How to Remove Concrete Overlay

Lead Image
  • 8-16 hours
  • Beginner
  • 40-400
What You'll Need
12-Inch Flat scraper

One of the most common fixes to a cement surface that is flaking over and chipping away is to apply a concrete overlay. This overlay is usually a 1/4 inch thick mixture of concrete that is spread out in a uniform thickness throughout the surface. These overlays are not only for use with concrete surface spalling. Many times a concrete overlay is used to smooth out a stamped concrete surface.

From time to time, the overlay will begin to crack because of problems with the cement underneath, weather conditions, or through day to day use. When this begins to happen the homeowner will need to remove the overlay before they can either patch the area or add an entirely new concrete overlay. If you find yourself in need of repairing your concrete overlay, here are the steps to take to remove it first. Great care should be taken through this process so that the concrete surface below is not damaged further making more involved repairs a necessity.

Step 1: Determine the Extent of Damage

When you notice that there is a problem with the concrete overlay you should first determine the extent of the problem. It may be that the overlay is simply flaking a little and only needs a certain section of it removed. Other times you may see that the concrete is bulging upwards. This is a problem that can only be fixed by removing both the overlay and the concrete surface underneath.

Step 2: Remove Crumbled Pieces

Since the concrete overlay is only 1/4 inch thick you are not going to need large pieces of equipment like a jackhammer or even a heavy sledgehammer. In the overlay that is crumbling, you can start in this area and continue to remove the small pieces as you chip away at it. The important thing to remember is to not disturb the concrete surface under the overlay. If that happens, you will have to do more involved work. Remove the crumbled pieces, or start to crumble pieces, with a hammer and a chisel. Pick the pieces up by hand and place them in a wheelbarrow to remove them from the area.

Step 3: Continue Working at Overlay

Once you have a place started where the overlay is broken through, continue to remove the concrete overlay. This is easily done by prying up the concrete from underneath and breaking it into smaller pieces. Use a flat scraper with a long handle to drive under the overlay and lift up. A small block of wood under the handle near the blade will act as a fulcrum for more leverage to lift up the concrete pieces.

Step 4: Clean Cement Surface

After the concrete overlay has been removed you should dispose of the broken cement pieces in a safe place. Contact your town clerk for instructions on where the best place for disposal would be. Once that has been taken care of, prepare the cement surface for receiving another concrete overlay. Sweep the entire concrete area and make sure that it is clear of any dust and small pieces.