How to Resurface Your Patio

Learn how to resurface concrete with our expert advice and give new life to your old patio in just one weekend.

Resurface Patio
Photo: Marty Baldwin

A wobbly, cracked patio can put a damper on summer fun. Reclaim the space and help it look like new with our concrete resurfacing how-to. To give your patio a new lease on life, use a concrete overlay compound that adheres to existing concrete. We'll guide you step-by-step through how to resurface a concrete patio—plus offer a few expert tips along the way.

If your patio concrete is just stained or uneven in color, follow the same prepping process as you would for resurfacing concrete. Clean the concrete with a power washer and concrete cleaners for really tough stains. Then, you have the option to stain the concrete or use concrete paint to paint over stains for like-new decorative concrete options. The process below is recommended for flat surfaces only. Using the compound on stamped concrete patios will cover up textures, colors, and seams.

What You Need

  • Brick chisel
  • Dustpan
  • Push broom or masonry brush
  • High-strength pressure washer
  • Patching compound
  • Concrete spreader
  • Control and expansion joints
  • Resurfacer powder
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Drill
  • Paddle mixer
  • Long-handle squeegee
  • Wallpaper brush

Step 1: Crack Loose Mortar

Resurface Patio

Before you start resurfacing concrete, you'll need to take care of any unstable parts of the patio. Use a brick chisel to break away cracked or loose mortar in areas that were previously patched. Wipe broken pieces into a dustpan and discard.

Step 2: Clean Concrete

Resurface Patio
Credit: Marty Baldwin.

Sweep any debris off the patio surface with a broom. Then thoroughly clean the concrete with a high-strength pressure washer. Pay close attention to areas of the patio underneath trees, bushes, or other messy plants—fallen leaves and petals may need a little extra power to dislodge.

Step 3: Fill In the Gaps

Resurface Patio

Mix up a concrete repair patching compound per the manufacturer's instructions, and fill any holes or cracks. The mixture should set up about a quarter-inch. Allow the repaired areas to harden. Then section off your patio into work areas that are no larger than 144 square feet. Use control joints and expansion joints to help you define the work areas. Mark any areas that will not be covered with concrete resurfacer.

Step 4: Apply Concrete Resurfacer

Resurface Patio

Mix concrete resurfacing powder and water—following manufacturer's instructions—in a 5-gallon bucket with a drill and paddle mixer. Saturate the patio surface with water, but remove any areas of standing water. Pour the patio resurfacing compound onto the patio, and spread with a long-handle squeegee. The mixture should be 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick. Use a wallpaper brush to cover corners and edges.

Within five minutes of applying the concrete resurfacer (the surface should be somewhat firm but still malleable), drag a push broom or masonry brush over the work area. Pull the broom toward you, making sure that each stroke goes the full distance of the work area and all the broom strokes go in the same direction. Wait at least six hours after resurfacing concrete before walking on the patio.

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