Well summer is here and many of you are out there in the heat of it all pressure washing your driveway or patio hoping to catch a gust of wind to blow back some mist to help cool you off. As you blast away at 2500 psi you can’t help but notice that maybe a pressure wash isn’t enough to make your concrete look better. You may be considering at this point to resurface your concrete or just replace it all together. As with everything, the cost of construction materials is on the rise and replacement costs can be astronomical. What to do? Resurfacing may seem like a viable option and in some cases it is. I must reiterate some cases.
All too often homeowners are under the assumption that a coat of cement with some polymer added is going to solve the problems of the cracked deteriorating surface. But truth be told in order for a cementitious coating to be applied to say a driveway, that driveway needs to be in pretty good shape. Resurfacing is not the magic answer that people think or that majority of decorative concrete contractors sell it as. Speaking of magic watch how these contractors pull off the greatest disappearing act after you start having issues!
Let’s talk cracks. You may have heard about epoxies with amazing compressive strengths even greater than that of concrete. Well that does little to nothing for a driveway crack. We don’t need compressive strength, we need flexural strength. And even if they have high flexibility, guess what, when a 4000 pound car rolls over them, they will flex and flex beyond their potential. If that isn’t bad enough, now the beautifully designed coating you had now has a crack. But wait there’s more! That crack may be a hairline but give it time. It will begin to peel at the crack creating and even uglier mess then had you not coated the driveway.
There are few companies who are willing to discuss this with potential clients as it is no good for their wallets. Or they simply lack the creativity to offer other solutions that will be beautiful and sustainable. The downside is not every community will allow for these alternatives. If you live in an HOA you know the militant mindset they have. No room for beauty, they want conformity! The image below is an example us using a creative approach to resurface a concrete slab.
As you can see this slab has cracks, like most slabs here in Central Florida. To resurface this using an overlay would be a mess in less than a year. This slab had lots of pits and pinholes everywhere. To rectify it we skim coated it entirely, then ground it all off. Therefore the only topping is limited to just the voids and there is nothing to peel off. We then carved the leaves to make it looks like the cracks were vines. Without going into too much detail about how we did the whole project you can see that this technique is a viable option to replacing the entire slab. The cost difference is considerable as well.
When searching for a decorative concrete or concrete resurfacing contractor look for those who present options and tell you the good, the bad, and everything in between.