Concrete is beautiful, durable and long-lasting, but performing regular maintenance will prolong your patio’s life and keep it looking its best.
Here are three tips to do just that.
1. Check for cracks.
Concrete expands as temperatures rise, and if your patio pushes against an inflexible surface, hairline cracks will form.
In fact, ground movement from freeze-thaw cycles, expanding tree roots and settling can all lead to cracks.
And today’s small cracks from expansion and contraction can lead to big problems. Water can seep in, rust and expand rebar, which leads to wide gaps that let in the elements and threaten the foundation.
So, check your patio for cracks — a glance is all it takes!
2. Repair Damage
Sometimes, an old concrete patio is so worn that you can see rocks coming through the surface — fortunately, there’s an easy fix for that.
You can repair small cracks with Quikrete Re-Cap Concrete Resurfacer. This easy-to-use mix is an affordable alternative to tearing out and replacing the slab.
First, clean the patio with a pressure washer to remove dirt, grime and deteriorating concrete. Then, use weatherstripping or duct tape to protect the slab’s joints.
After that, mix up the Re-Cap and pour it out on the damp concrete in long, narrow lines. Use a squeegee, trowel or brush to evenly spread a thin layer over the entire surface. This product dries fast, so work in 12-by-12-square-foot sections.
Re-Cap’s bonding strength ensures that the new surface will be sound from as little as an eighth of an inch thick up to a half-inch.
As it dries, add a slip-resistant finish by gently pulling a push broom across the re-surfacer.
Once it’s dry, your patio will look like a new slab with consistent color and texture throughout.
If your patio has larger cracks, use a concrete crack sealant. With a chisel and hammer, widen the crack by 1/4 inch minimum and break away any deteriorating concrete.
Then clear any loose material with a brush and insert backer rod into cracks more than 1/2 inch deep.
Finally, apply Quikrete’s Advanced Polymer Concrete Crack Sealant with a caulking gun and let cure.
3. Seal for Protection
After inspecting and repairing the surface, sealing the concrete is the final step toward making your patio last.
Applying a sealer like Quikrete Acrylic Concrete Cure & Seal is an easy, fast way to protect the patio from dirt, grease, oil, and other contaminants that can stain the surface.
In addition to keeping the patio attractive, the sealer also prevents water, ice and snow from penetrating the concrete, which can lead to cracking, scaling and flaking caused by freeze-thaw cycles previously mentioned.
You can apply the sealer using a broom, brush, roller or garden sprayer, but don’t worry — the sealer is just a barrier and won’t change the surface’s appearance.
Be sure to check out Quikrete’s Advanced Polymer Concrete!
Strong Concrete, Rough Surface
Want a real-world example of reviving a patio? Here’s one: Anthony, from North Carolina, called the Today’s Homeowner Radio Show seeking a solid solution for his “new” home.
“We just bought a house that was built in the ’70s,” Anthony says. “There’s a great patio in the backyard, but the concrete is so worn that you can see rocks coming through the surface in some areas. Otherwise, it seems sound… with very few cracks.
“We love this area but want to make it look more uniform and less ‘weather-worn.’ Is there anything we can do, short of breaking it up and pouring a new patio?”
We say if you have a patio that old with very few cracks, it’s a pretty solid slab! Don’t remove it; instead, renew it for a fraction of the cost.
While Anthony could paint or stain his patio, that won’t hide the aggregate that he’s seeing, and it’s not a long-term solution.
Quikrete Re-Cap Concrete Resurfacer is Anthony’s best option to give his patio a new look.
Re-Cap delivers four times more bonding strength than other resurfacing materials, so it will stay bonded to his existing concrete, whether he puts it on at one-eighth-of-an-inch thick or a half-inch.
The process is simple too. Use a 3500-psi pressure washer to remove the dirt and grime from the patio.
Then mix up the Re-Cap material and spread it over the surface with a squeegee to hide the aggregate and old concrete.