Resurface Concrete – Don’t Remove and Replace It

Concrete is a durable surface. It is made with natural materials and withstands many years of wear and tear of hard use. The Romans made it 2,000 years ago and used it to build their extensive road system using sand, aggregate, lime, water and animal blood.

Although concrete is durable, it does over time, show erosion and degeneration. However, it does not necessarily need to be removed and replaced. It can be resurfaced.

Thin resurfacing can make an old damaged concrete look almost new without having to tear the surface out and re-pour. This is a real savings in labor and materials, especially when it comes to repairing roads. The citizens enjoy a new road surface in much less time and using fewer tax dollars than if the road were to be replaced.

The homeowner will often find that a patio, basement floor or garage floor need resurfacing. Recent developments in resurfacing materials now offer a truly durable, stain resistant, crack filling resurfacing mix of epoxies and aggregate. The surface dries very quickly and is ready to use in a fraction of the time traditional mix is ready. In a high traffic area this is a big asset.

Resurfacing concrete rather than removing or replacing it can often offer the opportunity to enhance the existing floor with an exciting new decorative concrete finish. It can be stamped, colored and stained and polished to look like marble, terra cotta stone and even stenciled.

As with most things, the cost for resurfacing done by a contractor can have a broad range. If the plain unenhanced gray concrete is used, it can run a little more than $2 a square foot. When decorative finishes are added, or the existing surface requires a great deal of prep work before resurfacing, the cost could range from $4 to $8.

To save money, the do-it-yourselfer may consider doing it his or herself. It is not considered difficult and significant savings can be realized with some work. The owner could get a surface that looks brand new for the cost of a power washer rental, some inexpensive tools and containers of resurfacing material. A patio, for instance, can take about 1 hour for every 5 feet. Of course, the time it takes to prepare the surface is variable. Some of basic tools that will be needed would be a container to mix the water and resurfacing mix, a mortar trowel, a float is optional and a stiff broom to rough the surface to make it non-slip. Renting a power washer is recommended, as is protective clothing and goggles.

Reading further on the subject, especially about curing and mixing will help familiarize you with what to look for and expect.

Overall, the process for resurfacing any surface from a patio, garage or basement floor, to a counter top is as follows:

Measure the area to be resurfaced. You will need this information to know how many bags of concrete mix you will need to do the job.

Choose a concrete product that is meant to be used for resurfacing. It is best to choose a concrete mix that has a proper mix of Portland cement, sand, and additives that will work best as a resurfacing material for repairing basically sound concrete.

Mask areas that need to be kept clean, including the control joints. This can be done with something like duct tape.

Cleaning the surface is critical. Renting a power washer to clean the area will do the job well.

The next step is mixing the concrete following the directions on the bag. Using a wheelbarrow works well. Following the directions for the product, add water in increments until the consistency is not thick, but thin enough to spread well.

Wet the patio surface before applying the concrete. The surface needs to be wet, but without standing water.

Shovel the concrete onto the patio and spread it out with a masonry trowel. If the resurfacing has to be very smooth, simply run a concrete float over the surface while the concrete is still wet. This practical only when working in one small area at a time, as the concrete hardens quickly.

Running a broom over the surface while it’s wet will make it more slip-resistant.

Keep all foot traffic off the fresh concrete for at least 6 hours. Check your product for the expected drying times. More time is needed if the temperature is cool. Covering the surface with plastic could help it to cure without cracks.