Introduction: Skim Coat Concrete Floor Cover Up

About: Undoing everything a house flipper did. Visit

First let me say, I'm very embarrassed to show you many of these photos. With a very large messy dog and a very messy husband and with this door leading right into our back yard and this stair is our main entry in and out of the house on a daily basis, it's a wreck. Constantly.

One day I had had enough and it was time to change.

I abhorred the tile at the base of the stair but it was clear that it was adhered to concrete, and maybe not a solid bed of concrete as some tiles sounded hollow. Rather than rip it out, I opted to cover over it. And turns out, it was easy. And turns out even more, this has held up to a decent portion of abuse.


What you need:

skim coat concrete*


putty knife*




a sealer of some sort such as mineral oil, car wax,* or concrete sealer*

FYI, the * items are Amazon affiliate links so if you purchase, you won't pay more but I'll earn a few cents to keep my handy blog, Flipping the Flip, going and I'd sure appreciate it!

Step 1: Evaluate

Now, this project might not work everywhere. You'll need to evaluate your existing situation well to make sure this will work for you.

In my case, I had a small square foot area. The tile was surprisingly well adhered to the substrate. It wasn't connecting to another flooring material so there wouldn't be a level change.

The new skim coat layer was to be thin enough that it wouldn't create a tripping hazard for changing the riser height from the floor to the first step. Granted, the dolts who flipped this house did a poor job of everything anyway so I may have fixed the rise, who knows.

Too this area is sunken below the door so I wouldn't have issues with the door swinging in.

Skim coat concrete will fix a lot of problems for you but you should evaluate carefully if this will fix problems or create new ones.

Gah, I loathed that tile floor.

Step 2: Clean and Prep

Next step is to clean the floor incredibly well, making sure to use a cleaner that doesn't leave behind a film or any granules of stuff.

Remove any baseboard or trim that's in the way. In my case, I had to do a little prep work around.

Step 3: Mixing

Once the floor is ready to go, mix up your skim coat concrete according to the instructions on the bag or box. I only needed one bag for this which I believe was 15 lbs.

Step 4: Spread the Concrete

You'll only have a certain amount of open working time so move swiftly enough spreading the concrete over your floor. Use a smooth-edged trowel and a putty knife to get the goo into places and smoothed well.

Step 5: Smoothing

If you're looking for a super smooth floor, note that this product doesn't level itself, you'll need to work out any bumps and such while it's wet. It'll be frustrating and like trying to frost a cake perfectly, it can make you batty. I eventually gave up in the hopes it would even itself out (it doesn't).

Step 6: Test the Floor

Well, maybe skip this step. He's everywhere I want to be. But, the flooring passes the seated dog butt test!

Step 7: Sand

You may find you need to sand to even things up. Try to do this sooner rather than later as eventually the skim coat concrete will set up tougher. Read the instructions on the bag or box as that will guide you on a timeline as each product may vary.

Invariably, my floor wasn't completely smooth nor perfect and for me, that's a-okay. I learned a slew of lessons for the next time which in the end, is the best part of any DIY, the learning.

I have all sorts of further details and tips over in the blog post, just in case I'm missing anything, so click here to read more.

Step 8: Seal It

I went through several different iterations of sealers so let's just say, this is one well sealed floor. Look for something that fits your needs best, whether that's mineral oil, car wax, a concrete sealer, or something else.

Step 9: Enjoy Your New Floor

While again, this floor may not be utter perfection, it is to me and it's been fantastic. It has held up really well, no chips, no scratches, cleans up easy, and it's been great so I highly recommend skim coat concrete!

To find out how I put peel and stick wood-look vinyl plank flooring on our contractor-grade stair, click here.

But be sure to swing by the blog anyway, lots of cool things to make and do over there!

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