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Concrete resurfacing is a way to make old concrete look new again. A concrete coating is applied over the existing surface, offering a variety of color, texture and pattern options. This type of decorative refinishing can be done on driveways, patios, pool decks and even indoor floors.

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Resurfacing Information
Stamped Overlays Learn how texture can be added to an overlay with stamping mats or other tools.
Pool Deck Resurfacing Discover the best pool deck coating for your project.
Concrete Crack Repair Learn how to fix minor cracks in concrete with a patch.
Driveway Repair See how damaged and unsightly driveways can be repaired with resurfacing, engraving, slabjacking and more.
Resurfacing Patios Get information and design ideas for transforming existing patios with a cement-based overlay or microtopping.
Resurfacing Products Find products that can be used to permanently cover up surface imperfections in existing concrete.

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REPLACE OR RESURFACE?

Conventional wisdom holds that old concrete must be torn out and replaced to improve the look. But there are many repair options available that will save you money, conserve resources, and eliminate disposal problems.

Resurfacing old concrete is perfect for:

  • Fixing cracks
  • Addressing discoloration
  • Hiding surface imperfections
  • Updating outdated finishes
  • Covering unsightly concrete

Completely resurfacing concrete with an overlay is one way to upgrade the look, and you can choose from a wide variety of color and pattern options. If your concrete is in good condition but just needs a facelift, you can also stain, stencil or engrave it to improve the appearance. Here, we tell you all you need to know about restoring existing concrete, including procedures, application techniques, and decorative options.

Concrete Resurfacing - Skimcoat Overlay Application
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What is an acceptable surface to be resurfaced?

Small plastics shrinkage cracks or crazing cracks can be covered by the polymer prime coat and base coat of the resurfacing material.

Larger cracks must be repaired. See Is it worth fixing

In any case, the underlying concrete for a resurfacing project must be sound. It is not feasible to resurface concrete that is heaving, has severe cracks, or is damaged due to freeze/ thaw damage. Resurfacing will not solve underlying soil problems.

Read about types of repairs that can be done to concrete: Basics of concrete repair and troubleshooting

CONCRETE RESURFACING OPTIONS

When resurfacing concrete, you can get any look you want. Here are some popular options:

  • Stamped concrete overlays
  • River rock or pebble coating
  • Cool deck finishes
  • Epoxy coatings with color flakes or metallic pigments (garages)
  • Spray down texture coatings
  • Broom finish applications
  • Integral or topically applied color
  • Stenciled patterns or hand carved designs

DOES CONCRETE RESURFACING LAST?

If you use a high-quality resurfacing product and have it professionally installed, you can expect it to last 10 years or more. Some contractors have even seen resurfacing last 25 years! But if you go with a DIY resurfacing kit from a big box store, they don't last as long.

Proper cleaning, maintenance and protection go a long ways to making your new surface long-lasting. Make sure to have your concrete sealed, and then reseal as needed.

DECORATIVE CONCRETE RESURFACING IDEAS

There are a variety of decorative overlay options to cover concrete driveways, pool decks, patios, parking areas, and almost any other concrete surface.

Before After

Whether you'd like to restore your outdoor concrete or bring new life to the inside of your home with a decorative floor overlay, start by looking at photos to see what you like.

Popular resurfacing projects:

A wide variety of colors are available and flagstone, fan, brick, random stone, and other patterns can be chosen.

Find more info on: Stamping Concrete or Coloring Concrete

Borders are often resurfaced with a different pattern than the interior of the slab surface- providing bold highlights.

PREPARING CONCRETE FOR RESURFACING

The most critical factor when covering concrete with an overlay is to prepare the substrate properly. Overlays are designed to adhere tenaciously to existing concrete. But they must have a clean, solid base to grasp on to. That's why overlooking the prep work, or not doing the job thoroughly, is the most common cause of overlay delamination and failure.

Concrete Coatings of Illinois (Before)

Concrete Coatings of Illinois (After)

The basic steps in surface preparation include:

  • Cleaning the concrete to remove all substances that could inhibit the ability of the overlay to bond, such as dirt, oil and grease. It's also necessary to strip away any coatings, sealers or paints that may have been applied to the concrete.
  • Removing any unsound concrete, such as minor spalling, scaling or delamination, down to solid concrete.
  • Filling active cracks so they don't mirror through to the overlay. Typically any cracks equal to or wider than the width of a credit card will require repair. (See steps in repairing cracks for a concrete resurfacing job.)
  • Profiling, or roughening, the concrete surface to improve the "grip" of the overlay.

Using a machine that mechanically abrades the concrete, such as a grinder or shotblaster, is one of the most effective ways to prepare concrete substrates for resurfacing. This equipment not only removes most contaminants and unsound concrete, it will also leave behind a roughened surface profile. (Read more about proper surface preparation procedures and equipment.)

Clearly, this is a simple overview. The procedures will vary depending on the condition and age of the concrete and the surface preparation guidelines recommended by the overlay manufacturer. This is a job best left to a professional who will be able to assess the condition of your existing concrete and determine the scope of work required to ensure good overlay bonding and performance.

HOW TO RESURFACE CONCRETE - STEP BY STEP GUIDE

Here's a pictorial overview of preparing concrete for resurfacing with Ultra Surface Polymer:

1. Power Washing: Surface Preparation
2. Crack Repair: Prime Cracks
3. Crack Repair: reinforce with fabric.
4. Crack Repair: Apply elastomeric basecoat over Fabric
5. Crack Repair: Patch over fabric with polymer concrete
6. Crack Repair Grind polymer concrete to smooth with surrounding concrete surface
7. Repair Holes Fill with epoxy mortar
8. With the concrete surface properly repaired, apply primecoat & granule broadcast
9. Make Ultra Surface Polymer
10. Texture Coat: Spray polymer concrete with hopper gun
11. Trowel over texture coat to finish
12. After Ultra Surface Polymer Concrete texture coat and trowel finish
13. Colorcoat Application Colorcoat100 - Concrete Gray
14. Sealcoat Application Sealcoat 1000 Clear
15. Curing Time Following the Sealcoat, let cure 48 - 72 hours before vehicular traffic

CONCRETE RESURFACING BEFORE & AFTER PICTURES

Check out these examples of restored and resurfaced concrete work:

Before

After

Hotel Pool Deck Gets a New Surface

Restoring this indoor pool deck only took Travis Winters, the owner of Nebraska Concrete Coatings, five days. The hotel manager wanted to improve the appearance of the pool area to increase guest satisfaction and reduce the amount of maintenance required to keep it looking good. The existing deck was stained and rough on bare feet. The concrete was ground down, acid washed, neutralized and power washed. Then cracks were repaired and a skim coat applied. A diamond pattern and brick border were taped off and colored to create a decorative look.

Learn more about this project: Hotel Pool Deck Resurfacing

Before

After

Concrete Overlay Transforms an Ugly Entryway

There’s nothing worse than an entryway that is unattractive and unsafe. For this home, Barry Fisher of Unique Concrete knew exactly how to solve the problem. After the tiles were removed and the underlying concrete prepared, a 1 ½-inch layer of unbonded reinforced concrete was applied. The fresh concrete was then stamped and hand chiseled to recreate the look of natural stone and tile. There are no visible control joints because the concrete is heavily reinforced with wire mesh.

Get the full story: Concrete Overlay Transforms an Ugly Entryway

OTHER WAYS TO MAKE EXISTING CONCRETE BETTER

Resurfacing isn't the only option for transforming existing concrete. Below is a list of decorative procedures and application techniques that you should also consider.