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Does Concrete Resurfacing Last?
You have invested a lot of time and money into your home. Unfortunately, you’ve noticed your driveway, garage or other concrete surfaces don’t look as good as they once did. You’ve done some homework and concrete resurfacing seems like the best option to repair and refresh that concrete slab. But before you spend the money, you need to know if it will last.
If you are wondering whether concrete resurfacing lasts, the answer is that the thin layer of cement can last anywhere between 8 to 15 years. The resurfacing will not only last for a long time, but it will also protect the longevity of the underlying slab. The number of years will depend on the material’s quality.
If your concrete surfaces are showing their age, depending on their condition and the age of your home, you may have several options: concrete resurfacing being one of them. Let’s take a look at all your choices and see which one is right for you.
Table of Contents
- Repair, Replace, or Resurface
- What Is Concrete Resurfacing?
- Before You Resurface Your Concrete
- The Age of Your House
- The Condition of the Original Slab
- The Time of Year
- Benefits of Concrete Resurfacing
- Concrete Resurfacing Fits Your Budget
- A New Concrete Surface Can Improve the Aesthetics of Your Home
- Concrete Resurfacing is Quick and Easy
- The New Surface is More Durable
- Preparation is Key
- Concrete Resurfacer Application
Repair, Replace, or Resurface
Your driveway or garage takes a lot of wear and tear. Eventually, the constant exposure to the elements as well as your vehicle driving over it will start to show.
You could repair each spot by patching each one. This is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to correct the damage. Ultimately, you will end up with an ugly patchwork of spots that are not really fixing the problem and can drive down the value of your home.
Replacing the whole concrete slab is another alternative. This is the more expensive option and usually requires professional contractors spending several days removing the old concrete and laying down the new slab.
If your driveway or garage is less than twenty-five years, resurfacing the concrete is the most cost-efficient choice. It will give you a new surface in less than 24 hours at a fraction of the cost of pouring a new slab.
What Is Concrete Resurfacing?
Concrete resurfacing lays a thin layer of cement over an existing concrete slab. The overlay adheres to the foundation using specialized bonding agents. The end result is a new concrete surface that looks better than the old and will probably last much longer.
Before You Resurface Your Concrete
Resurfacing concrete has many advantages. However, when you are considering whether to resurface your concrete slab, there are a few points to think about.
The Age of Your House
If your house is older than twenty years, the concrete has probably been through a lot. Years of patching and small repairs can weaken the foundation and impact the durability of the new overlay.
The Condition of the Original Slab
You also want to take a look at the condition of the whole slab. What is its condition? If there is too much damage, you may want to look into replacing the slab instead of resurfacing it.
- Are there significant size holes?
- Are there chunks of concrete missing along the edges?
- Are there deep cracks caused by water damage?
Although concrete resurfacing can fix a lot of sins in your concrete, it cannot work miracles. If the underlying concrete is in poor condition, pouring a new layer on top of the old will only delay the inevitable. In this situation, it is best to invest the money to rip out the old concrete and replace it with a completely new slab.
The Time of Year
Okay, so this one is really only a minor concern, but when you schedule your concrete resurfacing project can affect the length and budget of your project. Taking into consideration when you plan your project can save you potential headaches later.
The material used to resurface concrete is best applied between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit (ca. 32 degree Celsius). That means you should try to schedule your project during the cooler times of the year, especially if you live in a warmer climate.
But don’t look at resurfacing your concrete in the cold of winter either. The colder temperature has an impact on the cement used in the concrete. This will make the final concrete darker and it will take longer to cure.
Benefits of Concrete Resurfacing
Next, we look into why you would want to consider resurfacing over other option. Concrete resurfacing has many advantages. This makes it the right choice for most homeowners. Here’s why:
Concrete Resurfacing Fits Your Budget
There is less work involved in resurfacing concrete so naturally, it will cost less. With concrete resurfacing, there is no need to remove the old foundation. Instead, after a little prep work, you simply apply the resurfacing cement in a thin layer over the existing slab.
There are less man-hours involved which means the overall cost is less. The average cost for resurfacing concrete runs anywhere from $3-$5 per square foot.
In comparison, replacing a concrete slab instead involves not only a lot of manual labor to break-up and haul away the old concrete, but you have to add in the costs of pouring the new foundation as well as the materials and time involved. The overall costs for replacing a concrete slab can easily run into several thousand.
A New Concrete Surface Can Improve the Aesthetics of Your Home
When you resurface your concrete slab, you are covering up the old, cracked, patched surface with a new, smooth one. If you are resurfacing your driveway, this could add to the curb appeal of your property and increase its value.
Concrete is available in one color: basic gray. With today’s advancements in the materials used to resurface concrete, not only do you get a fresher look, but some manufacturers offer options to add some color to the mix.
Concrete Resurfacing is Quick and Easy
With concrete resurfacing there is no need to remove the old concrete, The cement mix is self-leveling so having a smooth, even surface is easy.
Also, concrete resurfacing is fast. Once it is poured, it takes only a few hours to dry and cure. Most concrete resurfacing projects can be completed within 24 hours.
While it is not recommended, if you have the skills, you could apply the new layer of cement yourself. If you decide to go this route, make sure you choose the right materials for the job. Look for the product for concrete resurfacing and not a floor leveler.
The New Surface is More Durable
The best part about concrete resurfacing is that it is more durable than the original foundation. As concrete ages, it tends to become weaker and there is a tendency to shows little cracks and small gaps in the surface.
The new layer fills in those little imperfections and will strengthen the whole slab. In the end, you will have a brand new concrete surface that is stronger and more durable.
Concrete resurfacing may not be the solution to all your concrete problems. If you have just a few spots that need repair or you need to replace the whole thing, other options may prove to be a better choice.
However, if you do choose concrete resurfacing, you will have a beautiful, smooth, long-lasting surface that will extend the life of your concrete slab for many years into the future.
Preparation is Key
If you decided that resurfacing your concrete is the way to go, the preparation stage is absolutely crucial. Proper preparation will ensure that your resurfacing efforts last.
Before applying the resurfacer, you want to ensure that this new layer can properly adhere to the existing surface. To do this, begin by using a pressure washer to remove dirt, grime, oil, tree sap, and any flaking concrete. If stains on your concrete aren’t removed first, they can seep through the resurfacing material.
Quick Tip: If you don’t already own a pressure washer, they can be rented at your local home improvement center.
After the concrete is cleaned, inspect for any large cracks or severely damaged areas. These spots should be repaired with a quality concrete patching compound. Then, use a hose to fully saturate the concrete and broom off standing water. So long as the current temperature will stay above 50 degrees Fahrenheit for at least eight hours and above freezing for 24 hours, you can proceed with applying the resurfacer.
Concrete Resurfacer Application
Once your concrete is prepared, the actual application of the resurfacer is not a complicated process. The product comes in a dry powder, which is mixed with water to form a slurry. To apply, simply spread the solution over the concrete with a long-handled squeegee.
Since resurfacing compounds are self-leveling, you won’t have to work too hard to ensure that the surface is level. Spreading and pouring is easy, leaving you to make sure that surface gets covered completely. Most jobs will require 2-3 coats. The resulting finish will be rather smooth but you can apply texture to the last coat, when it is still slightly wet, by using a broom.
For best results, apply the product when there is the most shade, or at least when the glare from the sun is low. Also, make sure that you don’t have any rain in the forecast for at least eight hours after application.
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