There is a seemingly unending supply of choices when it comes to finishing your interior and exterior surfaces these days. From regular plaster and paint to Venetian Plaster, from tiles to wallpaper, but one particularly intriguing option is concrete micro-topping.
Microtopping is a thin concrete overlay—often self-leveling—that can be applied over a range of different surfaces to give a smooth, modern, industrial look. It can also be tinted or stenciled to achieve a wide range of other looks, such as faux-tiles or custom patterns.
One of the most appealing factors about micro-topping is the ease with which it can be applied. It can be put down over existing finishes, such as tiles or wood flooring, it is a relatively thin finish, so it does not require an involved process like pouring concrete, and the finish is both highly durable and pleasing to the eye.
Thanks to the self-leveling nature of micro-topping, it is relatively easy to get a fantastic finish. All you need to do is ensure the various coats are as smooth and flat as possible, and the micro-topping will take care of any imperfections with a little help from gravity.
Can I Mix a Large Amount of Micro Topping?
One of the less intuitive traits of micro-topping is that it has a long pot life but a short dry time. That means you can get away with mixing more of it at once without worrying about it starting to cure in your bucket, but as soon as it hits the surface, you will need to get it smoothed out relatively quickly.
Another thing about micro-topping is that you need a surprisingly small amount of it to cover large areas—it is just a topping, after all. The net result of all this is that even though you can mix more of this material at once without it starting to set, it is better to mix it as you need it in small batches because you may find yourself not using it all up in time, or covering the surface with a lot of excesses.
Can I Use Stencils With Micro Topping?
You can indeed use stencils with micro-topping. This is a process whereby the different layers are applied in very specific areas thanks to the help of stencils, much like stencils you might use when spray painting a temporary sign. Thanks to the thin layers of micro-topping and the smooth finishing layer of sealant, the result can be a very good lucking, highly durable image that will be able to stand up to a good deal of foot traffic.
The use of tinted micro-topping is essential, of course; otherwise, the different stenciled areas would not be distinguishable. Fortunately, micro-topping can be very easily tinted, and a wide range of colors are available.
Can I Use Micro Topping on a Wall?
Microtopping is definitely suitable for use on walls and other non-horizontal surfaces. And, for the most part, the process is the same. You will need to prepare the subsurface before applying your finishing coats and seal it when you are done the same way you would with a floor. Where things may differ slightly is in the application of the micro-topping itself. Microtopping is much runnier than regular concrete or plaster, which can make applying it by trowel or float the way you would on a floor a bit of a pain. One way to get around this is to apply the micro-topping as a spray first and then smooth it over with your trowel after the fact.
Applying as a spray helps the micro-topping to get a good grip on the surface, avoiding the frustration of having it slop over the sides of your trowel and make a mess all over the floor!
Can I Use Micro Topping Over Tile?
Pulling up old tiles is nobody’s idea of a good time, especially if the tiles were very competently installed in the first place. It is rarely possible to get the tiles up without breaking them, and the process often turns into long days of chiseling up the tiles, filling the room with dangerous dust and shards of ceramic.
Fortunately, if you are comfortable with the height of your tiled floor, micro topping can be applied over the top of your existing tiles in much the same way you would apply it to any other surface. Your first coat should always be a more coarse layer that will fill in the imperfections and smooth things out; it just so happens that a tiled surface will have more imperfections because of the gaps between the tiles. Once that first coat is down, however, the process is the same as for any other surface.
Can I Use Micro Topping in a Shower?
In short, the answer is yes; micro topping is suitable for use in showers and similar areas. The longer answer is that you will have to make sure you buy a brand of micro topping that is suitable for use in such situations, and you will need to make sure your sealing layer has very thorough coverage.
The clean look of this finish is often desired for bathrooms due to its modern appearance that pays homage to the more classical styles of Venetian Plaster. The good news about this demand is that there are plenty of manufacturers looking to meet it, so there are no shortages of options when it comes to waterproof micro toppings.
How Much is Micro Topping Going to Cost Me?
The cost of micro topping will vary depending on a number of factors. For example, a floor that requires four layers instead of two will obviously cost more in both time and materials. Similarly, a micro topping finish on top of a surface that is particularly rough will require more preparation. And, of course, any stenciling or other intricate details will drive the price up further.
As a general guide, you should expect to pay no less than $50 per square meter for your micro topping surface, labor included. Depending on the precise details of the job, it could reach as high as $120 per square meter. Remember, these are very general numbers that may be less applicable in your area. Always get actual quotes when budgeting for a job.
What is the Cost of Brickform Micro Topping?
Brickform, a manufacturer of construction materials, has a range of micro topping products on offer. As a rough guide, you can expect to pay around $26 per square meters-worth of micro topping. You can get Brickform micro-topping in coarse and smooth options with a choice of white or gray.
Can I Apply Micro Topping Over Wood?
Perhaps one of the most surprising benefits of micro topping is that it can be applied directly over wood. Now, there are some caveats to this. Firstly, the wood needs to be solid. Microtopping can handle a bit of flex, but if you put a coat down over floorboards that move considerably, you are asking for cracks in your finish. The second caveat is that the wood needs to be sealed. If there are large gaps between any sections of your wood surface, they will need seam tape or something else over them to prevent the micro topping from collapsing through the gap.
Much of what determines your choice for the finish of a surface in your home or business will be down to aesthetic preferences, but micro topping is a very versatile material that can be used to achieve a wide range of looks. In its default state, without any tinting or stenciling, it will often produce an industrial, modern look that has a charm of its own. But it can also be used to get a look more akin to something classical, like Venetian Plaster or Tadelakt. And, of course, it can be worked in such a way as to incorporate patterns, designs, and even artwork.
The ease with which this material can be applied, the versatility it has from an aesthetic point of view, and the durability of the finish once complete all make micro topping a very compelling option, whether it is for a complete wetroom, the floor of a kitchen, a single feature wall, or a whole host of other possibilities.
And, if you are the kind of person who enjoys a little DIY, micro topping is one of the easier products to get to grips with.