What is microcement?
Microcement is a material that delivers a stunning contemporary look to your home – but without the practical obstacles that using concrete can throw up. It’s a cement-based decorative substance that can be applied thinly to floors, walls, stairs and recesses.
Microcement, also known as microconcrete, creates the most dramatic of finishes, despite being practical for home environments. It is equally practical and striking as an interior or exterior surface. Because microcement is so thin and light, it can create the look of concrete on surfaces that would ordinarily not be strong enough to take concrete. This means you can create the smooth, elegant concrete look in an amazing range of locations and environments.
As a raw material, microcement is combined with either water or resin to create an exceptionally durable and flexible surface. Thanks to its remarkable bonding properties, it can be applied to almost any under-surface (or ‘substrate’), including existing concrete, tiles and composite timber such as ply or OSB board.
Microcement is applied by hand, meaning there’s no need for joints or grout lines. You can use microcement to create an immaculate, seamless floor – one that’s not just dramatic to look at, but incredibly easy to maintain. We can help you customise microcement in a wide range of colours, tones and finishes.
Microcement is incredibly practical and functional. It’s hygienic, being simple to clean, and compares extremely well to other materials for being stain-free. It’s also mould-free. Depending on its formulation, microcement also has anti-slip properties – making it a safe surface. This makes it an ideal solution for families, seniors and any environment that’s frequently and heavily used.
Microcement brings an unmistakeable neo-industrial look. It can even be used to cover items in the home such as dining room tables – so you can create signature pieces as well as floors and walls.
Benefits of microcement
Microcement can be applied to almost any surface, and its strength increases rapidly from the moment it’s applied. Suitable substrate surfaces can include cement mortar, sand and cement or anhydrite screed, self-levelling screed, terrazzo, marble, tile, plasterboard and plaster. This versatility and adaptability holds true whether you’re dealing with horizontal or vertical surfaces, and interior or exterior environments.
Microcement also has very high adhesion. This means you can lay it securely over many surfaces that would struggle to take other materials. It’s even possible to apply it directly over existing tiles, which can speed up renovations, and avoid the debris of the original lining.
One of the great things about microcement is how easy it is know what the finish, colour and tone will be like, long before it’s laid. You’ll know exactly what you’re getting, and whether it will fit with the rest of your environment. And if you’re not sure? Just say so – and we can provide samples for you to review.
Structurally it contains a number of additives and resins that improve its flexibility, so it won’t crack of its own accord. This makes it a durable, hardwearing and long-lasting material. It has extremely low-permeability, which is why it can be used in outdoor environments, as well as kitchens and bathrooms.
Microcement doesn’t need to be compacted. This avoids the need for heavy, expensive machinery. It won’t shrink on application either, which means your end result is free from cracks or folds.
Microcement takes a full week to install from start to finish. It can take light use after 48 hours, but requires 28 days to fully harden.
It’s a substance with great longevity, that will last you for a long time in the home. But if you do decide in later years to redecorate, microcement is very easy to lay a new surface on top of.
Why is microcement used?
Microcement is used for a number of reasons, beyond it’s beautiful finish. It’s much lighter than concrete, which makes it a highly effective choice where minimising the structural weight of your floor is an important requirement.
Microcement is applied at just 3-4mm, and yet has incredibly high strength and hardness. This makes it possible to apply microcement even in high-traffic environments.
Microcement requires a professional installation by skilled tradesmen with specific experience and skillsets. There are a range of products and processes that can be used, along with a range of specialist professional tools.
The substance uses much less water than traditional concrete. Also, no pumping is needed, and this further reduces the needed for heavy, expensive equipment. This makes a big difference too when working areas with limited access and confined spaces.
Where should you use microcement?
Microcement is incredibly versatile. It’s used to create seamless floors throughout the home, but it’s water-resistance means it can be used in the kitchen for items such as surfaces, splashbacks and shelves, thanks to its stunning looks and impermeability. It’s fantastic for bathrooms and wetrooms.
We offer a range of seamless microcement products that can be used for a wide range of different scenarios. All our microcements have been tested to ensure they are fit for purpose.
How much does it cost?
The cost of your microcement installation will vary according to the complexity and location you have in mind, as well as your chosen composition and finish. Typically, we can deliver your microcement environment for between £75 and £120 per square metre excluding VAT. Call us now on 07487 247388 or get in touch with us by email at email@example.com to arrange a completely free and detailed quotation.
What are the best practices for applying microcement?
It’s very important that microcement is applied in the right way. Without following a series of critical steps, the end result will not bring the level of durability, strength and water-resistance that microcement is capable of.
Here are the four critical steps we follow to ensure the perfect finish:
- The substrate needs to be thoroughly washed and cleaned. All dust, gravel and dirt needs to be removed. Any metal supports must be cleaned and coated to prevent corrosion that might stain the microcement.
- Surfaces must be well consolidated, so no further movement can occur, and be dry to within 5% moisture content.
- To prepare the surface, we first apply a suitable primer, followed by two layers of base coat. This serves as a support for the finished microcement. The second layer of microbase is pigmented with colour.
- We then apply two layers of top coat. This is the product combining the desired texture and colour, which gives the surface its final appearance.
- Finally, to protect the finish, two coats of pre-sealer are initially applied. These are followed by two layers of polyurethane sealer.
Differences between microcement and polished concrete
Microcement and polished concrete can create similar-looking finished, but are different in their composition and construction.
A critical difference is in weight. Polished concrete is much thicker than microcement, which means it needs a much more solid substrate. Polished concrete also takes longer to install, because of the drying time required.
Finally, because it is thicker, polished concrete cannot be laid with the same versatility as microcement. Put simply, microcement can often go in places where polished concrete can’t.
What to consider
Like all cements, microcement takes 28 days to reach its full hardness and impact-resistance. We advise all of our clients to be extra careful to avoid dropping or dragging objects across the surface during the first month following an installation.
Sally Hotchin is an expert in concrete products and microcement. Sally works directly with customers, architects and designers to deliver amazing concrete solutions.