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How To Resurface Concrete Patios

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Picture shows example of need for resurfacing concrete.

I'm undertaking this concrete resurfacing project because the patio surface shown here needs to be raised to the level of the abutting driveway.

David Beaulieu
Concrete resurfacing for DIYers generally begins with a trip to the hardware store. I bought the QUIKRETE product, myself, but other options are generally available as well. I needed to resurface a concrete patio. Specifically, I had to raise the level of my patio about 1/2" where it meets my driveway, so that it would be flush with the driveway. QUIKRETE® Concrete Resurfacer is intended for precisely such thin applications.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 1 Hour Per 5 Square Feet

Here's How:

  1. Buying a product specifically designed for resurfacing concrete is a key step in this DIY project. According to the QUIKRETE Web site, "QUIKRETE® Concrete Resurfacer is a special blend of Portland cement, sand, polymer modifiers and other additives designed to provide a shrinkage compensated repair material making thin repairs to sound concrete which is in need of surface renewal." This is exactly the product I needed for resurfacing my concrete patio.
  2. You don't want to fill in your existing control joints, so apply duct tape over them. You may similarly mask any other contiguous surfaces, to keep them clean.
  3. Rent a power washer and wash existing concrete surface. This step will help the new concrete adhere to the old surface.
  4. If, by the time you get ready to apply the new concrete, the surface you power-washed has dried, thoroughly wet it again, to improve adhesion (but there should be no standing water).
  5. Mix the new concrete. The QUIKRETE Web site advises as follows: "Mix in a five-gallon (19 L) bucket with a 1/2" (12mm) drill and paddle mixer." This seemed overly fancy for my needs, so I mixed it in a wheelbarrow, using a shovel.
  6. Properly mixing concrete involves adding water in stages, until the proper consistency is attained. Normally, I would add the water using a garden hose. However, I was resurfacing my concrete patio on a cool day, so I chose to use heated water to speed the setting time (following QUIKRETE's directions). This required me to bring out water from inside my house (fortunately, I didn't need much!).
  7. Now simply begin shovelling the new concrete onto the surface and spreading it with your masonry trowel.
  8. If your concrete resurfacing needs to be ultra-smooth, run a concrete float over the new surface before it hardens (practicable if you treat only one small area at a time).
  9. To make your concrete resurfacing more slip-resistant, run a broom across it before it hardens.
  10. For drying times, QUIKRETE says, "Wait 6 hours before allowing foot traffic and 24 hours for automobile traffic. With cool temperatures allow longer curing time prior to use. Protect from rain for at least 6 hours, longer in cool or damp weather. Do not cover unless immediate rain protection is necessary. No sealer is required." One of the key steps to research in any project such as resurfacing concrete is curing concrete properly.

Tips:

  1. Resurfacing concrete patios can be an aesthetic project, but I undertook the task for practical reasons. Water runoff from my concrete patio was threatening to eventually undermine my driveway, by seeping under it: thus my need to raise the level of the concrete patio.
  2. When resurfacing concrete to a depth greater than 1/2", make successive applications (allowing for drying in between).

What You Need

  • QUIKRETE® Concrete Resurfacer.
  • Masonry trowel.
  • A container within which to mix the concrete resurfacer (I used a wheelbarrow).
  • An instrument with which to stir the concrete resurfacer (I used a shovel).
  • Duct tape.
  • Water supply (e.g., garden hose).
  • Protective clothing (especially gloves).
  • Safety mask and goggles.
  • Optional: broom and concrete float.
  • To rent: power washer.
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