concrete floor coating. This is becoming an increasingly more popular move as the trend towards modern and expansive flooring increases.

A question that is always coming up is: How do I create a surface that is safer by being less slippery but also still relatively easy to maintain and clean?

The short answer is: you can’t. The lack of grout lines in a seamless floor coupled with the fact that coatings are close pored leads to a slippery surface. The best (but not the only) way to achieve non-slip in a coating is to add sand aggregate to the finish coats.

The draw back in doing this is that the floor becomes so textured that it can be difficult to clean. In an outdoor facing environment or shop the floor can certainly be power washed and scrubbed. However, in an indoor space such as a commercial kitchen or residential basement, how can a non-slip surface be achieved without the loss of being easy to clean?

Consider the fact that not all seamless surfaces are the same slipperiness. Satin urethanes can be used as a top coat over epoxy and some poly based coatings and sealants. These satin products have “bulking” or “dulling” agents added to them. While their main purpose is to reduce sheen, they are also less slippery. This is a good way to go for residential or commercial spaces where more abrasion resistance is needed and slip resistance is required. However, in water immersed conditions, this is not the best choice.

Keep in mind, floors that get wet sometimes (think store entrances in winter) can do quite well for slip resistance with just satin urethane. Car wash bays for example though will require an aggressive sand texture.

Another option, more for commercial environments, is a Thixotropic texture. This is a product that cures with a deliberate orange peel texture. It’s smooth enough to squeegee yet provides enough variety in surface texture for water displacement under foot and even some more traction for vehicle traffic.

No matter what environment you are considering a concrete coating for, always do your research and visit jobs sites prior to making your decision. It’s always possible to add more non-slip texture to a floor, in the future, taking it away is another process all together.

If you have any questions about the non-slip nature or cleanability of concrete flooring, contact us and we can help!

The Truth About Abrasion and Impact Resistance in Concrete Flooring

Concrete floors are known well for their abrasion resistance and impact resistance. There are however some myths that we should lay to rest prior to you making an investment in concrete flooring for your particular needs and in your particular environment.

First, let’s talk about impact resistance. Impact resistance is achieved typically via the density and angular nature of aggregates used in a concrete topping. Regular liquid applied coatings do not provide high impact resistance without aggregates in the mix.

By adding aggregates to the mix, impact is then spread across many different angles within the aggregate resin mix.

Instead of energy created from a blow or an impact going directly in the direction of the drop, impact is disrupted, broken down and spread across rigid aggregates thereby breaking the level of force that makes it to the bottom of the coating. This drastically reduces the possibility of concrete sealers and coatings popping off the floor or divots being created in the work surface.

While some liquid applied coatings and cementitious overlays are more impact resistant than others, without using some form of aggregate, whether it be sand or small stones, then layering those aggregates inside a resinous, cementitious or polymer-based material, impact resistance cannot be achieved at its maximum level.

If the environment in which you are going to be needing a floor is one where tools getting dropped and equipment or containers such as impact wrenches beer kegs etc. is a frequent risk, the only way to go is with a rich blend of stacked aggregates and a top coat sealer.

Cross section of a polyurethane cement aggregate matrix is designed for use in high impact zones like garbage rooms and manufacturing floors.

On to abrasion resistance. Like in other markets, like watches for example, there are many specific terms used loosely by most unfortunately. Resistant and Proof are 2 such terms.


There really isn’t a scratch proof floor in existence. Anything softer than a surface but still sharp can cut that surface. The better term is certainly resistant.


With concrete floor systems, the most resistant surface is polished concrete. There are top coats for epoxy and polyaspartic coatings polyurethanes that make them less likely to scratch. Also, these top coats tend to be less glossy which will in turn lead to a floor that will show scratches less as well, since there is little gloss difference to show off the scratches.


Talk to your concrete flooring expert about your specific environments needs in order to find the best mix of impact and abrasion resistance.