Over the years, most concrete driveways and patios can chip, spall or look worn.
Deicing salts, along with winter’s freeze-thaw cycles, are typical causes of surface failures.
That’s when it’s time to take action — but first, you should know your options.
Replacing vs. Resurfacing
You could break up the concrete slab and pour a new one when cracks form, but that would take a lot of time, leave a big mess, and cost a lot of money.
After all, you’d have to remove the existing driveaway, clean up the pieces and haul them away, and then you’d have to prep the ground and pour a new slab — complete with steel reinforcement and control joints.
A concrete driveway’s typical installation costs range between $1,500 and $6,000, with the average cost being $3,000, or $6 per square foot, according to HomeAdvisor.
It makes sense to pay that much for a new driveway, but not if you have an existing driveway in good shape except for a few cracks.
Fortunately, there’s another option: repairing your old worn, spalled concrete driveway with Quikrete Re-Cap Concrete Resurfacer. You get to keep your existing driveway, and simply cover the part that’s causing problems!
Resurfacing concrete requires less time, less mess and — you guessed it! — less cost than the alternative. The typical driveway resurfacing ranges from $300 to $500, according to HomeAdvisor.
The process is straightforward and any do-it-yourselfer can tackle this project in a day.
How to Resurface a Concrete Driveway
If you’re ready to resurface your concrete driveway, just follow these steps:
Remove debris. If a crack is less than a quarter-inch, it’s a prime candidate for simple resurfacing. So grab a screwdriver and scratch away at any debris you see. Then use a wire brush to clean the area. And then use a whisk broom or a leaf blower to clear the area.
Wash the driveway. Wet down the driveway with a pressure washer. Then add Quikrete Etcher, Cleaner and Degreaser to the machine’s reservoir and spray it on the surface. After that, attach a high-pressure nozzle to the washer and thoroughly clean the surface.
Mix concrete and water. Mix Quikrete Re-Cap Concrete Resurfacer with water in a 5-gallon bucket. Chuck a mixing paddle in a ½-inch drill to quickly prepare the patching material, which should have a thick consistency.
Fill the cracks. Pour the mixture on the cracks and use a flat-edged trowel to force it deep inside them. Then smooth out the surface.
Let dry. Allow the material to dry overnight, and then mix a much thinner batch of resurfacer. Before applying it, wet the concrete down to prevent it from drying out too quickly.
Resurface. Spread the resurfacer on the slab using a rubber squeegee. Try to apply an even coat without a lap mark.
Prevent slips. When the resurfacer starts to set, use a broom with an extended handle to give the fresh concrete surface some texture and prevent it from becoming slippery when wet. This is often called a “broom finish.”
Resurfaced concrete can handle foot traffic after it has set for about six hours, and cars can drive on it once it has cured for 24 hours.
Best of all, your concrete driveway will look new again with minimal work — and expense — compared to pouring a new slab.
Watch the video above to learn more!
Great video, I did this on a cement slab in our backyard. parts of the crack was too small to use the backer rod, I had air bubbles created from below. Any suggestions on how to avoid that? I also have a good 1.5″ gap between my driveway and garage floor. Any suggestions on how to fill in a joint that wide? Thanks and love the show!
Do not know how this happened (was like this when I bought the house). There is a 1″ Sq cut out of concrete driveway; approximately 1/2″ deep. Can this space be filled using directions for repairing large cracks?
A friend of mine told me that I should also caulk the cracks between the concrete slabs even if they have not been damaged.
Is it true?
I recently purchased a house that has a driveway covered with maybe 3′ or 4′ concrete sections (blocks?) They are approximately 3″ thick and there is a gap between them. The gaps or spaces are about 3″ by 2″.
I would like to fill and seal these with the concrete mix in your video and them put a skim thinner coat over the entire driveway as you did in the video.
Are these spaces in between each section fillable? I was thinking of filling them partially with rebar and then fill with the quikcrete repair concrete?
I’m going to seal my concrete driveway with Ghostshield Lithi-Tek LS 9500 sealer. I want to backer rod/ caulk concrete joints on driveway. Should I apply caulk before or after I apply the sealer?
Here’s more information about this topic: https://todayshomeowner.com/video/how-to-caulk-and-seal-cracks-in-concrete-driveways/
Give it a read and let us know how things work out.
Thanks for your question!
Had a driveway replaced two years ago and I already see large cracks in it. Why would a two year old concrete driveway have cracks already?
Numerous factors could apply in this case. Was the foundation poured amid low temperatures? Did the concrete have control joints? Was too much water added to the mix? These are questions to consider when analyzing your driveway’s cracks.
Thanks for your question!
Thank you for the video. I did this as did my neighbor, however it did not really work. We both used the same product as you, the self leveling concrete. I’m going to see if I can send you a picture. Also now another larger crack has just appeared, much larger! I look forward to your thoughts.
Hi, Pemelope. Thanks for sharing your concern. We look forward to receiving the photograph.
I have a triangle piece of concrete about 3 feet long and about 3 inches thick . It has broken away in the middle my driveway. It has sunk about 4 inches so I can see a gas line underneath it. What do I do? Contact the gas company? it has happened because of a washout underneath it. Do I try and repair it myself? An uplifting foam Company gave me bid of over $4,000. Other companies have said I need to replace the whole section of concrete. My driveway is @ 30 yards long and 10 feet wide. My wife and I are school teachers and have no $ to hire someone.
We recommend submitting questions involving unique situations like yours to the Today’s Homeowner Radio Show.
Please use this form to contact Danny Lipford, America’s Home Expert, directly: https://todayshomeowner.com/radio/ask-questions/
The video on repairing two sizes of cracks in a concrete driveway was so helpful. Thank you!
Question on whitewashing a fireplace. Do we need to use the lime paint as shown in the video, or can we use Kilz. I have lots of leftover white paint.
Love your show
We’re glad that you enjoyed the concrete cracks video.
Regarding whitewashing: limewash paint is non-toxic and has no volatile organic compounds. It has color variations and movement that other types of paint can’t easily mimic. Many people have whitewashed surfaces with regular paint and water, with varying results.
But for the true old-world look, with an eye-catching patina that improves with age, we recommend limewash paint.