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What is Patio Resurfacing?

Anna B. Smith
Anna B. Smith

Patio resurfacing is the installation of cementitious materials over an existing concrete slab. This method of home repair is often preferable to tearing out existing patios that have become damaged and unsightly. The new surface can be applied directly over the current patio and color or stamped to meet any design specifications. This type of project should typically be completed by a professional contractor or concrete mason.

This process can prevent homeowners from undergoing the hassle of completely removing an existing patio. These structures often consist of multiple layers, such as a gravel base, a sand setting, and heavy pavers or a poured concrete slab. This layering system can reach a depth up to two feet (61 cm) or more beneath the surface level of the patio. Patio resurfacing makes use of the established base and structuring system of the patio in place to provide a level and secure foundation for the new materials.

Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

If a concrete patio has significant staining or damage, such as scaling or spalling, it may be a candidate for patio resurfacing. Scaling is the loss of mortar in concrete, and appears as open patches of unfinished rock across the surface of an area. The patches can increase over time and significantly damage the overall structural integrity of the patio. Spalling is the loss of large chunks of concrete from the surface, and can occur from a high impact on the patio, or from exposure to extreme heat.

Concrete which has been cracked is not a candidate for patio resurfacing. This type of damage is generally indicative of structural damage beneath the original patio. The cracking will often recur in the new patio after a set amount of time.

There are a variety of application methods available for patio resurfacing. Pouring and spraying the concrete into place are two of the most popular. A concrete spray is a polymer based product that may be applied directly to the existing surface after it has been thoroughly cleaned. The product is applied in a series of thin layers which allow the original pattern of the concrete to remain visible. This option for installation can be completed by experienced do it yourself homeowners, and is typically used in situations where recoloring or covering a stain is the primary purpose for the patio resurfacing.

If the patio has sustained structural damage, then new concrete must be poured. The old patio is generally scored heavily first to create grooves with which the concrete can bond. The material is then poured into an outlined form in a thin layer and allowed to cure. The new surface may be as thin as 0.125 inches (0.3 centimeters) to accommodate any doors, gates, or fences which may limit the height of the patio.

As the new patio sets, it may be given any finished look to suit the preferences of the homeowner. The concrete may be stamped with a pattern that resembles bricks, tiles, or natural stone. Color can also be added to enhance the texture of the material. Non-skid or slip resistant additives may be included during the mixing process that make the patio safe to walk on while wet. These additives are often beneficial when resurfacing a pool side patio.

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