From years of vehicle and foot traffic to constant exposure to the elements, it doesn’t take long for a concrete surface to show signs of wear. Fortunately, resurfacing concrete is a much cheaper and easier process than starting from scratch. Follow these 10 simple steps to resurface your old concrete and have it looking like new in no time.
Step 1 - Surface Clean
The concrete needs to be clear of all debris for the resurfacer to properly adhere to the material. Begin by spraying the area with a pressure washer, being careful to remove all signs of dirt, debris, oil, or crumbling bits of concrete.
Step 2 - Patch Cracks
After the surface is clean, inspect the concrete for any deep cracks or spalling. If you find any, use a patching compound to seal the openings. You can apply the compound with a putty knife for smaller cracks or a caulking gun for larger ones.
Step 3 - Hose Down
Once the patching compound is dried, take a regular garden hose and water down the surface of the concrete. This will help cool the concrete and allows for the best adhesion. Make sure to remove all standing water with a broom before proceeding.
Step 4 - Mix the Resurfacer
It’s best to mix the resurfacing compound in a 5-gallon bucket using a power drill. You can do it by hand but that risks leaving too many lumps in the mixture. Follow the instructions for the correct amount of water-to-resurfacer ratio. The result should be a smooth mixture with the consistency of syrup. If the mixture is too thin, add more resurfacer. If too thick, add extra water.
Step 5 - Weatherstripping
Avoid applying resurfacing compound to expansion joints as they help protect against cracking. You can easily accomplish this by placing some weatherstripping in the joints to keep out the compound.
Step 6 - Apply Resurfacer
The weather will largely determine how fast the resurfacer dries. To keep the mixture workable, use cold water and keep the compound in the shade. You can also work in sections and mix another batch of compound when needed. When applying the compound, pour it on the concrete in wide strips. Use your squeegee to help spread the mixture before it dries. You want the surface to be as smooth and level as possible.
Step 7 - Texture
You can give your concrete a textured look with a simple wire broom. After allowing the compound to dry for about five minutes, rake the broom across the surface in a uniform direction. This will render a textured look once the compound dries and provide you with a non-slip surface for wet or icy weather.
Step 8 - Finishing Touches
Once the resurfacing compound starts to dry, pull up the weatherstripping from the expansion joints. You don’t want to do this step too early as the compound will spill into the joints. If you do it too late, however, you might have a difficult time removing the strips.
Step 9 - Dry
After the mixture has been spread and textured, the only thing left to do is allow it to dry for 24 hours. The resurfacer cures during this time and doesn’t need any added attention. If you are applying the compound in the summer, you might want to spritz the driveway with water to prevent the resurfacer from drying too fast and cracking.
Step 10 - Sealer
The concrete is safe to walk on after two hours of drying time. You can drive your vehicle on the surface after about six hours. Once 24 hours has passed, applying a waterborne masonry sealer will help make the surface last longer.
Most resurfacing compounds will only cure when the temperature stays above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Reconsider this project for warmer weather if the temperature dips below freezing in the next 24 hours.