How to patch & resurface concrete

Concrete is made to last, but time and the elements can lead to surface damage. If the concrete has extensive damage, such as large holes or deep cracks, spot repairs might only be a stop gap measure. Although the techniques can vary according to the type of surface degradation, structurally sound concrete, on the other hand, can be preserved. With a few tools and materials, even the uninitiated homeowner can successfully patch and resurface concrete.

Patch small holes less than one-half in deep with vinyl-reinforced patching compound. Start by cutting around the perimeter of the hole with a drill equipped with a masonry-grinding disc. Slant the cuts 15 degrees away from the hole.

Use the chisel to chip away any loose concrete within the hole. Clean the debris from the hole.

Apply a thin layer of concrete bonding adhesive to the hole with a paintbrush.

Apply a half-inch layer of vinyl-reinforced patching compound to the area. Wait 30 minutes and repeat. Continue this step until the hole is filled to a level right above the surrounding surface.

Feather the patch with the trowel so that it is level with the existing surface of concrete. Allow the patch to cure.

Draw straight lines around the damaged area of the concrete. Cut around the lines with a circular saw equipped with a masonry blade, slanting the cuts 15 degrees away from the hole.

Chisel out any loose concrete, clean the debris from the area and, using a paintbrush, apply a thin layer of bonding adhesive onto the hole.

Use a trowel to apply a 2-inch layer of a mixture of sand-mix concrete and acrylic concrete fortifier to the hole. Allow the concrete to dry and repeat layers until the patch is right above the level of the existing concrete.

Use a screed board and wood float to smooth, feather and level the patch.

Use the trowel to recreate any pattern that the existing concrete might have and allow the area to cure for a minimum of one week.

Chip away any loose concrete with a chisel and clean the surface thoroughly.

Use a shovel to dig a 6-inch trench on all sides of the sidewalk or patio area to be resurfaced.

Coat the inside of the 2x4 forms with vegetable oil to prevent sticking. Position the 2x4 wood forms into the trench, flush against the existing sides of the concrete area at a level of 1 inch above the surface. Place stakes every 3 feet along the outside of the forms.

Use a paint roller with an extension to apply a thin layer of bonding adhesive to the entire area to be resurfaced.

Mix the sand-mix concrete by hand, making it slightly stiffer than normal consistency. Spread the mixture and tamp it down firmly with the shovel. Use a wood float in a circular motion to float the surface until smooth. Cover the area with plastic and let it cure for at least one week.

Things You'll Need

  • Goggles
  • Trowel
  • Drill with masonry grinding disc
  • Circular saw with masonry blade
  • Cold chisel
  • Hand maul
  • Paintbrush
  • Concrete bonding adhesive
  • Vinyl-reinforced patching compound
  • Screed board
  • Float
  • Scrap lumber
  • Vegetable oil
  • Sand-mix concrete
  • Acrylic concrete fortifier
  • Shovel
  • 2x4 wood forms
  • Wood stakes
  • Paint roller with extension
  • Plastic
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About the Author

Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey's "Cape May County Herald" for more than a decade and currently covers the family and pet beat for CBS Philadelphia. Her health, fitness, beauty and travel articles have appeared in various online publications. DeFeo studied visual communications at SUNY Farmingdale.