How to apply a concrete resurfacing mixture to your concrete walk to repair winter damage or just to improve the look of your property.
Homeowners can save a lot of money on a simple repair while improving your home’s curb appeal; resurface your concrete walkway. After extremely cold winter weather with ice and snow, you may find your concrete walkway has taken a beating, especially if you have applied ice melters or salt to it. As long as the walkway isn't cracked all the way through, you can coat the slab with a resurfacing product which is a mixture of Portland cement, sand, and polymers that will fill small nicks and holes in the surface and will not shrink.
Most resurfacers will be some shade of gray and will not match your existing concrete walk so figure on recoating the entire surface to create a uniform appearance. Typically a 40-pound bag coats about 35 square feet. You may also want to add a concrete tint to the mixture to alter the color for a more modern look..
Before you begin resurfacing your concrete walk, you will need to strip off any paint or sealers. Keep a close eye on the weather conditions since the temperature needs to remain above 50 degrees F for at least 8 hours after you apply the mixture and above freezing for 24 hours after that.
Depending on the size of your walk, you can expect to spend the whole day on this project.
Goggles and rubber gloves
Electric drill with paddle mixer (Paddle mixers can be found in the drywall section of your home center)
Concrete resurfacing mix
Concrete cleaner – to help the resurfacer bond to the concrete
Adhesive-backed foam weatherstripping, the width of your concrete joints
1. Pressure wash the concrete walk
While wearing goggles, pressure wash the surface to remove dirt with an electric or gas-powered pressure washer. A machine that can supply 3,500 PSI works best for this project, as you will be able to clean the walk quickly. Use a 25-degree fan tip, and hold it 6 to 8 inches from the surface as you clean the concrete with slow, even sweeps. Use a concrete wash to remove mildew or algae.
Pressure washer with Fan Tip
2. Patch spalled areas.
While the concrete is damp, mix enough resurfacer to fill any small holes. Combine 1 part water with 7 parts resurfacer in a 5-gallon bucket; blend with a paddle mixer attached to a corded drill. Fill the holes and any deeper areas with resurfacer, and smooth with a finish trowel.
Repairing Damaged areas
After a few hours check to see that the patches have hardened sufficiently and sand off any ridges with a rubbing brick. You can test the patch by trying to mark a mark in it by pushing your thumbnail into the surface, if it barely leaves a mark, you can proceed.
20-Grit Rubbing Brick
3. Mixing and spreading the resurfacer
Cover the walkway joints with the foam weatherstripping, and dampen the concrete with a sprayer or hose on mist. You can usually apply the resurfacer for about 20 minutes, so work in small batches, about half the bag at a time. Follow the water-to-mix ratio provided on the bag and pour it on the walk. Half a bag will cover a little more than 17 square feet, or about 6 feet of a 3-foot wide walkway. Pour the mixture directly onto the walk.
Spread the resurfacer to a thickness of 1/8 and ¼ inch thick. To create a slip-resistant finish, lightly brush the surface with the nylon-bristle broom after letting it dry for about 5 minutes. The brush strokes should be perpendicular to the foot traffic, or from the left edge to the right edge. For new concrete, contractors use a stiff street broom with hard brown bristles, but with the softer, thinner layer of the resurfacer, a black nylon broom is best. After 20 minutes you can remove the weatherstripping from the concrete joints.
Spreading the resurfacer
You should wait 6 to 8 hours before walking on it.
The surface can be left exposed if the weather is not too hot and there is no chance of rain. If the walkway is in direct sunlight you should cover it with a light-colored drop cloth or plastic if there is a chance of rain.