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I'm probably being paranoid but would like to get some expert opinions as this is my first time dealing with concrete.

I had a concrete path laid in the garden, around 80-100mm thick. It was laid and then about 12 hours later when it had hardened the top layer got scratched by machinery in a few patches roughly the size of a beer mat each, taking the top 2-3mm off the surface. It was then it started to rain for a few hours.

So now when I look at the surface I have the nice cured layer top layer, but in the scratched patches it's a bit rougher looking and the material feels a bit looser.

My question is, will these scratched areas develop into a problem as the material feels a bit looser on them compared to the cured surface ? Is there any product I could apply to them to re-seal them, one that is preferable invisible to not draw attention ?

Or am I just overthinking the whole thing, and is this part of the natural wear and tear ? This is just a functional side path, nothing pretty about the finish.

Thanks in advance

  • Would you please edit in a picture or two showing the "scratched" vs "not scratched" areas. Often times the surface is roughened to provide texture so it's not slippery when it's wet, so that's my first thought, but I'm confused by why they only did it in patches. Did they hone down some high spots so that the surface is now level? – FreeMan Jul 25 at 23:57
  • You say "re-seal". Was a sealer applied in the first place? Concrete itself isn't sealed even if the finish is very smooth. It's always porous and absorbent. – isherwood Jul 26 at 0:34
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    @FreeMan, I assume that this damage was not done on purpose. – isherwood Jul 26 at 0:34
  • The surface of the concrete takes a few days to get really hard. Yes it is solid but it really kind of soft for a few days. When I pour slabs after finishing I don’t walk on them for 2-3 days to prevent surface damage. – Ed Beal Jul 27 at 14:10
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Well the folks who "scratched" your delicate "green" (fresh, uncured, weak) concrete with their machinery should be fixing this for you, or paying your concrete guy to fix it if they are not the concrete guy.

It won't get better, and it's hard to do much (short of tear out and repour a section) to fix a thin layer like that, because thin layers do not bond well and tend to spall off again.

There's a section of sidewalk near me that looks horrible because it was not covered (or the cover was not secured properly and blew off in a thunderstorm) while still wet and got poured on, taking the finish layer off. Rain is good once the concrete has set/hardened (the cure needs water) but bad when the material is still wet - not your issue, as the parts that were not abused seem to be fine per your description - you just have damage because the green (and very weak at that point in time) concrete was "scratched by machinery" before it could become strong.

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  • Thanks @Ecnerwal, you understood the situation perfectly. My understanding is there's not much I can do, short of ripping it all out and starting again. The areas affected by this scratching are very small as a proportion of the whole path, but more unsightly right now rather than a real structural concern. I'm just thinking more longer term. But like I said the concrete is 80-100mm thick, and these scratches are affecting the top few millimetres. I was just wondering if there's any product that I could put over it all to make it all uniform in appearance. Like some sort of matte sealant ? I h – JimmyF Jul 26 at 10:06

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