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What is Concrete Resurfacing and How Does It Work?

Have you started noticing cracks in your concrete floors? Or maybe you’ve noticed that the surface is starting to look old and dull? In both cases, you may have already heard people tell you that concrete resurfacing is the solution to your troubles. But before you go ahead and search “concrete resurfacing Orange County” to find contractors in your area, you will need to read everything in this article to get a better grasp of what you’re up against.

If it is your first time facing this problem with concrete, then you may have never heard of concrete resurfacing before, which is assumedly the reason you’ve navigated yourself to this article. In that case, this article breaks down everything you need to know about concrete resurfacing and how it is done.

A 101 on Concrete Resurfacing

So what exactly is concrete resurfacing?

A solution to cracked or old concrete, concrete resurfacing is a process wherein a resurfacer (different from concrete, but we’ll get to that soon) is applied to the surface of the concrete to create a new surface that also covers up cracks and imperfections in the original floor. It should be noted that concrete resurfacing is only a solution for concrete with flaws and cracks but that is in otherwise good shape. It is not a solution for concrete that has deep-set breakages or that is starting to disintegrate.

Resurfacers are used to create this new surface on top of old concrete floors and we should be clear that there is no substitute for it in concrete resurfacing. You may be thinking: “how is it any different from concrete?”. That is a valid question. Resurfacers are different from normal concrete mixtures in that resurfacers contain binding agents that are made specifically to bind with concrete floors. If you were to simply layer on normal concrete to create a new surface, it would not bind and would start breaking off in no time.

If you’ve looked up the cost of resurfacers and are already balking at its price, keep in mind the cost of ripping up and replacing the entire concrete floor which is far higher than a few bags of resurfacers.

Now that you know what concrete resurfacing is and what it’s suitable and not suitable for, we can talk about how exactly concrete resurfacing works and the steps in the process.

How Does Concrete Resurfacing Work?

If you’ve decided that concrete resurfacing is, in fact, the right solution for your concrete woes, then you are faced with two options. You can either hire a professional contractor to complete the job (which we recommend, especially in large areas or places that a lot of people will see) or choose to do it yourself (if you are particularly brave and good at DIY projects).

If you choose to hire a professional concrete contractor, you will only have to communicate what exactly you want the end result to look like and negotiate a price. It is important to remember that resurfacers only come in grey. So if you’re looking for something specific or if you want the same color the rest of your floors have, you will have to ask for the additional service of staining or coloring to get the effect you want.

But if you choose to take the route of doing the concrete resurfacing job on your own, these are the steps you need to follow to be able to do it successfully:

  • Repair superficial imperfections on the surface

Before you resurface a concrete floor, you will have to patch the small cracks and damages you have on the surface. This should not take too much of your time as it does not have to be a perfect job, but just good enough that small dents and cracks will not show through the resurfacer.

  • Start prepping the surface

When it comes to concrete resurfacing, you should never skip over the important prep stage of the process, as the resurfacer will not properly bond otherwise (and you’ll waste a bunch of money having to redo the job).

Preparing the surface starts with cleaning the floor as best as you can. Any debris and dust should be swept up and throw away. And if the surface is particularly dirty, a good scrub with a rough brush should help it along. At this point, you should also remove any stains you may see. With oil and paint stains that are particularly stubborn, you can apply a sealer over the entire floor before the resurfacer to ensure nothing will bleed through to the new surface.

  • Prepare the resurfacer

Before you can use the resurfacer, you will need to mix it with water to get it to the right consistency for use. Follow the instructions and the packet of the bag and you should soon after having a resurfacer ready for use.

At this point, you can mix in any colorants you may want to add to give your new surface a pop of color.

  • Apply the resurfacer to the floor

The surface of the floor should be just slightly damp before you apply the resurfacer to ensure proper binding.

Once sufficiently damp, apply the resurfacer slowly and spread all over the floor. Unlike concrete, resurfacer does not need as much help being leveled out and will naturally become even with just the help of a squeegee. At this point, you can either let the resurfacer dry smooth or apply some kind of texture with a broom to create slip-resistance.

If you think a second coat is necessary after the first coat has been applied, let the surface fully dry first for 3 to 4 hours before applying another coat.
And then, that’s it! You’re all done resurfacing your concrete.