Whether it's your driveway, walkway, back patio, or some other area, the concrete around your home will start to show its age for sure. Most people will fill cracks and "spot patch" certain areas to fix a broken concrete surface quickly. Over time, numerous crack and patch repairs will leave your concrete not looking so good.
If this sounds like the situation around your house or a client’s house, you should consider concrete resurfacing. It's one of the easiest, most efficient ways to get concrete looking brand new again.
But, what are the best concrete resurfacing options? Well, fortunately for you, that's exactly what we're going to cover in today's article. We'll cover the ins and outs of the different types of concrete resurfacing techniques. By the end of this article, you'll be able to easily and confidently select a concrete resurfacing option that works best for you.
You'll be the resident concrete expert around your area. But, we have a lot of information to cover. So, have your pen and paper ready.
Concrete Resurfacing 101 is now in session.
What Is Concrete Resurfacing?
Concrete resurfacing is a technique for revitalizing old concrete. When concrete in a driveway, sidewalk, or patio gets old, it can begin to crack.
When this happens, homeowners have two options. The first option is to completely demolish and remove the old concrete to replace it with a brand new pour. The other option is to consider resurfacing the concrete.
Before you do anything, you need to make sure your concrete surface is worth saving. Years of cracks may mean your concrete surface is too unstable or too bad of shape to resurface. If that's the case, your only option is to remove and replace the existing concrete.
But, if you see that the damage to your concrete surface is only superficial, you can consider resurfacing. Simple repairs would be any minor cracking, discoloration, minor chipping, or spalling. Spalling is any flaking or peeling away of small concrete particles on the surface of the concrete slab.
Homeowners choose to resurface their concrete for one of two reasons. The first reason is that it's much more affordable than completely replacing a concrete slab. The second reason is that it's simple enough to complete at home.
Assessing a Concrete Slab
The first step of the resurfacing process is assessing the condition of your slab. If you're looking to use resurfacing to fix a cracking issue, you need to make sure the crack doesn't go all the way through the slab. If the crack runs the entire depth of the slab, resurfacing won't be a sufficient fix.
Another thing to watch out for is heaving. Heaving is a very drastic movement of the concrete slab. This can happen for several reasons, but it almost always means you need to perform a more in-depth concrete repair.
A way to identify heaving is to check the height of the concrete slab. If the slab is significantly higher or lower on one side of the crack than the other, this could be an indication of heaving.
If, after evaluating your slab, you only notice minor cracks, chips, or spalling, your concrete repair may be a good candidate for concrete resurfacing.
The Resurfacing Process
One of the great things about concrete resurfacing is that the process is pretty simple. Most of the time, it can be done at home.
To start the process, you're going to need to purchase concrete resurfaced. There are two different types of resurfacers on the market. One resurfaced is useful for complete concrete repair. At the same time, the other serves as both a concrete resurfacer and leveling compound for the subfloor of different types of flooring (i.e., carpet, tile, etc.).
Make sure you purchase the resurfacer meant for a complete resurfacing job. These products are labeled as "concrete resurfacer" and not just "floor leveler". Resurfacer also comes in commercial or consumer-grade. The consumer-grade products are much more durable and long-lasting.
Make sure you buy enough concrete resurfacer, though. A typical resurfacing repair may require two to three coats of product.
Preparation Is Key
Like any construction repair, proper planning and preparation will make the job go much easier. You'll want to prepare your concrete slab by grinding down any uneven surfaces and thoroughly cleaning the area. Next, you'll want to repair any cracks or damage you can with a high-quality concrete patching product. Finally, remove any oil or tree sap stains that are on the slab.
Stains may not seem like a major issue for outdoor concrete, but they can cause problems when you go to resurface. Many stains can seep right through the resurfacer once it's applied.
Having old stains seep through and reappear is not going to give your concrete that brand new, revitalized look.
Your resurfacer product will come in the form of a powder. You'll find instructions for mixing the resurfacer right on the bag. Similar to the instructions on a bag of concrete.
Once the resurfacer mixes with water, it forms a slurry. You'll spread this slurry over the surface of your slab using a squeegee.
Most concrete resurfacer products are self-leveling. This means you don't have to work them into the repair area over and over again with the squeegee. A quick leveling and spreading of the material should do the trick.
Make sure the resurfacer is spread out to cover the entire concrete slab. You don't need to use a trowel to level the resurfacer like you would have to do with regular concrete.
Your concrete resurfacing project should be done in mild weather. Concrete resurfacer doesn't handle cold weather well. It should be at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit when doing a resurfacing project. You should make sure the temperature will stay above 40 degrees for the 24 hours after the project.
You'll also want to work on the project when that area of your property gets the most shade. If the area doesn't get much shade, then at least make sure the sun glare is at a minimum. You'll also want to ensure that there is no rain in the forecast for eight hours after application.
Typical resurfacing jobs will take two to three coats of resurfacer. If the rest of your concrete slabs have a textured look, brush the top of the slab with a broom while the final coat is still a little wet to match the other slabs.
Concrete overlay flooring can be done as a surface repair or applied up to 1" thick. This product is self-leveling and can be used to handle most concrete repairs. Overlay works well on driveways, sidewalks, garage floors, and patios.
The product is mixed and then spread over the surface using a trowel or squeegee. It works in a very similar way to a concrete resurfacer. Once the product is applied, it can be finished with decorative stamping or a broom finish to give it an attractive finish.
Best Concrete Resurfacing Options
As far as the best concrete resurfacing options, that's up to you. Different products are available for different types of concrete flooring. The scope of your concrete repair is also going to dictate which type of resurfacer you use.
Best Option for Outdoors
According to our research, the best product for outdoor use is a concrete resurfacer by a company called Cement All. This product is rapid-setting and heavy-duty.
This resurfacer will set in 15 minutes and will harden to "structural strength" after one hour. If mixed properly, the product will also adhere to a range of different types of flooring. Cement All does well on concrete, brick, and even wood subfloor.
Best Option for Cracks
The best resurfacing product for cracks is a product by Kilz. Kilz Over Armor can handle any minor cracks your concrete can throw at it. The product has a thinner consistency, so that it wouldn't be a good fit for more extensive damage.
Over Armor can handle cracks that are up to 1/4" in depth. It's also one of the easiest products to apply as it goes on like paint. You can use a brush, roller, or sprayer to apply Over Armor to your concrete repairs.
If you choose to use this product, be aware of the drying time. Over Armor doesn't have rapid set functionality. You'll need to allow four to six hours after application to apply a second coat. And the product doesn't harden to "structural strength" for three days after application.
Best for Interiors
If you're repairing an indoor concrete slab, like a garage floor or enclosed patio, Quikrete Self-Leveling Resurfacer will be your best option. The product's thinner consistency helps it to self-level as you apply it to your concrete surface.
Mix the concrete surfacer, spread it with your squeegee, and watch it create a brand new floor as it self-levels to revitalize the whole room.
Another significant aspect of this product is the drying time. Quikrete's product can harden enough to handle foot traffic only 6 hours after application.
In addition to resurfacing concrete, this is also a great product to use before laying tile or other types of flooring.
Floors That Have You Floored
Using the best concrete resurfacing options will leave you with floors that have you floored. Resurfacing is an economical way to bring any concrete surface back to life.
If you're looking to complete a concrete resurfacing project, contact the team at Onfloor. We have the products you need to handle any project. Commercial or residential, big or small.