Resurface concrete driveway: to do or not to do?

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Old 05-06-14, 08:56 PM
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Question Resurface concrete driveway: to do or not to do?

I have a 40 year old concrete driveway in Maryland with lots of surface damage in places, probably due to salt and age. There is spalling and in some places the aggregate shows or is loose. There are no cracks.

I cringe at the thought of tear out and replacement, and would like to have it resurfaced instead if possible. I'm looking at something like Quikrete Concrete Resurfacer or Ardex CD. These are polymer-modified cements.

I was told by one contractor (who doesn't do resurfacing, and who didn't even see the driveway) not to resurface since it doesn't last. I'm in the process of getting some other opinions.

Does any of you (homeowners or professionals) have experience with these products? If applied properly by a professional, do they last? Which product is better? Or will I be kicking myself in 3 years for wasting my $$?
 
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Old 05-06-14, 09:57 PM
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Your description of the existing driveway concrete is not conducive for resurfacing it, mainly because whatever material you place on it will continue to pull aggregate off. I've never used either product you listed, but I have been involved in the installation of hundreds of bridge deck thin-bonded concrete overlays in the last 40+ years, and learned quickly that if the parent concrete is not sound after preparation work is complete, even the best repair products will not yield satisfactory results.

I briefly skimmed the reviews of the Quikrete product listed--most of them are not good. Far more failures and "save your money" comments than successes. Another disadvantage is the product warning not to mix more material than can be placed and finished in 20 minutes--that means it's very fast-setting. And definitely problematic if your intent is to finish an entire driveway area with it, unless you break it into small squares or rectangles with shallow form-boards delineating the placement areas.

If you could post a few pix of the existing concrete, they would give us a better chance of "guesstimating" your success using a resurfacing product.
 
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Old 05-07-14, 06:33 AM
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Thanks for your reply. Here are a few pics. The exposed aggregate is not loose, it's just visible and the surface is rough.
 
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Old 05-07-14, 11:45 AM
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Based on what's visible in the pix, I don't think it will take 3 years before you are kicking yourself for wasting your money on resurfacing--more like just 1 year or less. Once the matrix (the mortar-type material holding all of the aggregate particles together) has ceased being functional, as yours appears, I don't think anything applied to the surface will permanently restore the driveway. The resurfacer may bridge things for a while, but eventually it will apply enough stresses on the weaker underlying material, causing it to fail and start breaking off, taking the new product with it. And a quick question--your first post said the exposed aggregate is loose, but now it's not? I suspect that if you dragged a heavy section of chain, slowly over broad areas, you'd hear variations in sound indicating some of the rock particles are indeed loose and not bonded.

Others with more experience applying resurfacing products may have other opinions, but if it was mine, removal and replacement would be the best (and only) course of action.
 
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Old 05-07-14, 12:51 PM
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Do it right now and don't worry about it for 30 or 40 more years, or do it cheap but spend more money re-doing it more frequently.

Mine is asphalt. Not the same substance, but the same principal. Whatever is underneath needs to be sound. Otherwise problems will telegraph through. My asphalt drive was resurfaced twice over its life now has places where it is heaving and sinking again. Next year I plan to pay the money to have it ripped, get a good base put down, and re-done properly.
 
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Old 05-08-14, 05:13 AM
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we do that work & we're experts but i wouldn't take the job unless you'd accept an ( over the hill-taillight-50'/50min ) guarantee & paid in cash up front
 
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