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How to resurface exterior concrete

Updated April 17, 2017

If your concrete sidewalk or patio has seen better days it may be time for resurfacing. There are decorative surfaces that can be applied to your concrete, but a basic application of a resurfacing material will renew your concrete and make it as good as new. A resurfacing project takes most of the day. It should be done when temperatures will remain above 10 degrees Cor at least 8 hours after the project is completed and above freezing for 24 hours after that.

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  1. Remove any loose bits of concrete from the existing walkway. Clean the surface with a pressure washer. Use a slow, even sweeping motion, holding the tip 6 to 8 inches from the surface. Use a concrete wash if there is mildew or algae present.

  2. Mix enough concrete resurfacer to fill small cracks or pits in the concrete. Use a 5-gallon bucket to combine 1 part water with 7 parts resurfacer. Mix using an electric drill with a paddle mixer attachment.

  3. Fill cracks and pits with the resurfacer. Smooth the surface with a finish trowel. Allow the patch to set for 2 to 5 hours, until you can stand on it without leaving an indentation.

  4. Place foam weather stripping into the expansion joints to prevent the resurfacer from filling them. Place boards or plywood pieces along the edges of the surface to provide a clean edge.

  5. Dampen the concrete walkway when you are ready to begin. The concrete should be damp but should have no water standing on it for the resurfacer to adhere properly.

  6. Mix more of the resurfacer. The product is only workable for 20 minutes at a time. Combine half of the bag of mix with 5½ cups of water with the paddle mixer. This will cover approximately 17 square feet.

  7. Pour the mixture onto the walkway. Spread the resurfacer with a finishing trowel 1/8 to ¼ inches thick.

  8. Wait 5 minutes. Sweep the surface with a nylon-bristle broom to provide a slip-resistant surface.

  9. Wait 20 minutes. Remove the weather stripping and edge boards.

  10. Allow the concrete resurfacer to dry and harden for at least 6 hours before walking on it. Cover the surface with a plastic tarp if rain is probable during the waiting period.

  11. Tip

    Mixing directions may vary depending on the resurfacing product you use. Always follow manufacturers instructions.


    Wear heavy boots and protective goggles when using the power washer.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pressure washer
  • Concrete wash
  • Peel-and-stick black foam weather stripping
  • Boards or plywood
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Electric drill
  • Paddle mixer
  • Finish trowel
  • Nylon bristle broom

About the Author

Michele Norfleet is a freelance writer who writes on travel, home and garden and education topics. She has coauthored a handbook for teachers on school-wide discipline and has contributed tips for special-needs students in the basal curriculum for RCL Benziger. Norfleet holds a master's degree from Southern Illinois University and has experience as a special-needs teacher and speech pathologist.

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