Advanced Surface Solutions

Frequently Asked Questions

My concrete is a mess! Can you fix it?

Yes! Stains, rough patches and other defects can be covered with an overlay finish. Our new material gives you a brand new surface that will look great for many years. If your concrete is failing – if it is full of cracks or if the top layer is coming off – then we can help you remove and replace the slab area. This new concrete can be completed with any of our decorative finishes.

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What is an overlay?

An Overlay is a decorative coating applied over concrete. It transforms an ugly old surface into something new and beautiful. A thin coat of modified concrete is installed over the prepared surface. Finish options range from simple light broom texture to elaborate tile or stone patterns. Look through our gallery for some examples to spur your imagination.

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How affordable is decorative concrete?

Decorative concrete is very affordable! We have a wide range of services that can fit almost any budget. Usually we can give you a beautiful decorative finish for less than you would spend on tile or stone. Give us a call to arrange a consultation.

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I just poured a new slab. When can I stain or add a decorative coating?

Concrete will fully cure within 28 days. Depending on the type of application, temperature, and humidity, it is possible to get on it sooner. We would not recommend anything sooner than 14 days regardless of the application.

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How durable is decorative concrete?

Decorative concrete is one of the most durable options you have for your floors. Our overlay finishes are actually harder than most concrete slabs! Proper maintenance will keep your decorative concrete floor looking its best. Here are a few tips: Wipe up spills as soon as possible. Keep protective felt or plastic "feet" on your furniture, especially the heavy stuff! Don’t let patio furniture or other metals drip rust onto the decorative finish. We will provide you with additional maintenance recommendations depending on the decorative finish you choose.

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Why do I need to re-seal?

We need to talk about erosion here. Take a moment to look at your concrete in your driveway since it is usually the most exposed to the elements. Over time as the weather pounds it the surface wears down as well as the constant traffic of vehicles. This is made evident over the years as the surface goes from rough to smoother to eventually starting to show the rocks in the concrete. Basically concrete wears out, some faster than others. When you put a decorative coating on concrete it will erode too. The thing that prevents this is a good sealer coat, but it too will wear away in the elements. Re-sealing should be done to keep a substantial protective coating on the decorative surface and to protect your investment. Re-sealing is recommended every 3 to 5 years depending on the application and the wear and tear on the surface.

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How is my concrete prepared for the decorative finish?

This is the most important question you should ask! Proper preparation of the surface is the key to a beautiful decorative finish that will last many, many years! We use a combination of grinding machines, polishers, and chemicals to clean the concrete surface and open the pores to accept our decorative finish. Taking a shortcut in preparation typically results in a finish that fails soon after the work is complete. Many other finishers use only a pressure washer, skipping the most important preparation steps, before applying their finish. Our preparation of your concrete ensures that our finish has both the required mechanical and chemical bond to the surface.

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What is Concrete Scoring?

Scoring is done to create pattern in the concrete. As an example, we can score a square pattern in a floor to create a tile pattern. The nice thing about this is we are not subject to standard sizes like you are with tile. We can limit the number of partial "tile pieces" by measuring a room and adjusting the size of the pattern accordingly. If we need to place scores every 16 3/8" to make the pattern fit, no problem. We can even adjust a score pattern for a crooked wall. Scoring can also be done free form or to create patterns and logo's.

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My current driveway seems to get stained so easily, how about decorative concrete?

Decorative concrete is typically sealed, so stain resistance is greatly increased with that protection. Any petroleum based product left on a sealed surface can cause damage if it is not cleaned up in a timely fashion. With plain concrete, if a car or truck parks on the driveway and drips oil it will stain the concrete and is almost impossible to get rid of that look. With a sealed finish, if the oil is taken care of in the first couple of days it should easily be wiped up. There are some fluids in vehicles that will cause damage much faster such as brake fluid or battery acid. If a product does cause damage to the sealer, most of the time it can be touched up as long as the damage is only in the sealed surface and has not made it through to the decorative coating below. As with any stain, the faster you can try to get it off, the better. We recommend a mild cleaner like Simple Green and a brush. This will work for most stains and dirt on sealed surfaces. Do not use any solvents to try to clean it up, or you will damage the surface and push the stain into the sealer further. These surfaces can also be pressure washed if care is taken to not put the tip too close to the surface and keep the pressure below 2500 psi. You also may want to find a way to redirect your sprinklers to reduce this effect of water spots and put the water where it can be used best, the vegetation.

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But what if my driveway is asphalt?

We can transform your plain asphalt into a beautiful new decorative concrete surface. If your asphalt is in fairly good condition, our finish options can give you a stamp look over that surface that won't chip off and will actually strengthen the surface. All this without having to tear out and risk damage to any surrounding plants, irrigation, or hardscapes.

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I don’t like the cracks in my concrete! Can you help?

Yes! Cracks form when concrete moves, typically when the ground below the concrete settles just a bit. The long, straight lines in your concrete are Control Joints, creating weak areas in an attempt to keep the cracks straight and even. Sometimes there are not enough Control Joints, or they are in the wrong places, and cracks show up looking like lightening streaks. We can help you choose a decorative finish that blends with the cracks to make them less noticeable. If your concrete is failing - if it is full of cracks or if the top layer is coming off - then we can help you remove and replace the slab area. This new concrete can be completed with any of our decorative finishes.

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We are interested in Green building practices. What solutions can you offer?

Concrete is a great alternative for environmentally responsible building and finishing. We can finish your floors, walls and other surfaces with environmentally friendly stains and sealers. Our concrete counters, sinks, tables and other pieces consume far fewer resources than most other alternatives. Nearly 100% of our product is contained in the finish piece, with very little waste headed to landfills.

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I love the look of decorative concrete. Am I limited to just floors?

No! With decorative concrete applications we can do vertical surfaces, including poured concrete, concrete block and brick. Look through our gallery to see some of our past wall projects. We also offer concrete counters, sinks, tables, fireplace surrounds, decorative panels (like over your kitchen range) and many other pieces.

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How does the weather affect the installation process?

Weather is always a contributing factor to the outcome of a decorative surface. It is not just due to temperature and precipitation. Humidity, daytime exposure to sunlight, night time temps, soil temps, all affect the outcome. Even the weather at the time the original concrete was curing will change the outcome of a coating no matter if it was poured last week or a decade ago. This is what makes each project unique. We can coat a piece of concrete as long as the surface is 40 degrees and rising, but most of the time we will not coat a piece if it will be exposed to sub freezing temperatures in the first 24 hours of application. Depending on the coating and the project, rain may not even affect the process as long as it doesn’t fall too soon during the curing process.

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How often should the decorative surface be re-sealed?

The time line is variable based on exposure to the elements. Generally we recommend a re-seal every three to five years. We will provide you with specific maintenance instructions tailored to your finish and its location.

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How does the cost of concrete counter tops compare with granite?

Typically we can offer concrete counter tops at a price lower than granite. With granite you have to deal with the whole slabs, which means a lot of waste. There is no wasted material with concrete. Also you usually pay by the inch for the finished edges on granite, and you may be charged extra for openings to accommodate sinks and cooktops. With concrete you pay only for what you get without all the extras and waste!

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What other advantages do concrete counter tops have over granite?

In older homes especially the house may not have been built to support heavy counter tops. Replacing your tops with granite might cause the cabinets to lean away from the walls slightly, leaving ugly gaps and cracks along the edges. Our concrete counter tops are about half the weight of granite, so you usually don’t need to worry about the weight. If you want, we can also form a taller edge profile to make your counter top look like much thicker without adding much to the actual weight.

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Are concrete counter tops safe for food preparation?

Yes. Our counters and tables are sealed to be impervious, resist staining and sustain exposure to high temperatures.

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So, concrete is great for counter tops. How about tables?

Concrete is a perfect option for tables. It is one of the most durable surfaces available. Concrete is stronger than most other alternatives, but also lighter than other hard surface options as we can make the tops thinner. Lighter tables are easier to move and result in less damage to floors. We can make a table in virtually any shape, size, color and design you wish. top

At what point during construction should we schedule decorative finishing?

We should be consulted before you even pour the slab to help set the finishing instructions for your flatwork crew. Depending on the decorative finish selection, the raw concrete may need to be protected during the early stages of construction. For stained floors we recommend that our crews complete our work shortly after drywall but before any trim and cabinetry. Other decorative finishes require different schedules. Scheduling for exterior work is weather dependent, but we can be very flexible for interior work.

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How is my concrete prepared for the decorative finish?

This is critical! Proper preparation of the surface is the key to a beautiful decorative finish that will last many, many years! We use a combination of grinding machines, polishers and chemicals to clean the concrete surface and open the pores to accept our decorative finish. Taking a shortcut in preparation typically results in a finish that fails soon after the work is complete. Many other finishers use only a pressure washer, skipping the most important preparation steps, before applying their finish. Our preparation of your concrete ensures that our finish has the required mechanical and chemical bond to the surface.

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How durable is decorative concrete?

Decorative concrete is one of the most durable options you have for your floors. Our overlay finishes are actually harder than most concrete slabs! Our stained floors are sealed with several protective coats to withstand wear and tear. Proper maintenance will keep your decorative concrete floor looking its best. We will provide maintenance recommendations depending on the decorative finish you choose.

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What will we need to do to protect the floors before finishing?

No matter what the final decorative finish, the raw concrete must be protected from chemicals; that includes oils, fuels, solvents and other liquids that can penetrate below the surface of the concrete and cause imperfections or failures in the decorative finish. It is best to not cover the concrete while it is still green as variations in the curing can show up in the finish. Do not apply tape to the concrete. Any protection should cover the entire surface of the concrete and be held in place with weights at the perimeter.

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How long will the decorative finish last?

There are many variables that affect the life of decorative concrete finishes. Proper maintenance will keep the finish looking its best. We will provide specific cleaning instructions and a recommended maintenance schedule - including re-sealing if applicable - depending on the selected finish.

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Our stained floor is too slippery. What now?

We have been asked this question several times, and most of the time it is a maintenance issue. Aliphatic Urethane coatings have a certain amount of anti-slip characteristics to them, but when they get dirty people tend to slip. We have found that a lot of restaurants will use the same mop, and sometimes mop water to wash the kitchen as well as the dining area. The first rule of thumb is to have a separate mop and cleaning system for the stained floors. A proper degreaser should be used to break down any grease being tracked out of the kitchen. It is also best to keep a thin layer of mop able wax on the surface to protect it from dirt and other contaminants constantly being carried in the door by customers.

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We want a feature at our roadway entrances. What can you offer?

We can save you time and money! Typical concrete and paver features require an interruption in your paving that can lead to a compromised base and a problem with debris tracking. We can overlay your asphalt with several decorative options, creating beautiful entrance ways, cross walks, pedestrian/bicycle paths, etc. During construction you can have uninterrupted paved access throughout your project. No more rough sections of gravel and mud! When you are ready we come in on top of your asphalt with our decorative finish, and you can return to normal drive access in a fraction of the time compared to most other options.

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We are interested in Green building practices. What solutions can you offer?

Concrete is a great alternative for environmentally responsible building and finishing. We can finish your floors, walls and other surfaces with environmentally friendly stains and sealers. Or we can harden and polish your "natural" concrete floors to a beautiful finish that will last much longer than "normal" concrete. Our concrete counters, sinks, tables and other pieces consume far fewer resources than most other alternatives. Nearly 100% of our product is contained in the finish piece, with very little waste headed to landfills.

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How does the cost of concrete counter tops compare with granite?

Typically we can offer concrete counter tops at a price lower than granite. With granite you have to deal with whole slabs, which means a lot of waste. There is no wasted material with concrete. Also, you usually pay by the inch for the finished edges on granite, and you may be charged extra for openings to accommodate sinks, cooktops and other fixtures. With concrete you pay only for what you get without all the extras and waste. Plus, because of the lighter weight, concrete counter tops do not require the bulky supports needed with granite, freeing up alternatives for design of cabinets, bars and other areas.

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So, concrete is great for counter tops. How about tables?

Concrete is a perfect option for tables. It is one of the most durable surfaces available. Concrete is stronger than most other alternatives, but also lighter than other hard surface options as we can make the tops thinner. Lighter tables are easier to move and result in less damage to floors. We can make a table in virtually any shape, size, color and design you wish. Your tables can include imbedded text, logos and other features in the surface.

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Are concrete counter tops safe for food preparation?

Yes. Our counters and tables are sealed to be impervious, resist staining and sustain exposure to high temperatures.

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Eco Friendly
  • John from Kannapolis writes...

    "The job" is fantastic and one of the neighbors actually has looked on your website and might contact you to do some work. Lots of people have commented already how great it looks - take all the pictures you want and tell people to call us for references. I'm even more impressed than I thought I would be.

     

    Thanks for doing such a great job - take all the time you need.

  • Jason from Concord writes...

    First of all, let me say that the drive way looks great. It’s nice to work with people who take pride in doing a good job, and that is exactly what you did. Thank you.

     

    Enjoyed it and getting to know you. I'll throw any business I can your way.

  • Michael Farrell from Charlotte writes...

    I just wanted to send you a quick note to thank you for a job well done. I and most importantly, Tonya, absolutely love what you did with our walkway and pool deck. We want to thank you for your professionalism and commend your workforce for getting the job done in a timely fashion. Please feel free to use us as a reference if necessary. Best of luck this summer. Keep in touch.

  • Pat Moore from Harrisburg writes...

    Good morning! Hope all is well with you.

     

    Our patio and porches continue to receive rave reviews from all who see them. I've made copies of your business card more times than I can count. Your work the best money I've spent on our house in a decade! Thank you for the fine work.

  • Ross from Charlotte writes...

    I want to commend you for an excellent, over the top job on our pool deck, stairs, and upper patio!! Every promise you fulfilled and beyond. Your attitude friendly and professional. Your “trio” crew, amazing. Hard, faithful workers to all the job and special attention to details.

     

    Carol and I were and are grateful to meet you and to experience your business.

  • Ron and Jan Midura from Cornelius writes...

    I want to express to you and your crew my respect and admiration for the wonderful results you obtained on my upper and lower decks. You were presented some interesting challenges to say the least and the care you and your crew took with protecting my pool and house were truly appreciated by Jan and me. Your guys were not only very hardworking, but extremely professional as well. The results are clearly visible for all to see and Jan and I will be able to enjoy these outdoor living spaces far more now that you have worked your magic.

  • Matt from Lake Wylie writes... I don't often post feedback. However, when service, delivery and quality are exceptional, I must share. We are 100% delighted with the professionalism and the attention to detail of our pool resurfacing from Advanced Surface Solutions. It was obvious that they care and take great pride in the work - which is amazing.