Concrete resurfacing is a very popular project for homeowners because it allows one to get a brand-new surface for a fraction of the cost of what new concrete would cost. The concept is not new, and it is gaining in popularity for commercial work and public highways. Many public roads and concrete bridges are getting new thin overlays installed as part of a concrete resurfacing project.
On a smaller level, the products you use to perform concrete resurfacing are readily available and inexpensive. If you want to make your own resurfacing material, all you need is Portland cement, medium or coarse sand and some water. If the concrete resurfacing layer is thicker than 1 inch, you may also need some small rounded pea gravel for the mix.
If you do not want to mix your own concrete resurfacing material, then you can buy products that are in a bag or a bucket. Some of the pre-mixed products are very thin, and will not disguise serious holes or scaled areas in badly worn concrete. Concrete scaling happens when a top thin layer pops off the concrete and reveals the stones that are in the concrete mix.
Thicker concrete resurfacing materials will cover up deep depressions or worn spots in concrete. The tricks to making the concrete resurfacing project last for many years are as follows:
- remove all loose concrete
- clean the concrete surface well
- work when the air temperature is in the 50-60 F range
- work on an overcast day with still or no wind
- dampen the old concrete and apply a thin layer of cement paste before installing the concrete resurfacing material
If you mix your own concrete resurfacing material for a thin overlay, mix three parts sand to one part Portland cement. Add just enough water to make the consistency of the mix similar to bricklayer's mortar. If you have to add the small pea gravel for a mix over 1 inch thick, then the mixing ratios are: three parts gravel, two parts sand and 1.5 parts Portland cement.