Curb appeal matters! If you are thinking of repairing old, damaged concrete, concrete resurfacing might be a good option.
No matter how Godly your home or garden looks, the first thing that anyone notices on your property is the curb. Over time, the concrete is prone to wear and tear and might even suffer mild damage. And it’s not just the curb and driveway; think about the patio, pool deck, or even the indoor floors.
All of these surfaces suffer slight damage over the years. However, does it really make sense to replace the entire concrete slab? If you’re looking for a more cost-effective and less time-consuming option, then concrete resurfacing might be your best bet.
In this guide, we will tell you everything you need to know about concrete resurfacing. You can use our tips and guide to figure out if your driveway, patio, or pool deck can benefit from this process.
So, without further ado, let’s get straight to the deets!
What is Concrete Resurfacing
What Does Concrete Resurfacing Entail?
If you were to go down the traditional route, repairing damaged concrete can be a costly, sordid affair. The process begins by breaking up the old concrete surface entirely, removing it, and laying down new concrete in its place. As one can imagine, this is an extremely time-consuming as well as exhausting process.
So, how is concrete resurfacing any different? To begin with, concrete resurfacing uses the existing concrete surface as its base. Nothing is broken down and disposed of. Instead, the new concrete material is laid over the existing surface, which then binds to it, becoming a new surface.
What Is A Concrete Resurfacer Made Of?
There are several types of concrete mix products available in the market. However, unlike most typical concrete mixes, concrete resurfacer is applied in a very thin layer. Typically, concrete resurfacer contains a blend of ordinary cement along with polymer modifiers, fine sands, and other special bonding agents.
It is applied in a thin layer over the existing concrete surface. The layer is typically not more than ½-inch thick. We recommend waiting for at least 24 hours before using the resurfaced area.
Moreover, concrete resurfacer is extremely strong and has a compressive strength of 4,500 PSI. This is, in fact, stronger than the actual concrete slab. If applied properly, concrete resurfacer can be extremely strong and durable, lasting for years (with proper use).
Should You Replace Or Resurface?
Traditionally, any kind of damage, including trivial ones due to wear and tear, would be repaired by breaking apart the existing concrete slab and laying a new one. However, with minor damages, it makes more sense to be cost-effective and conserve resources.
The best alternative is to opt for concrete resurfacing. The situations that are ideal for concrete resurfacing include:
- Minor damage
- Wear and tear
- Hiding surface imperfections
- Fixing minor cracks on the surface
- Fixing discoloration
- Covering a damaged or unsightly concrete surface
- Updating an outdated concrete finish
That being said, we recommend getting your concrete surface assessed by a professional. More often than not, concrete surfaces do not require an entire replacement but can look as good as new with a ‘facelift.’ There are several options available now, which allow you to stencil, engrave, and even stain the concrete resurface to exponentially enhance its appearance.
How Do You Prepare The Concrete Area For Resurfacing?
The most vital factor of concrete resurfacing is to prepare the surface properly. Preparing the concrete surface properly will ensure that the resurfacer is applied correctly, is long-lasting and durable. But why is it so important to prepare the surface thoroughly?
This is because concrete resurfacers grasp to a clean and solid base much better. Any debris or stains which are left behind can seep through the resurfacer material and show up at a later stage once the resurfacing project is complete. This can potentially ruin the aesthetic appeal of the resurfaced area.
Here is how you should properly prepare the concrete area for resurfacing:
Step 1 – Clean The Area
The first step in preparing the area for resurfacing is to clean all debris off the surface thoroughly. You can do this initially by sweeping any loose debris such as rocks, sand, leaves, and other such materials off the surface.
However, it is better to be through with this cleaning process and opt for power washing the surface instead. This will also wash away any coatings on the concrete surface, such as paints, sealers, and any oils. Allowing these to remain on the concrete surface can affect the result and now give you the desired look.
That being said, many homeowners prefer to wash and clean the area with soap and water or other chemical products. While this process may be completely fine, it is crucial to ensure that the area is completely clean of any soaps or chemicals once you are done.
Step 2 – Removing Unsound Concrete
Any sort of delamination, scaling, and minor spalling must be removed before you can proceed with applying the resurfacing material. These extraneous materials can affect the way in which the concrete resurfacing material bonds with the existing surface underneath.
Step 3 – Filling Up Cracks & Blemishes
It is recommended to fill up any cracks and blemishes appearing on the existing concrete slab, as long as these cracks are wider than the width of a credit card. Active cracks can affect the adhesion of the resurfacer material, and the new surface may form cracks and breaks if they are not filled.
Essentially, you need to create a smooth canvas to pour the resurfacing product over. An even surface will ensure that the resurfacing mix spreads evenly and smoothly across the concrete slab.
Step 4 – Improving The ‘Grip’ Of The Surface
Once you have power washed and scrubbed down the existing concrete slab, you may notice that it already looks as good as new! Well, this shiny new surface may be aesthetically pleasing, but it is not ideal for concrete resurfacing.
To prepare the area further, you need to roughen the surface slightly, so that the new concrete mix can bond properly with the existing surface. For this, you can use a grinder, a shot blaster, or other such machines.
Once you have completed this step, your concrete area is ready for resurfacing.
How To Resurface Concrete
Now that you have learned how to prepare the area for resurfacing let us tell you how the process of resurfacing works. Of course, we recommend that you get a professional to do this job, as it requires a certain level of skill and expertise.
Once you get the dry powder form of the resurfacer, you need to mix it with water in the correct ratio. This should be specified by the manufacturer. It is vital to follow this step closely, as it will determine the strength and accuracy of the resurfacer product.
The slurry or paste is then applied over the concrete area using a long-handled squeegee. Typical concrete resurfacers are self-leveling. As long as you pour the mixture evenly and spread it over the surface, you don’t need to worry too much about leveling – the mixture will level itself.
Tip – Avoid applying the resurfacer in cold weather. As long as the current temperature in your area is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (and the temperature remains above 40 degrees for the next 24 hours at least), you can continue with the process. However, if this is not the case, we recommend waiting till the weather is warmer, as it helps in the drying process of the mixture.
After applying the initial coating of the resurfacer, you might need to apply a second or even a third coating. This depends on various other factors and does not apply to every concrete resurfacing.
Decorative Concrete Resurfacing
Typically, a concrete resurfacer is available only in a dull gray shade. However, you can opt for decorative concrete resurfacing if you wish to transform the appeal of your pool deck, curb, driveway, patio, or indoor floors. Here are some decorative concrete resurfacing ideas you can explore:
Asymmetric Grid Pattern
Why stick to boring, old, gray driveways when you can opt for an innovative asymmetric grid pattern? This kind of decorative resurfacing can completely transform the look of an otherwise mundane driveway. Make sure to match the color template of your garage and home for the best results.
Pool Deck Pattern
The pool is generally one of the favorite places of any homeowner. If your pool area is your glory and pride, you can consider a unique deck pattern the next time you opt for concrete resurfacing.
This pool deck has a unique ‘brick’ like pattern in a beautiful sandstone shade. The geometric flower design is a great way to break the pattern and add a distinct appeal to the newly resurfaced area.
Another great way to break the monotonous pattern of concrete slabs is to opt for differently patterned borders. There are several options to choose from. You can opt for thick, dark-colored borders or even get textures and patterns for the middle and edges.
There is a variety of colors available, and you should opt for a color combination that compliments the aesthetics of your home. Of course, the multitude of options can be overwhelming for anyone.
It is best to get a professional opinion when you are experimenting with patterns and borders, as they may have a better idea about the best combinations. You can also look up ideas online and try and integrate the same in your own home or driveway.
Here is another example of an innovative concrete resurfacing idea. This one uses bold borders in a slightly different shade from the inner concrete slabs. It provides an excellent break to the patterned inner surface and also provides an elegant aesthetic appeal to the driveway.
This is a great example of an outdated, unsightly entryway that was transformed with the help of concrete resurfacing. The entire appeal of the entryway has changed due to the addition of the dark gray, patterned slabs. Moreover, the entryway has also been made safer to use after the new layer of concrete was applied.
Whether you are looking to enhance the aesthetic appeal and increase the value of your property or just looking to give it a “facelift,” concrete resurfacing is a great option.
In most cases, the process is relatively straightforward, and not as time-consuming as other traditional approaches. The freedom to choose from a variety of colors, textures, and patterns is what increases the appeal of resurfacing your patio or driveway.
Also, it is always advisable to get a professional to help you with the process. Of course, if you are willing, you can attempt it yourself too.
With that, take care and stay safe!