Concrete that is exposed to the weather needs to be maintained. The seasons can wreak havoc and create a visual nightmare out of your concrete. If your concrete has been through a few freeze and thaw cycles you may be noticing that the surface appears to be flaking up in areas. This is known as scaling. Scaling is caused by water expanding in the pores of the concrete during freezing weather, subsequently breaking apart the top layer of concrete. The good news is that if you are willing to put in a few hours work you can do this repair yourself and save some money.
Prepare The Surface
You must prepare the surface by peeling up as much (preferably all) of the loose concrete as you can. Use the long handle spade to do this, it will save you some backaches later. If you don't have a spade a flathead screwdriver will work too. Once you think you have all the loose concrete pulled up, sweep the area and pressure wash it. Pressure washing the surface will force up any loose concrete that's left. DONT SKIP THE PRESSURE WASHING it's essential to the life of the repair that you have a clean, stable and solid surface.
Patch The Prepared Surface
Get your bag of Patchcrete® and mix it as directed on the back of the bag. You are going to apply this to the areas that have flaked up, once the concrete is dry (damp but not wet is okay too). Fill the void till the height matches the rest of the surface area. Once filled trowel it smooth. Then wet your sponge and run it over the surface to feather the Patchcrete® out to blend it with the old concrete. Easy on the pressure, you don't want to dent the patch, you want a nice smooth, blended surface.
Make It Look New
Wait till the day after you patch before you begin this step, this will ensure the patch is dry. Your patches are going to stand out like a sore thumb and the only way to fix that is to cover it up with an overlay or slurry. I recommend overlaying the entire driveway, porch or whatever area your working on, so it looks uniform. Mix the Ardex Feather Finish® overlay as directed on the back of the bag. Once the overlay is mixed it can be poured onto the surface in sections (one at a time). Once the overlay is poured it needs to be rolled, trowelled or broomed evenly over the area you're covering. Apply and spread out the overlay in a uniform fashion for a smooth look.
Before you begin overlaying the surface I would advise you to stop by your local home improvement store and ask a store employee to help advise you on the tool you should buy to apply your overlay that will give it the finish you're looking for.
© 2008 Dawn M