Concrete is a material that is often used in construction and can be found on sidewalks, driveways, and patios. It's easy to take for granted what concrete does for us every day.
However, as time goes by, it becomes less attractive and begins to show signs of wear, such as pitting. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to repair pitted concrete yourself.
Pitted concrete does not have to be a problem that is left untreated for years on end. There are ways to fix pitting and restore your concrete's beauty - here's how:
Tools and Materials Needed:
Bucket and mixing stick, if needed
1. Assess the damage to the concrete surface
The first step is to determine the depth of damage. If it's less than ½ inch deep, you can use a concrete parge to fill in the pitted areas of the concrete floor.
If there are deep dents (more than ½ inch) in the repair area, you may want to consider power troweling the concrete – this is a process that uses a machine to smooth out and flatten down any bumps.
Checking your entire floor also helps determine the severity of damage and whether or not there are structural issues involved. After you've determined if your repair method will be parging, power troweling, or both, it's time for step two!
2. Clean and remove any loose material from the pitted concrete garage floor
Ensure that the area is clean and free of any debris. Use a broom or floor squeegee. This will help prevent dirt from getting into your newly poured concrete mix when it gets wet. Ensure that when you're doing this, you clean out any loose concrete from cracks or holes so that they do not get filled with excess material - otherwise, your patched area might be more noticeable than before as this will create a bump under the surface.
Removing the top layer of dirt and debris from the surface where you will be working with a machine or pressure washer (for larger areas) and mop/bucket & water (for smaller areas). Cleaning this way helps prevent stains in your newly patched area by removing all oil-based contaminants such as motor oil and grease, which may saturate into the fresh filler material if they're present during application.
To protect your walls, use plastic sheeting to cover any surfaces that you don't want to get wet.
Start from the top of your garage and work downward so that it'll be easier to keep track of all areas where water might run down onto other parts of the floor.
Ensure not to let too much time pass between cleaning and patching, as concrete can begin setting in as little as an hour. After the concrete floor is completely cleaned and free of any loose debris, you can now proceed to step three!
3. Prepare the concrete patch
Mix your repair material as per the manufacturer's instructions.
You'll want to use a mix or a polymer-modified cement that is similar in color and texture to the surrounding areas of the concrete floor you're repairing for it to blend easier. And make sure to follow the mixing instructions prescribed by the manufacturer.
A power mixer may speed up the process - be sure not to over-mix or over-beat your product as this can cause air bubbles in the final result.
Allow proper curing time before allowing foot traffic (following the directions on the package). Be sure to check local weather conditions and apply when appropriate. Also, consider the humidity levels of less than 45% during the application/curing process.
Epoxy-based patches are best used for crack repair, sealing water leaks, and for filling larger holes. Although they are more expensive than other options, epoxy-based patches will provide a smoother finish with more extended durability.
For larger areas with further pitting and spalling, use an epoxy concrete patch with a sand aggregate for wider cracks. The silica sand is used as a filler in the epoxy and will come in different sizes to better fit the size of your crack.
As for deeper and more severe concrete cracks, use a concrete patch with an epoxy resin base with polyurethane foam as its aggregate filler for maximum strength. It's also self-leveling so that it won't settle or sag over time.
This is a very successful method that floor coating contractors use. It can fill big holes as well as trowel out larger pits and spalling with ease. When cured, these repairs are actually more durable than the concrete.
1 gallon will generally cover 8 - 10ft² at a depth of 1/4" for spalling repairs, depending on the amount of aggregate used.
Polymer Modified Cement
Polymer Modified Cement is a great choice for patching and repairing as well as concrete resurfacing.
It's not recommended to use regular cement mixes because they often leave the patched area more susceptible to moisture problems, cracking, or spalling due to their lack of flexibility and adhesion. And although Polymer Modifiers come with price tags that may seem steep at first, they're very cost-effective in the long run, considering how much longer they last than other options such as epoxy patches (up to 30 years). Although there are no guarantees when it comes down to how quickly your parged surface will deteriorate based on weather conditions, age factors, and material components.
This is a great option if you're looking to repair and resurface your concrete driveway, garage floor, basement, patio, or sidewalk, as the possibilities are endless with how it can be used.
Once you've mixed and prepared your repair material, use an applicator (floor squeegee) – starting from one end of the area.
Use a trowel to smooth out the material and flatten down any ridges or bumps that you see forming on your newly applied concrete surface (this will also help ensure no trapped air or bubbles will form).
Apply the material until it meets up with the original surface.
You will want to let this dry for a couple of days before attempting additional steps (such as power troweling) or allowing foot traffic on your newly repaired concrete flooring.
Some things to keep in mind when laying out your repair mix:
Use a floor squeegee before power troweling your newly patched concrete surface, as well as after applying any chemical sealers or topical products so that you don't accidentally remove them from the garage flooring.
5. Sealing the new concrete floor
Once it's completely dried (and cured), you can seal your new concrete floor.
There are many different types of sealing products that will be recommended depending on what you're looking to achieve with the final result. Some common choices include penetrating through-sealing, topical treatments, or water-based impregnating sealers.
You can also use a chemical sealer on your newly repaired concrete surface, which will help prevent any future stains from setting into or damaging your new patching material—machine tools such as grinders, polishers, and buffers to complete the polishing process if needed.
If you have deeply spalled concrete across the entire floor of your garage or if it is just too difficult to fix individual spots, then consider resurfacing your concrete completely.
Many companies specialize in this sort of work which means that prices can vary widely depending on who does it - but most professional resurfacers use one of two methods: power troweling (like mentioned earlier), where a machine smooths out any bumps and imperfections; or acid etching where an acidic substance is applied to the concrete surface. It is then followed up with a bonding agent who will help ensure that the new top layer of material adheres to your existing garage floor.
Now that you have more information on repairing pitted concrete and some of the steps involved in this project, it's time to get started! Follow these instructions and be sure not to skip any areas when preparing for application. Doing so may result in an uneven finish or less durable repair area - either one is far more noticeable than concrete pitting ever could be. Get out there, clean up those pits, and enjoy what was once porous concrete flooring with a beautiful polished look again!