Your driveway is the pride of your yard. Like a welcome mat, it brings in friends and family, and it’s one of the first things someone sees when they come to your home. You can tell a lot about a person by what their driveway looks like.
A well-done concrete driveway should last the entire lifespan of your home. However, severe weather conditions and improper installation will shorten the lifespan of the concrete and will result in unsightly cracks, sinking, or decolourization. The good news is that the concrete can be easily fixed in a cost effective way, without having to remove it all together. As long as the concrete is structurally sound, that is.
So first thing’s first, the most important step in any concrete restoration project is to figure out what caused the damage. If you need help determining the cause and best tactics to use to fix it, take a look at this troubleshooting guide. Once you’ve assessed the problem, the next step is to figure out the best repair procedure to solve the problem.
There are four main restoration tactics depending on the condition of your driveway, and the budget you have to work with. They are concrete engraving, slab-jacking, recolouring, and concrete resurfacing.
This is the most cost effective approach if your driveway has only minor cracks and discolouration. By staining the concrete and routing a pattern into your existing driveway, you can disguise the defects. Depending on the pattern you choose, the flaws may even help to enhance the overall look.
This is for when there are sinking spots in your driveway. Uneven spots are usually caused by either soil erosion or poor preparation of the subgrade by not compacting the soil enough before pouring the concrete. Slabjacking works by pumping a mixture of sand, cement and other additives under the sunken slab, raising it back up to being level the surrounding cement.
Recolouring a driveway, in most cases, will revive the concrete and make it look new again. This process is done by applying a new coat of UV resistant stain to the driveway. Either acid or water based stains will work well. Once the stain is dry, apply a sealer to prevent any further stains or discolouring.
For the purpose of this article, however, we are going to focus on resurfacing the concrete with Hybrid Polymer Overlay.
Concrete resurfacing is the best technique to use when your driveway is cracking, scaling or spalling. Resurfacing will not only cover up the current flaws, but will give you the option to add colour or patterns to enhance the look of your concrete driveway.
Step One: Preparation
The first step in resurfacing your driveway is to get rid of any dirt, oil, or loose concrete with a high powered (3500 psi) pressure washer.
Once the surface is clean, you can now assess the concrete and repair any noticeable cracks.
To do this, start by first priming the cracks, then reinforcing them with fabric to make sure they don’t reappear in the newly resurfaced driveway. Once the fabric is down, apply an elastomeric base coat over the fabric and then patch the cracks and fabric with polymer concrete. Once the concrete has dried, grind it down so that it’s flush with the surface of the driveway.
The last step in preparation is to fix any holes in the concrete with an epoxy mortar, and you’re ready to start applying the resurfacing coat.
Step Two: Resurfacing
Ok, so now you’re ready to apply the Hybrid Polymer Overlay. Take a hose and water down the surface of the concrete. Make sure to soak the surface well, then take a broom and remove any excess standing water.
The reason for this is to cool down the surface of the driveway and to assure that the old concrete doesn’t draw out the water of the wet concrete being used for the resurfacing.
Keep in mind that it in order for the new concrete to cure properly, it must be above 10 degrees Celsius for 8 hrs. and above freezing for 24 hrs.
Before mixing the resurfacer, fit weather stripping into the expansion joints to assure that the resurfacer doesn’t fill them.
You are now ready to apply the hybrid polymer resin to the surface of the driveway. For best results, we recommend using a power drill with a paddle mixer attachment and a 20L pail. Fill the pail a quarter full with water and, while mixing with the paddle mixer, slowly add the concrete resurfacer.
Continue to mix for approximately five minutes or until the mixer reaches a lump free, soup-like solution. If the mix is too watery, add a bit more concrete powder, if it is too hard, however, add a bit more water.
Once the mixer is ready, pour it onto the driveway in foot long strips and with a long handled squeegee move the resurfacer back and forth on the surface effectively scrubbing it into the existing concrete.
If your driveway is large, you may want to work in sections and try not to exceed 144 sq ft. at any given time. Keep in mind that the hotter it is outside the fast the concrete will harden.
Once the new surface has been applied, wait 5 minutes or so, then with a wide head concrete broom, run the broom (without stopping) across the work area. Make sure that the brush strokes are all going the same direction.
If the temperature outside is mild, the resurfacer should cure on its own. If it’s really hot out, however, over 30 degrees, it’s recommended that you apply a mist of water over the driveway every so often for about 48 hrs.
There you have it, you now have a newly resurfaced concrete driveway that should last for years to come. The new surface should be ready for foot traffic in about 6 hrs and ready for your car in approximately 24 hrs. For more information on concrete restoration contact us we’ll be glad to help.