What is microcement?
Covering walls with microcement is a trend, but what is microcement?
Microcement, also known as micro-concrete, is a polymer-modified cement-based coating that can be applied in a thin layer to almost any surface, indoors or outdoors. It adheres strongly to almost anything, including drywall, wood, concrete, masonry and more.
In addition, products with all-acrylic polymers give it properties that guarantee increased durability, such as elasticity that does not crack during large temperature and humidity variations, such as those in bathrooms.
You can apply this beautiful material to most walls, floors and countertops with minimal preparation, and you can use different application techniques to achieve a wide variety of looks. Its elegant and minimalist look will make any room a guaranteed wow!
Microcement such as TexBright is ideal for enhancing the look of wet rooms such as showers, kitchens, garages, workout rooms, spas and more.
First, before installing TexBright microcement, you must apply a waterproofing membrane such as TexPro FlexBase, Base NC and Base Express, which will protect the substrate from the impact of humidity.
One of the advantages is that it is low maintenance, hypoallergenic and contains no VOCs.
TexNov offers Texbright, an elastomeric acrylic coating from the micro-concrete family, a product designed to imitate the texture of concrete walls, without the hassle of building sites in your home.
Concrete finish walls are the norm in many parts of the world, known for their durability, minimalist and clean aesthetic. For this purpose, TexNov has developed Texbright, a textured acrylic coating that imitates texture and comes in two colors, white and gray (concrete).
The Texbright will be the perfect choice to create a spa-like atmosphere quickly, cleanly and on a budget in bathrooms with a rustic Mediterranean feel.
All you have to do is visit the reference website for decor enthusiasts Pinterest to understand that concrete finished walls are the trend
To be successful at concrete finished wall covering, you need some basic supplies, let’s go through the list.
- TexBright microcement from TexNov
- For wet areas: TexPro FlexBase waterproofing membrane (ready-to-use product)
- Sealer : MET-HD or WRS-40 depending on application and desired finish.
- Foam roller or brush to apply the sealant
- Brush to scrub the substrate (if brick)
- Paddle mixer + drill
- Empty 5 gallon bucket for mixing
How to apply microcement
To be successful, a few steps are necessary, such as:
- Surface preparation
- Mixing the product
- Product application
- Surface finish
Step 1: Surface Preparation
Let’s look first at the most important step, preparation.
Be sure to apply Texbright microcement to a clean, sound surface, including painted or primed drywall (smooth or textured), cement board or existing concrete walls.
Walls can be both painted/textured drywall in past projects.
First of all, the texture of the microcement can hide microcracks, but make sure the wall surface is as uniform as possible to begin with. If necessary, use a repair coating such as all-purpose polymer or TexNov 200; these two products will be used to fill cracks or to level the surface.
For wet rooms such as showers, a waterproof membrane is required first. Texnov recommends two coats of FlexStop for this purpose. Since we were using microcement in the shower for this project, we suggest applying FlexStop to the cement board first.
We must reinforce the idea that waterproofing is not a priority for the other walls of the house, but it does provide an ideal surface for the microcement to adhere to and help prevent micro-cracking. Just to be safe, we suggest rolling it over certain areas of the room (focusing on the tub and seams that may be more prone to cracking).
Step 2: Mix Texbright microcement and apply the first coat
Second, TexNov offers several different concrete coating products with slightly different specifications on their website www.texnov.com.
Since TexBright is applied with a trowel, please have all the necessary tools on hand; a clean trowel will help with handling.
In order to obtain a smoother texture and reduce the amount of grinding afterwards, you will need to smooth the texture with a wet trowel or a wet sponge.
Texnov offers two color choices for a pure white finish or a concrete color finish.
The preparation of the product is easily done by following these steps:
- Mix Tex Bright well by gradually adding the colored liquid contents of the 7L to the powder of the 18.9L.
- Make sure all the mixture is uniform without lumps.
- Let stand 5 minutes, then mix again.
- If necessary, to make the product more liquid, add a maximum of one cup of water (250 mL) per 18.9L.
- Do not add too much water as this will negatively affect the performance of the product.
After TexBright has been thoroughly mixed, the product should be applied in approximately 45 minutes depending on the ambient temperature.
In a nutshell, you can start by pouring some of the mixture onto a trowel, then spreading it on the wall in an upward motion.
For this first coat, appearance doesn’t really matter, you just want to make sure you cover the surface completely. If you want a smoother final coat, try to keep that first coat relatively smooth and even.
The application is not difficult, but it can get messy and takes some time to master the technique.
TexBright is applied with a trowel. To achieve a smoother texture and reduce grinding afterwards, you will need to smooth the texture with a wet trowel or a wet sponge.
The drying time of TexBright coating depends on the ambient air and relative humidity. Under normal drying conditions, i.e. 21°C (70°F) and 55% R.H., the drying time is 12 hours.
Step 3: Apply the second layer of microcement
After waiting 24 hours for the first layer of microcement to dry (depending on the ambient temperature/humidity), you can apply the second layer.
This is where you choose how you want the final result to look: smooth and even, rough and rustic, or somewhere in between.
The beauty of this product is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. And you can even try different tools (like a squeegee) for different textures and effects.
There is definitely a learning curve in this process, but you need to be consistent throughout the room. The best way to learn the technique is to listen to videos on YouTube.
Below, you can see a before and after of a successful project with TexNov and TexPro products from Cisko Acrylic Inc.
Subscribe to their Facebook page to see more successful projects by following this link:
In this project, the substrate was Permabase style concrete panel.
The steps followed by
Cisko Acrylic inc
are the following:
- Surface preparation to remove all dirt and increase adhesion
- Application of an elastomeric membrane FlexBase style
- Installation of fiberglass mesh to increase the durability of the surface
- Application of the textured topcoat
- Sealing with Texnov’s MET-HD
For reference, all of these products share polymer components, which guarantees increased durability, even in rooms exposed to humidity and temperature variation.
The covering power
The coverage of microcement can vary, one set covers the equivalent of two coats of 38-48 ft2 (3.5-4.5 m2) but keep in mind that the level of porosity of the substrate and the temperature can affect the area covered by the product.
Step 4: Sanding down imperfections
Afterwards, there will probably be a few drips or areas that are too rough and need sanding (especially corners and edges of walls/doors). This is done quite easily with a friction sander made for concrete.
Some areas need to be chiseled out especially along the floor where the drops had dried and hardened (be sure to wipe them off while it is still wet!).
Selective sanding is also not a bad idea to do after the first coat, but you don’t have to worry about it too much at first, as the second coat will cover most imperfections.
Step 5: Grinding
After the TexBright has cured, you can sand the entire surface with a 120 grit and then sand the entire surface with a 220 grit, but avoid making grooves.
When finished, the sanded surface should be very smooth to the touch, this is necessary to resist soiling.
Frequently asked questions
Note that these answers are specific to TexNov microcement products such as TexBright and may not be accurate for all manufacturers.
Where can microcement be used?
Just about everywhere! TexBright and other architectural coatings can be used on walls and floors, both indoors and outdoors. They adhere strongly to almost any surface, including drywall, wood, concrete, tile and masonry.
Can you apply microcement to any wall surface?
Yes. Apply to any drywall, textured or smooth, painted or primed. Apply directly to existing cement board or concrete walls as long as they are in good condition. The application of a cementitious base increases durability and in wet rooms, an elastomeric membrane is required.
Can microcement be used in showers?
Yes. You must first waterproof the cement board, then apply a waterproofing sealant at the end, such as Texnov’s MET-HD. The manufacturer recommends using two coats of their FlexBase before applying the microcement and finishing with their MET-HD sealer.
What is the best way to apply TexBright microcement?
The most appropriate way to apply TexBright is to use a trowel, then a sponge to smooth it out. A large trowel with rounded edges is suggested, this will minimize visible lines and the need for sanding.
Can microcement be applied on tiles?
Yes and no. The manufacturer doesn’t mention it on its data sheet, but it has been done in the past with success by following these steps:
- Sand the tile to remove the shine
- Apply two coats of FlexBase
- Apply TexBright microcement
- Apply a sealant
How much microcement do I need?
For 3/16″ thick installation, one kit: 2 layers cover 38-48 ft2 (3.5-4.5 m2).
The level of porosity of the substrate and the temperature can affect the surface area covered by the product. If in doubt, ask the counter clerk or contact the manufacturer (bilingual service) by following this link.
How many layers of microcement are recommended?
As a general rule, two coats are required. A base coat to cover the surface and a second coat to achieve the desired look.
You can apply only one coat as long as it completely covers the surface. That being said, it takes some practice to master the desired technique. Normally, TexNov suggests applying two coats. Please read the data sheet for details.
How long should the cement dry between coats?
Please allow 12 to 24 hours, depending on temperature, humidity and room conditions.
How long should the cement dry before sealing?
Approximately 24 hours, depending on temperature, humidity and ambient conditions.
How to seal the microcement?
Any water-based acrylic sealant will work. We suggest a water-based penetrating sealer such as Texnov MET-30 or MET-HD.
Where can I buy microcement?
The TexBright is available at Texnov retailers, here is the map
Also, you can contact the manufacturer for an over-the-counter pick-up at 1 877 316-6388
The Texnov team is available to professionals and consumers for any technical assistance; they will guide and inform you on which solutions can be applied on which surfaces and using which techniques (this includes their TexNov, Premium and TexPro range). In addition, the DIY area on the website shows step-by-step structured projects, and the documentation tab provides open access to all technical data sheets.
Although coatings are easy to install, we strongly encourage hiring a professional. The company is not responsible for any work done without professional supervision. TexNov is easy to apply, but the easiest way is to have the work done by an expert.
TexNov presents this article “How to transform your bathroom walls with microcement?”. We present this article with the objective to inform, not to train you. Before undertaking any work, please consult a contractor to ensure optimal results.