How to renovate your concrete

Renovate your concrete

We’ll show you how to renovate your concrete surfaces in this post.

Have you a old driveway or patio that has seen better days. There are many ways to rejuvenate your concrete. You can repair, resurface and or replace your concrete depending on how badly it has deteriorated.

Inspect and assess

The first step in renovating your concrete is the inspect and assess your current concrete.

It may be cracked or worn, maybe discolored or you just want to freshen the concrete up.

If your concrete is badly cracked, it may be more economical to rip the old concrete out and replace with new concrete. For concrete that has the usual cracks that all concrete develops, there are products that will repair the cracks.

Your concrete may have been resurfaced originally and needs a spruce up. Or someone might have painted the concrete and it has started to flake. There are several methods to renovate these types of issues with your concrete.

After inspecting and assessing your concrete, you need to assess your skills. Are you capable of carrying out the repairs or processes required to reach your desired results. Your better to work this out before you start than finding out part way through that you can’t achieve the result your after. Some tasks are quite easy, such as sealing concrete but if you need to replace concrete it will be better to get a professional in to get the job done.

Repairing concrete

Repairing cracked concrete is one of the most common issues with concrete. The size of the crack determines the process required to repair the crack.

Hairline cracks up to a 1-2 mm can easily be repaired with a slurry of neat cement or a chalking filler. However the repaired cracks will stand out because of the difference in color to the old concrete. Coating or resurfacing the repaired concrete is the only way to have a uniform color of the concrete.

Large cracks

Larger cracks need to be assessed to determine if there is any movement still in the concrete or not. If there is no evidence of movement, gouge out the crack with a crack chaser or concrete saw. This will enlarge the crack and allow you a better key for your repair material. Remove any loose concrete and dirt from your crack and make sure the crack is dry before filling the crack. Mix up your repair material and trowel it into the crack, removing any air pockets by stabbing your trowel into the crack. Leave the filling material a little proud of the surface, so you can grind the repaired crack level with the surrounding concrete.

Where concrete with movement has cracks, you will need to fix the cause of the movement and then stitch the crack with metal and epoxy resign. Once you have stabilized the concrete you chase the crack out as explain in the previous paragraph. Removal of all debris from the crack with air pressure will also help dry out the crack. While chasing out the crack, you need to cut cross slots over the crack to allow for steel wire or rod to be in bedded into the epoxy resign. Place the steel in the cross cuts and mix up the epoxy filler to fill the cracks. Again leave the filler a little proud of the concrete surface to enable the crack repair to be ground level with the old concrete.

Chipped concrete

For chipped out concrete on edges you may need to place some boxing around to fill in the chipped out piece. Fixing chipped out concrete may require you to chisel out a little more concrete to get a better key. Mix up your concrete and lay it in the usual way, using your trowel, float and egder.

Painted concrete

Never paint your concrete! If you have painted concrete, you will know it is dangerous when wet and it will always peel.

Renovating painted concrete requires a concrete grinder to remove the paint. A grinder will remove a few millimetres of the concrete surface and allow you to resurface the concrete with a good key.

Concrete grinders work much the same way as a floor polisher works, only much more abrasive.

Check out our post on grinding concrete!

Colored concrete

Concrete can be colored in different ways, oxide may be thrown on once the concrete is laid. Or oxide made be added to the concrete when it is batched at the concrete plant. the concrete may be colored with a colored concrete sealer.

These can be renovated with out having to grind the surface. Usually a mild acid wash will give a good key for renovating colored concrete.

Thrown on oxide is only troweled into wet concrete and only goes down a millimetre or two, but chipped out concrete will be grey. Oxide added at the concrete plant will color the concrete all the way through, so any chip out will still be the same color as the rest of the concrete.

Sealed concrete needs to be maintained to remain in good condition. Most concrete sealers are not UV stable, meaning they deteriorate in sunlight, and will be eaten away over the years.

Resurfaced concrete

Resurfaced concrete can incorporate designs and multi colors. Concrete resurfacing adds a thin layer of concrete which is usually stronger than the concrete slab it covers. There are many stencils and colors available for resurfacing concrete.

If you are happy with your resurfaced concrete but it is looking a bit drab, resealing may be enough to make your resurfaced concrete look like new.

Exposed concrete

Renovating exposed concrete is one of the hardest things to do. Due to the stones being exposed and weathering over the years plus the fact that the stones vary in color from year to year, repairing exposed concrete is never going to look good.

If you want to stay with exposed concrete, you are best to cut out and replace whole sections. They will not match but will be better than blotchy patches.

Sealed concrete

Another option to rejuvenate your concrete is to use a concrete sealer. You can use the concrete sealer as a clear coat or add a tint to color your concrete. Sealing your concrete is relatively easy if your concrete is in reasonably good condition. There are many tint colors available for concrete sealers.

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Which option should you choose to renovate your concrete

The condition of your concrete is the major factor in which option you should choose when renovating your concrete. If your concrete is reasonable to good condition, you can choose any of the options discussed in this post. For concrete in poor condition, you are better off getting a professional in to complete the project.

Sealing concrete is the easiest and cheapest option to renovate concrete as you don’t require many tools and it’s pretty much the same as painting anything.

Resurfacing concrete requires a fair bit of experience and special tools, probably best left to the professionals.

Unless your concreting job is small, your better off getting professionals in as they have the resources and knowledge to do the job best. Small slabs up to a 1m square can be easily done by a DIYer in a weekend.

This will help you to renovate your concrete.

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