Microcement application. Technical notes.
Microcement is a coating based on aggregates and polymers that coats floors, walls, countertops, etc. Total microcement floor thickness is only about 2 mm, despite that it has very high abrasion resistance. It might be applied on cement grout, ceramic tiles, OSB boards, etc. It is an innovative product suitable for all kind of environments. It quickly covers joints and fissures and offers a stylish and practical solution to transforming large surfaces such as walls, floors, ceilings, kitchens, bathrooms, counters, showers, wet rooms and swimming pools. Keep on reading to learn more about microcement application.
How to prepare microcement mix?
Microcement is one of the simpler concrete-like systems. No heavy equipment is needed to make it. Most contractors use orbital grinders, eccentric grinders and floor scrubbers (so-called scrubbers) for the construction of microcement floors. You will also need an industrial vacuum cleaner and basic tools such as steel floats, stucco cups, etc. The greater the experience of the contractor, the greater the skills of shaping the microcement surface. Read more: Microcement tools and accessories: all you will need
Substrate preparation and priming
Never forget about proper substrate preparation and priming. It is crucial for maximum adhesion and performance of microcement. Most of the problems that may arise during later works and use of the floor originate in inappropriate substrate preparation.
The substrate should be even, firm, clean and free of moisture. Without cracks, plaster remnants, paints or other remnants from previous works. Please note that drain line slopes and level differences must be prepared prior to the application of the microcement. We remind you that the thickness of the microcement layer is only 2 mm and practically there is no way to use microcement to correct slopes of previous layers.
The substrate should be primed with FESTGrunt. The preparation is used to seal and improve the adhesion of subsequent layers to the substrate. Through proper priming, we can be sure that the liquid polymer from the microcement will not be “sucked” into the substrate, and the entire system will have proper adhesion.
Priming should be done with an ordinary roller once or twice – depending on the absorbency of the substrate. Intervals after subsequent layers are approximately 2-3 hours – until the preparation soaks into the substrate.
During the priming process itself, you can see whether the floor on which we are going to apply has no cracks or scratches that are not visible at first glance. You will learn how to do it and what to look for in the following video:
For floors, we recommend the use of the FESTKontakt bonding bridge. The preparation contains quartz aggregate, thanks to which it makes the surface rough, which facilitates further work. Especially recommended for projects on old smooth ceramic or porcelain tiles and smooth laminated tiles, as well as in all places where a rough surface is needed.
Tips for preparing walls for microcement: How to prepare walls for microcement application?
Tips for applying microcement in wet areas: Microcement in the shower and on the walk-in shower base
Microcement – application
The polymer-cement decorative microcement layer is available in two versions: the traditional one consisting of two components: dry white mass and liquid polymer, which, when combined, give an easy-to-apply floor mass (Festfloor Life, Festwall Life) and a ready-to-use mixture colored according to the patterned palette on RAL and NCS (FestfloorGo!). In the case of a two-component microcement, both components together with the pigment should be weighed in accordance with the proportions included in the technical data sheets on a precise electronic scale, and then thoroughly mixed. To ensure the pigment is well mixed, we suggest you pour it directly into the liquid polymer (mix), and finally add the dry mass. When it comes to one-component microcement, it is enough to open the package and mix its contents.
When starting work, ensure that the room is properly lit, so that all places and nooks in the room are clearly visible and allow for precise distribution of the flooring mass.
Also remember that the microcement should be applied at a temperature of 15°C-25°C. Below this range, the microcement will not bind, while above this range, the finished mass will be workable for a very short time, which may prevent its proper application. During the summer heat, you can use the FEST Timer microcement retarder.
If we have everything ready, we can start applying. Prepare enough microcement to be enough for the application of the entire surface.
The mix should be spread over using trowels and other metal tools to a thickness not greater than 1 mm. The application should be performed with quick, energetic movements in different directions depending on the desired effect. Start distributing the mass from the farthest point in the room and move systematically towards the exit.
Subsequent batches of material within one layer should be applied using the “wet on wet” method.
After about 4 hours, when the material is completely set and dry, the floor should be sanded with a single-disc grinder (polisher) with 60-120 grit sandpaper (depending on the desired effect). In hard-to-reach places (corners, along walls, etc.), you can use manual eccentric or oscillating grinders.
After sanding the floor, the whole thing should be thoroughly vacuumed. Then you can apply the next layers, just like the first one. After the last layer has dried, sand the entire floor with 80 grit or more to obtain the smoothest floor possible. More information: How to grind the Festfloor microcement? Check if you are doing it right
Then, when after applying the last layer, the floor should be left for at least 12 hours – until it is completely dry. After this time, you can start painting.
Protection of microcement concrete floor – sealing
All concrete floors requires protection. Sealing with high quality product will increase durability of microcement floor and will facilitate daily care. PU Fest 2K – the sealer used in Festfloor systems is extremely hard wearing, two part polyurethane-based super product. Thanks to it, a mop with warm water and a delicate agent, e.g. FestCleaner, is usually sufficient to keep the microcement clean. More information: How to clean microcement? Microcement care and maintenance tips
The sealer consists of Component A (sealer) and Component B (hardener). Before mixing, both ingredients should be shaken. Then mix thoroughly for about 2 minutes at slow speed. Leave for 10 minutes and mix again.
The substrate prior to application should be dry and clean without dust or other contaminants. Use a high quality nylon roller to spread the varnish. After a minimum 2 hours when first layer has dried, apply the second one in the same way as the first one. Read more: Don’t make these mistakes when it comes to sealing microcement surfaces!
If necessary, use additional products that extend the life of the varnish or a solvent-based varnish. Read more: Which microcement varnish should I choose?
The last step (if necessary) is to recreate the dilatations existing in the existing substrate.
And that’s it. Floor can be used after 12 hours. Water resistance will be obtained after 7 days.
A few more important things at the end:
- All products needed to make microcement can be purchased in our store
- We encourage you to watch the instructional videos on our YouTube channel (English and Spanish subtitles available)
- Read how to avoid the most common mistakes when applying microcement
- If you are an amateur and want to try your hand at microcement, read our tips
- Check the microcement checklist
- Read frequently asked questions about microcement
- If you have any questions about applications and products, please contact us