How to Refinish a Concrete Patio

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So, your concrete patio has seen better days and your backyard entertaining has lost a little of its luster. You may wonder if it is necessary to take a jackhammer to the patio and lay down new concrete. Fortunately, unless the concrete is severely damaged and has large gouges and cracks, there's no need for such drastic measures. In just a few steps and with a little elbow grease, you can have a concrete patio that looks almost as good as new.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden brush
  • Paint roller
  • Pressure washer
  • Concrete patching compound
  • Concrete sealer
  • Trowel
  • Concrete grinder
  • Clear the patio area of all garden furniture and planters. Sweep the patio to remove all loose dirt and debris from its surface.

  • Thoroughly clean the concrete surface with a pressure washer, using a detergent to help remove stubborn dirt and grease stains. Be sure to check your pressure washer's manual and make sure you follow the manufacturer's recommendations for the type of detergent to use. When the entire surface has been washed, allow the area to dry completely.

  • When the patio is dry, inspect it carefully to identify any cracks in the concrete. Then mix the concrete patching compound. It will start to dry in 15 to 20 minutes, so to avoid its drying before you have a chance to apply it, mix only as much compound as you think you can apply in that time. Apply the compound with a trowel and smooth it on until the cracks are filled and the compound is flush with the patio surface. Then leave the compound to dry completely. This may take two or three days; check the product's directions for precise drying times.

  • Use your grinder to polish the surface of the patched areas so that they're completely smooth and blend in with the surrounding concrete, then sweep the area free of accumulated dust. You can now apply the concrete stain. You can use a roller or sprayer to do this, but you'll get better results if you brush the stain in with a firm brush, like a yard brush. This will enable you to get better penetration and a better finish. Make sure that you don't over-apply the finish; this will promote buildup rather than even penetration and subsequent even color. If you want a darker color, you can always allow the stain to sit for five to six hours and then reapply.

  • Apply the concrete sealer. This will help protect your concrete patio's new surface and keep it looking good for years to come. Applying this with a roller will help ensure a smooth, even finish. Allow the sealer to dry for at least 24 hours before returning your patio furniture and planters.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your patio borders delicate planting beds or decorative tile work, make sure you cover these with tarps taped in place for the duration of the procedure to avoid splashing them with stain or sealer.
  • Always follow safety precautions on all product containers, and wear protective eyewear when pressure washing and grinding.

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