Concrete Porch Resurfacing
A stamped concrete porch. Source: Flickr - jtgeneralcement
Concrete is a durable, attractive surface that’s great for outdoor areas like porches and patios. However, over time your concrete porch can develop cracks, become discolored, and lose its appeal. But don’t worry; resurfacing is a quick, easy technique to repair damaged concrete. It’s also much less expensive than installing an entirely new porch.
What is Concrete Resurfacing?
Concrete resurfacing is a process in which worn or damaged concrete is coated with a thin layer of product, called an “overlay.” This overlay may be either polymer or a concrete-like mix, specially formulated for resurfacing concrete. The coating works to fill in any gaps and cracks, as well as polishing over scratches and other unsightly areas. Once the overlay is applied, your concrete surface will look like new.
Additional Techniques to Improve Your Concrete Porch
Resurfacing your existing concrete is a great opportunity to make other improvements. If you’ve wanted to dye your concrete a different color but feared doing so because it was in bad shape, or you’ve wanted to improve the plain look of your porch’s surface with concrete stamping – now you can. For color, you can either use an already pigmented overlay or add dye yourself. Once the overlay is applied, you can stamp it before it dries. While you’re at it, you might consider hiring a landscaper to improve the look of your yard, and plant flowers that complement your new porch as well.
How to Prepare for Concrete Resurfacing
Start by prepping the old surface. Your concrete porch can only be resurfaced once it is completely clean and smooth. That means removing all loose, crumbling, or weak concrete and then power washing the porch. In addition, in order for the overlay to bond to the existing surface, a layer of cement paint will first need to be applied to the old concrete.
With the help of your concrete contractor, determine the thickness you want your overlay to be. The new layer can be as thin as 1/16th of an inch, or as thick as 1 inch. Be aware, however, that thinner layers allow more flaws to show through. So if you have major cracks and issues with your existing surface, you’ll want a thicker layer to cover them up.
Concrete Resurfacing Tips
It’s best to resurface your concrete when temperatures are relatively mild, between 50˚F and 60˚F. According to Dallas, Texas concrete contractors, when temperatures reach high levels, water will evaporate from the surface of the concrete too quickly, and cause the concrete to stiffen too soon, which can potentially lead to cracking. If you absolutely must install concrete in hot weather, apply a fog spray to create moisture and prevent the overlay from drying too quickly. Freezing temperatures are also not suitable, because the concrete will be too stiff and hard to apply.
It’s also important to make sure your porch’s expansion and control joints are not sealed. These are gaps which allow the concrete to expand and contract without cracking. Ask your concrete contractor to cover the joints with duct tape or some other material before the overlay is applied, to keep them from getting sealed.
Allow the newly treated concrete porch surface to dry for at least 6 hours before you walk on it.