Resurface Concrete Driveway, Patio, & Floor (How to Guide)

Many homeowners struggle with what to do about their old concrete driveway or patio surface. As concrete ages, it becomes dull and dingy. Cleaning concrete is an option, but what about resurfacing concrete? Resurfacing concrete opens a world of possibilities to resurface concrete ideas which can increase curb appeal. 

I have successfully resurfaced our home’s concrete patio, and here are a few things I learned about it.

There are two primary reasons to resurface concrete: surface damage from wear and tear and the desire to upgrade the design or appearance of concrete. There are many patterns available with different resurfacing concrete options when it comes to resurfacing concrete.

How to Cover an Old Concrete?

As concrete ages, the surface deteriorates due to wear and tear. Resurfacing a concrete floor in your basement, concrete driveway, or concrete patio can open up a world of design creativity. You can create designs in stamped, stained, and painted concrete finishes.

Or, maybe you’re just looking to:

  • repair a crack or an area of concrete damage
  • resurface rough concrete to provide a smooth surface for flooring

Because driveways and most patios lack a covering, the concrete surface becomes susceptible to damage caused by harsh weather conditions, which gradually evolve into subtle cracks and sometimes a sense of ruggedness and discoloration.

Well, if the concrete is damaged in any way, then you could choose to:

  • repair the concrete damage area only
  • repair the concrete damage and resurface the whole floor
  • remove old concrete and pour new concrete

But if your concrete is crack or damage-free, you want to clean and either paint, stain, or epoxy the concrete.

However, if you need to repair concrete or change the color and style, resurfacing it is the way to go.

To cover old concrete, here are three common concrete resurfacing techniques:

Decorative Spray Concrete Overlay Resurface

The technique in this video is best suited to resurface concrete that is in overall good condition. You only need to thoroughly clean the concrete, remove any old paint or epoxy with a grinder, and vacuum away all the debris.

You’ll need to apply an acid etch to prep the concrete to receive the spray overlay, and pressure wash the acid away before applying the base coat. The base cost serves as the color for the grout lines and needs 24 hours to dry before taping off the pattern.

The concrete resurfacing overlay is sprayed on the concrete using a hopper gun instead of pouring concrete on the intended surface. 

Aside from giving the surface an anti-slippery effect, it produces one of the best topical finishes. With a hopper gun, you can achieve diverse colors delightful to the eye.

Spray texture is a great way to hide concrete flaws and blemishes. It has a subtle texture that is similar to stucco. It’s a perfect concrete solution popular for resurfacing pool decks. You can also use it for patios, driveways, entryways, walkways, and other outdoor surfaces.

Pool Deck: Spray Concrete Resurface Mimics Brick and Stone

The decorative concrete overlay to this pool deck above mimics brick coping and flagstone.

Patio: Spray Concrete Overlay Mimics Brick and Slate

The decorative spray concrete overlay to this patio looks like brick edging and slate stone.

Driveway: Spray Concrete Overlay – Brick Edging and Flag Stone

This driveway’s decorative spray concrete overlay has brick edging and natural flagstone.

Now, let’s look at the stained concrete overlay process.

Stained Concrete Resurfacing

Stained concrete resurfacing is similar to over concrete overlay processes, except a special stain made for concrete is used instead of mixing color into the overlay while it’s wet. Unlike mixing color into the concrete mix or topical painting, stained concrete resurfacing penetrates deep into the concrete and does not peel off.

The concrete needs to be thoroughly cleaned, and all paint removed with a grinder. The concrete overlay is poured over and troweled to a smooth finish in a two-part process.

The stain is rolled, sprayed, or brushed over the concrete. The above process used a single color stain. You can layer stains and use an acid etching to break up the stains to give it a natural stone or earthy look. They are highly versatile and eco-friendly, plus they ooze out the finishing effect of granite and marble. 

Finally, the concrete is sealed with a concrete sealer applied in two thin coats applied with a wide paint roller.

Driveway: Stained Concrete Overlay with Border

Adding a stained concrete overlay to your driveway can give it a new look and increase the value of your home. You can also add a border to add some extra decoration. There are many different colors and designs to choose from, so you can find the perfect one for your home.

Patio: Stained Concrete Overlay with Border

One of our favorite projects is a stained concrete overlay on an exterior patio with a border. The patio was in rough shape, with many cracks and uneven surfaces. The contractor fixed all those problems by pouring a new concrete overlay and then staining it with a darker border.

Garage: Glossy Stained Concrete Overlay

A glossy stained concrete overlay is a great way to add extra pizzazz to your garage floor. The overlay can be stained in any color or pattern that you choose, and it will protect your garage floor from wear and tear. Plus, it’s easy to keep clean – sweep or mop it regularly.

Basement: Glossy Stained Concrete Overlay

A glossy stained concrete overlay is a great way to update your basement without breaking the bank. This relatively inexpensive option can give your space a whole new look and feel, and it’s easy to maintain. Plus, you can choose from various colors and finishes to create the perfect look for your home.

Stamped Concrete Overlay

Stamped concrete overlay is one of the most popular and widely used concrete patio resurfacing techniques. It comes with an endless range of possible ideas embossed on engraved on an otherwise standard overlay to convey a classic look.

This creative technique allows your concrete patio to mimic other expensive, classy construction materials such as slate, stone, and bricks. It also incorporates color and different designs.

Stamped concrete is most popular on driveways, walkways, patios, and pool decking. It’s generally not a popular interior floor finish, but that’s not to say it can’t be an option.

Stamped Paver Pattern

The stamped paver pattern is a great way to add some interest to your patio. The pavers are set at an angle to create a curved or circular design. You can do this in any color or style of paver you like. You can also mix and match different colors and styles to create a unique look.

Stamped Paver Stone Pattern

The stamped paver stone pattern is an excellent option for anyone looking to add some extra flair to their patio or driveway. This pattern can be achieved by using a stamping tool to create an embossed design in the concrete. There are many different designs that you can choose from, so you can find the perfect one to match your style.

Stamped Wood Pattern

This stamped wood pattern is a great way to add extra visual interest to your projects. The design is easy to create and can be used on various projects. This stamp overlay can be popular on a basement or concrete floor.

Stamped Stone Tile Pattern

Stone tile is a great way to add some character to your stamped concrete. It can also be a great way to add some extra protection against wear and tear. Stone tile templates come in many different shapes and sizes so that you can find the perfect one for your project.

How Much Does it Cost to Resurface Concrete?

Concrete resurfacing is an inexpensive, practical, and enticing patio restoration alternative.

Many other construction materials are generally expensive; these include wood, brick, and stone, but not concrete.

The average cost for 100 square feet of basic concrete resurfacing is $400. Less expensive projects can run as little as $300, while more expensive ones are about $500. The price per square foot can range between $3 and $5.

Concrete Resurfacing Cost Per Square Foot

According to SunDek, a leading concrete resurfacing company, resurfacing concrete costs between $3 and $25 per square foot. Costs vary widely due to some projects’ many options and intricate detail.

HomeAdvisor echos similar concrete overlay costs at $3 to $20 per square foot.

The consensus around basic concrete resurfacing is $3 to $8 per square foot, making it a budget-friendly way to get the look and feel of a new patio.

Even though the cost of resurfacing concrete varies on the detail and size of your surface, it is a more cost-effective option than removing the existing concrete and pouring a new slab. 

TypePer Square FootPer 100 Square Feet
Basic (Single stain color)$3 – $5$300 – $500
Decorative Overlay (Multiple colors, polishing, saw cuts)$7 – $12$700 – $1,200
Stamped (Embeds, dividers, stencils, epoxy terrazzo)$8 – $20$800 – $2,000
Source

We are talking in terms of product availability, the price of the product on the counter, durability of the product, and the amount you will be charged for installation in case you choose to have a professional do the renovation project for you.

You could pull out a fine resurfacing job by yourself if you choose to, but of course, having the help of a friend is beneficial. It will not only give you a pleasant experience but will also help you cut down on expenses.

Concrete, a mix of sand, gravel, and water and cement resurfacing products, are readily available, making them more affordable. When properly mixed and applied, concrete overlays will last you 10 to 20 years, depending on maintenance.

How Much Concrete Will You Need?

You should note that many people often interchange the words cement and concrete. Cement is the dry portland mix mixed with water to make concrete. Quikrete is the largest provider of packaged cement mix.

The good thing with resurfacing is that you are applying a thin coat of overlay, so you will require no more than two or three bags of cement to complete the job.

One bag of cement on a typical day covers 10 square feet. Calculate the number of square feet your outdoor space is, and it will give you the number of bags you will require.

It will help you not buy cement in excess and not buy less than you require. 

Quickrete concrete resurfacer can be used for DIY resurface concrete projects around your house. However, we recommend contacting a professional concrete resurfacing company if you’ve not worked with concrete before.

On average and depending on different manufacturing companies, one bag of cement-based resurfacing products goes for $60 to $140. 

So if a bag can surface 10 square feet of concrete floor and your patio measures 50 square feet, your cost of material will be $700.

If you add color, 1 square foot consumes $4 worth of concrete paint.

Then there are different natural designs a concrete patio floor can replicate e.g.

  • Marble stone
  • Slate
  • Stone
  • Bricks etc.

Labor per square foot costs between $3 to $20. Whichever the case, concrete patio resurfacing is possible and inexpensive compared to other construction materials.

How to Resurface Concrete?

Resurfacing concrete is a daunting task, as you might imagine. In the past, when a concrete patio or driveway started to show severe signs of aging, using a jackhammer or bringing in a bulldozer were the only repair options. Today there are more practical alternatives.

Concrete resurfacing takes multiple steps, and some prep work needs to be done before the surface makeover can begin. You should first determine if the concrete is suitable for resurfacing. 

Here is what you need then, followed by a step by step procedure on how to apply an overlay of concrete on a patio:

  • Cement-based resurfacer
  • A 5-liter gallon bucket for mixing the products
  • Water for mixing overlay
  • A paddle mixer for mixing up the contents of water and cement resurfacer
  • Two pairs of hand trowels
  • A squeegee for applying the mixture to the floor
  • A soft-bristled broom for the finishing touch
  • Eye protection
  • Gloves
  • Gum-boots

Step 1

Prepare the old patio floor for the new renovations by cleaning out any dirt, stains, and debris from cracked spaces to ensure that the new overlay will hold well onto the old concrete.

If possible, wash but not with detergents and allow the water to drain but do not allow it to dry. It is always best to apply an overlay when the surface is wet.

Step 2

Repair all cracks by filling them up. This ensures that the problem underneath is adequately fixed, not extending the damage to the new coating.

You can either allow the repairs to breathe before resurfacing or dive straight into resurfacing. Allowing the repairs to breathe will also enable you to take a short break as the task ahead will be rigorous.

Step 3

Mix the cement base with water. When ready to begin, pour 3½ liters of water into the five-liter gallon bucket, tear up the cement resurfacer packet, and pour a quarter or half of it into the five buckets. Roll up your sleeves and mix the two products using the paddle mixer.

As you mix, keep on adding more water into the paste. Mix until you achieve a paste that does not have lumps. If the paste is too thin, add more resurfacer and add more water if too thick.

The thicker, the better it allows for a broader depth between ¼” and 1″.

The point here is to achieve a paste that is easy to pour and comfortable to spread. Note that cement-based resurfacers dry out pretty quickly, so you must mix the product in stages according to how much you can pour and spread at a go.

It is crucial to have someone else with you who will be mixing a new coat as you spread the other so that the edge the coat you are working on reaches does not dry out before the fresh coat is ready.

Coats should follow each other simultaneously without delay.

Step 4

Pour the resurfacing mix generously on the old concrete floor, working on a wide enough strip and long enough but comfortable enough for you to kneel and stretch when using a trowel or stand and pull when using a squeegee.

Make sure to be fast enough in your actions to have ample time to work without the product threatening to dry out on you.

Step 5

Apply the resurfacing mix evenly. Here, you will have decided if you are using a trowel or a squeegee. Start pulling the mix evenly towards you with a squeegee as you retreat slowly. Keep pouring more mix bucket upon bucket onto the unapplied concrete surface as you work.

With a trowel, pour the concrete resurface mix on the floor. Kneeling, hold one scoop with your left hand following the edge of your working area to make a fine, straight edge as you follow up, applying the mix along the three edges with your right hand.

You work from one side to the other as you retreat on your back, moving the trowel in a figure-eight motion.

Step 6

Every time a bucket of overlay is complete, apply a broom finish on top of the overlay using the soft-bristled broom by giving it one sweep (nice and smooth) going the same direction you used to apply the mix. 

One sweep ensures uniformity and evenness throughout the resurfaced concrete surface.

Note: as much as cement-based resurfacing products dry out quickly, they still allow the newly done space-time to dry out completely before stepping on to avoid unprecedented damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does it Mean to Resurface Concrete?

Resurfacing concrete is a process that can give your old concrete driveway, patio, or sidewalk a new look. It is also a way to fix any damage that may have occurred on the surface of the concrete. Resurfacing can also blend new and old concrete to create a uniform look.

Resurfacing concrete involves grinding off the top layer of concrete to remove sealants, paint, and other oils, allowing concrete to bond with the concrete overlay. Overlays are generally applied in two coats, but you may need additional coats depending on your concrete condition.

How Many Times Can You Resurface Concrete?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on several factors, such as the condition of the concrete and the resurfacing material used. However, you can resurface concrete up to three times in most cases.

Is it Better to Resurface or Replace Concrete?

It is cheaper and easier to resurface concrete than to replace it. If your concrete is still in good condition and has only a few minor cracks or blemishes, resurfacing is your best option. If the structural integrity of the concrete is compromised by major cracking or movement, then replacement of the concrete is best to repair the underlying problems that exist.

How Often Should You Resurface Concrete?

In most cases, concrete resurfacing lasts 10 to 20 years, depending on installation quality, foot traffic, and weather. In subpar quality installations, resurfacing can be needed immediately upon discovering deficiencies. A quality installation should last about ten years, on average.

Can Crumbling Concrete be Repaired?

You can repair crumbling concrete. However, the extent of the damage will determine how much work needs to be done. It may be necessary to remove all of the old concrete and start from scratch in some cases. If only a small section is damaged, patching may be more feasible.

When to Resurface Concrete Driveway?

When to resurface a driveway will depend on what you desire. In most cases, concrete driveways will need to be resurfaced every five to seven years because of high traffic. Due to vehicle traffic, driveway concrete overlays have a shorter lifespan and will likely need concrete driveway resurfacing every 10 years.

When to Resurface Concrete Pool?

Concrete pools should be resurfaced every 10 to 15 years to maintain their structural integrity and appearance. If your concrete pool has not been resurfaced in the last ten years, now is the time to do it! A professional can help you choose the right material and get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Final Thoughts

You can resurface a cement patio if the floor is damaged through wear and tear. The owner needs to upgrade a better-looking concrete floor in terms of color, design, and pattern available with different styles of concrete resurfacing.

Because the patio for many homes is open, even the most robust concrete floors will damage with time, stained, or eroded by water, especially during heavy rains and snowy days. 

To help boost the durability of your concrete thereof, introduce a waterproof sealant to the concrete resurfacing mix when mixing the concrete so that you will embed it in the fabric of the concrete floor. 

When it comes to cost, the average cost to resurface 100 square feet of concrete is $400. Less expensive projects can run as little as $300, while more expensive ones are about $500. The price per square foot can range between $3 and $5.

Resurfacing concrete can be a DIY project, but it’s not necessarily a one-person job. Hiring a professional contractor will achieve the best results.

Photo of author

Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
DISCLAIMER: The content published on HomeInspectionInsider.com is not professional advice. You should consult with a licensed professional and check local permit requirements before starting any project.
HomeInspectionInsider.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. We also participate in other affiliate programs with other affiliate sites. We are compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.