Resurfacing and repairing a dirty, cracked or pitted cement patio or driveway does not mean you have to hire expensive contractors. You can give the cement a fresh look for a fraction of the cost of having new cement poured. Many do-it-yourself homeowners with basic home maintenance skills can complete this project in one long weekend. A pressure washer is required; if you do not own one, you can rent one from most home improvement stores.
Sweep the cement area clear of all surface dirt. Scrape away any built-up grime, grease, old paint splatters or any other materials that may be stuck to the surface.
Put on safety goggles and wash the cement with a 3,500 psi pressure washer. Attach a hose to the washer and follow the manufacturer's instructions to safely operate the equipment. Start by holding the wand 12 inches above the surface. As you become more at ease with the pressure washer, lower the wand closer to the surface to strip away all algae, mould and grease. Allow the cement to dry.
Examine the surface and note all cracks and areas where the surface is pitted, chipped or is flaking. Use an awl or chisel and hammer to clean out cracks that are wider than 1/4 inch. Sweep away any small pieces of cement.
Cover any expansion joints with duct tape to avoid filling them with the resurfacing product. These joints separate concrete sections found in walkways, driveways and large patios. The joints minimise cracks by allowing for the expansion and contraction of the cement. Typically, a wood slat fills the joint and needs to be protected during the resurfacing process.
Put on rubber gloves. Follow the instructions for the concrete resurfacing product and mix enough to make the repairs. The mixing can be done with a trowel. Use the trowel and pack the mixture into the cracks and over the surface areas needing repair. Smooth and blend the mixture into the surrounding surfaces by thinning it out. Allow the repaired areas to thoroughly cure before resurfacing the entire area.
Mix the resurfacing product according to the instructions. Use a drill equipped with a mixer attachment and a 5-gallon bucket. Mix for five minutes or until there are no lumps and the mixture is thin enough to be poured.
Hose down the concrete before applying the resurfacing product. Remove any standing water with a long-handled squeegee. Pour the mixture onto the surface. Use the squeegee and spread the mixed material evenly using sweeping side-to-side movements. The mixture starts to harden after 20 minutes so you will need to work quickly. Apply enough pressure to work the product into the small pores of the concrete.
Drag a push broom lightly across the surface after five minutes. This provides a non-skid surface and a professional appearance. Make the brush stokes long and continuous. Try not to shorten your strokes.
Avoid all foot traffic for six hours. For vehicle traffic, wait a minimum of 24 hours.
Concrete-repair caulk can also be used to fill larger cracks. If you plan to apply more than 1/8 inch of cement resurfacer, apply the mixture in several thin layers until you reach the desired thickness. Do not apply the resurfacing product if the temperature is below 10 degrees C or there is a chance for rain. Apply a cement sealer after 24 hours if you want a more stain-resistant surface.