Resurfacing Residential Concrete vs. Concrete Coatings: Which Is Better?
Are you a homeowner with some beat-up concrete, wondering whether resurfacing is the best way to go? Let’s take a couple of minutes to chat about it.
- When most homeowners use the word ‘resurfacing’ in relation to their concrete, they’re thinking about a patch-up repair job.
- We don’t typically do this because it is rarely the most cost-effective approach for our customers when concrete is in really poor condition.
- Professionally applying a concrete coating to your concrete is also technically ‘resurfacing.’
Hi, welcome to the Childers Brothers blog. We’re a foundation repair contractor with 48+ years of experience — we serve a roughly 300-mile radius around Amarillo, TX.
We honestly don’t do much concrete ‘resurfacing’ around the home because it’s rarely cost-effective. However, we’re extremely well-known for our Concrete Coating solutions. These products beautify, strengthen, and protect concrete once it’s been repaired and restored.
But, are they appropriate to ‘fix’ tired, old, and busted slabs?
Because of the last bout of extreme weather we’ve seen in our region (drought + arctic blast & freeze), we’ve been getting more calls from folks wondering whether it’s worth it to resurface their residential concrete or coat it.
Well, let’s take a look at the next five considerations:
- To be clear, concrete resurfacing is a form of coating. It requires removing and replacing upper layers when they’re in bad shape. If all you need is to fill some really minor voids and small surface cracks, most homeowners turn to DIY epoxy and resurfacing products.
- Companies like ours are going to have a mender to repair cracks larger than surface or hairline, as well as spalling, imperfections, and pits. That said, it’s not cheap to have a crew come out and do this for you unless it’s part of a larger foundation project.
- Resurfacing is great when you want to take old-looking concrete that’s still in great shape, and make it look brand new again. Concrete coatings are applied afterward to add strength and longevity.
- In the vast majority of residential cases, by the time people give us a call their concrete has serious issues that go deeper than the surface level: significant deterioration, cracking, substantial settling, etc. Resurfacing doesn’t address these.
- We find it’s more often than not going to be easier and more cost-effective to re-pour bad concrete with home projects like driveways, garages, and basements. With commercial projects like a parking garage, for example, the financials look completely different.
Common Example: “Help, my driveway’s in bad shape!”
Let’s imagine you’ve got a driveway showing serious wear and tear. So, you give a foundation repair company like Childers Brothers a call, and we send a specialist out to inspect and provide all the answers.
Whether we’re ‘resurfacing’ the concrete (remove & replace upper layers) or applying a special ‘ concrete coating’ product, the initial process is the same.
- It makes no sense to do either if the overall cost outweighs the price of a new driveway.
- To prepare a slab for either resurfacing or coating, we must remove the ‘bad’ concrete.
- We’ve got to get rid of all the trash that can sit in the top, damaged layers.
- After chipping out the bad, we’ve got to go in and grind the surface to open pores.
- This is so our polyurea-based boding agent can settle into existing substrate concrete.
Another important fact to note is that during resurfacing/coating projects, we’re not raising low spots or dropping high spots. Raising requires solutions like Slab-Lifting Foam. Once you start talking about this kind of concrete leveling work and Soil Stabilization with a driveway, so many variables and issues come into play that the labor costs can get unrealistic.
Resurfacing can become a huge hassle.
Neither resurfacing or coating addresses the underlying causes of your cracking by themselves.
Neither is going to take care of any existing rebar or soil-based issues that come up.
Even if you do resurface the driveway, you’re forced to raise the concrete, so your driveway will no longer be level with the garage! This will require yet more work and labor to adjust.
You also have to consider the impacts of even minor installer errors during a resurfacing job. What happens afterward, seeing as they didn’t address underlying conditions?
While these types of solutions can add dramatic levels of durability to the upper layers of your concrete and extend the longevity, we don’t do patch-up work that won’t last for our customers.
The Likely Scenario
When we’re called into residential projects to repair concrete, as professionals we need to help you look at the investment from a perspective of performance. While resurfacing often makes a lot of sense in the commercial world, around your home it’s not likely to be cost-effective unless we’re talking about a pretty serious project in scope.
For coatings, you need to be specific because of the sheer amount of products in the marketplace.
We use primarily three systems in residential cases:
A Chip Coating System
- Garage Flooring
- Larger Home Offices
A Metallic Coating System
- Garage Flooring
- Kitchen Flooring
- Man Caves
A Solid Color Polyurea Coating System
- Garage Flooring
In Conclusion: Get A Reliable Inspection Done First
Hopefully, this article has helped answer some questions for you, given your particular situation.
The bottom line is: whether it’s your driveway, your garage, some major pathway slabs, or your basement concrete… get an inspection done. Let a professional take a look and give you the best course of action that makes the most sense from the perspective of performance. If you’re a homeowner in our neck, Contact Childers Brothers. We’re going to tell it to you straight. Thanks for your time today.