What is microcement?
Microcement is a decorative coating composed of cement, water-based resins, additives and mineral pigments. It is a hand applied finish, 2-3mm thick.
Where is microcement typically used?
Microcement is an incredibly versatile finish and can be applied to walls, ceilings and joinery to create a seamless look. It also provides the look and feel of concrete at a fraction of the cost and weight of real concrete.
Renovations can benefit from it, since you can apply it over existing tiles, speeding up the process and eliminating the mess that comes along with removing the original lining.
Microcement is also water resistant - so unlike polished plaster it can be used under running water but does require sealing and maintenance. Microcement can be applied over the following substrates: concrete, existing tiles, MDF, laminate, gib and cement sheets. If you are wanting microcement to be applied to doors or kitchen/bathroom joinery, you will need to find an experienced joiner willing to prepare the joinery for a microcement application.
What types of finishes are available with microcement?
There are a range of extensive finishes available and as the finish itself is created through the application process, it can also be customised. It can be smooth or highly textured, matt or glossy. Microcement is hand applied - therefore hand trowel marks are visible. As for colours - Suppliers in NZ sell a wide range of international products offering a variety of colours. Thanks to the help of technology the product lines are forever evolving making it alot easier to customise your colour.
Can I install underfloor heating under the microcement floor?
Yes. Underfloor heating should be started, checked and turned off at least 7 days before the microcement is applied. Due to the thinness of the microcement, heat can pass through much more easily from the heating pipes than tiles or timber. To achieve the optimum temperature at the heating manifold, set the water temperature at the maximum of 35 degrees Celsius. Water temperatures above this figure will increase the risk of the substrate cracking, the sealer degrading and potentially softening of the floor allowing it to be dented. If a floor should dent, the first thing to check is the temperature of your underfloor heating. Heat softens all polymers and as such, high temperatures should be avoided.
What are the restraints of microcement?
Applying microcement is timely and labour intensive and there is no short cut way to install it correctly.
The installation process can take up to seven days, and like all cements, it takes about 30 days until it is fully hardened and impact-resistant. During the first month following an installation, our clients are advised to be extra careful not to drop or drag objects across the surface. It is recommended that you hire a specialist to apply microcement, as incorrect and inexperienced application can cause stains or undesirable marks. When preparation and application are addressed with care, the finish and durability of the product is enhanced.
Can cracks appear in microcement?
Microcement is a decorative layer at just 3mm thickness therefore any movements and defects in the substrate can cause the microcement to crack or delaminate. Repairs can be carried out but generally the substrate is what needs attending to first.
Although microcements are extremely tough, their 3mm thickness will not be able to stop the movement of considerably thicker substrates such as walls and floors.
A thin microcement layer piggy backs compressive strength from the substrate underneath. For example, take a playing card in your hand, you can freely bend the card with your fingers. But place the same card onto a table top and you can no longer bend or dent the card. The card has now been made rigid and hard like the table top.
Another thing to consider is that cracks in finished floor surfaces are common in all material types: tiles, resin, polished concrete, timber, vinyl. One floor surface is not inherently better than another at dealing with cracks. They just present themselves in different ways that are not always so apparent, (cracks in grout joints, ripples under vinyl, lippage in timber flooring etc).
The microcement floor is extremely durable and can remain intact for a very long time if it has been made on a stable and load-bearing substrate. In special cases where the flooring is very high traffic, you can simply place a new layer of varnish on the floor if you wish to make the floor more durable.
What can damage my microcement floors?
Microcement that has been properly sealed is incredibly durable and tough, it won't break unless you really try to damage it, are extremely careless or don't maintain the surface.
A microcement layer like most other finished floor surfaces such as timber flooring, resin, natural stone tiles, vinyl flooring, can be damaged through misuse, neglect and deliberate methods.
A fully sealed microcement coating is extremely hard to dent; in fact, it is much harder to dent than many timber or resin floor options. If it is denting more easily than it should, the strength of the substrate should be investigated. Other than this, it is more than certain that the damage is deliberate through prolonged and repeated abuse.
So how do I maintain and clean microcement?
One of the most frequently asked questions about this decorative coating is how to clean and maintain microcement. Cleaning of microcement is simple. - Water and neutral soap is more than enough. Head over to our tips
here where we offer some expert tips for its upkeep and maintenance.
How much does microcement cost?
Unlike other finishes where there is a set price per square meter, when it comes to installing a microcement finish there are a number of factors which determine the cost of a microcement installation.
Some considerations that will influence the price are: Intricacy, customised colours and finishes, the specific area and overall size of application and the existing substrate & surface preparation. If you are looking to use a microcement finish in your residential or commercial project please send an email to