You can find listed below, a number of the most common questions we’ve been asked over the past decade. If you can’t find your answer here, please feel free to contact us and a member of the Global Surface Solutions team will respond to you shortly.
Concrete is a mixture of cement, aggregate (ie. stones or sand), and water. Decorative concrete is a blend of cement, aggregate (usually silica sand), and a water-based latex polymer (superplasticizer). Because of the high cost of the liquid polymers, these materials are usually applied as overlays. Concrete is porous and rigid, whereas polymer modified cement is non-porous, and has excellent flexural, tensile, adhesion strengths. For decorative purposes, we use white cements, so that we can then color them any way possible.
On wood substrates, our surfaces will not crack as long as the wood structure is constructed properly. Our materials can withstand much more movement than regular concrete. We have built countertops over 30ft long in one seamless piece and then delivered them to the job-site with no cracking.
No, our countertops have a plywood core with 1/4″ cementitious overlay (with steel reinforcement). So the weight of the plasticized concrete is 3 lbs/sq ft on a deck surface and countertops at 2″ thick are roughly 6 lbs/sq ft.
As a rule, it is much stronger than concrete. Our surface finishes are UV stable, flexible, and adhere well to various surfaces, as long as the surface preparation is done properly. Regular concrete driveways can become pitted and will spall when exposed to moisture, salts, and sun. Water infiltrates the porous surfaces and freeze-thaw cycles breakdown the top surface of the concrete. Polymer-modified cements are essentially non-porous, and thus repel moisture intrusion, so they work well to protect patio slabs, driveways, and even inside swimming pools.
A decorative concrete overlay is just that; it is a highly durable layer of hybrid polymer concrete that overlays an existing patio, floor, foyer, driveway, or sidewalk, whereas stamped concrete is a completely new concrete pour where a pattern is stamped into the concrete. Decorative overlays are more durable than a stamped concrete finish and are considered to be a more highly aesthetic artistic finish.
Competitors in the decorative concrete industry only apply their materials onto concrete. Global Surface Solutions has developed various systems for different substrates and for different applications. Our hybrid polymer concrete can also be applied onto gypsum boards, cement board, plywood, eps foam, metal and even urethanes. Each different application (e.g. decks, showers, counters, fireplaces) requires a different system to ensure functionality and durability.
The temperature needs to be above freezing, and ideally above 4 degrees celsius for 24 hours to facilitate a proper cure. Warmer temperatures will result in a faster cure time. No application can be done in the rain.
Concrete combines the qualities of fire resistance, heat retention, and moldability, and is fast becoming a popular material for fireplace surrounds, mantels, and hearths. We can replicate virtually any look, ranging from ornate to contemporary.
Concrete countertops are the most unique, personal countertop option available as they are custom made for each client. To determine whether concrete is right for you, think about whether you believe that:
- You want something unique and personalized
- You want something that looks natural and has character
- You appreciate high-quality, hand-crafted items
- Granite is too shiny, too formal, too common
- Synthetic solid surface materials look and feel like plastic
- You need a color or visual texture that’s not available with other countertop materials
Concrete countertops have sealers applied for water and stain resistance. (Left in its natural state, unsealed, concrete is porous and will stain like other materials such as granite and stone). Cleaning your countertop is not going to be any more difficult than cleaning any other type of countertop. Avoid abrasive soaps or cleansers. We recommend cleaning with a mild, non-abrasive, non ammoniated soap for daily cleaning.
Concrete doesn’t have to be cold. Its thermal properties give it the ability to store and radiate heat. If the home is built to take advantage of solar radiation entering through windows, concrete floors will absorb the heat from the sun to keep rooms warmer in the winter.
In summer and in hot climates, a cooler floor can be an advantage and can actually help lower air-conditioning costs.
Application of a high-gloss sealer to protect and enhance decorative concrete may reduce traction somewhat, but that’s easily remedied by mixing a non slip additive into the stain or sealer before application.
Potentially, forever. Under normal use your concrete countertop, sink, or vanity will outlast the house where it’s installed. The only thing that can deteriorate concrete is prolonged exposure to salt water or freeze/thaw cycles.
Yes. Just like any other wall surface you can clean your walls with a damp cloth without damaging the surface.