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I'm trying to figure out the most cost effective way to repair my concrete patio. It survived for about 30 years but recently a portion of it has begun spalling pretty bad, so bad you cant really sit a chair on it. The slabs are 10' x 10' and around 5" thick. The slabs have settled slightly, but for the most part are pretty level. A small deck and ramp is built over part of it, and would make it difficult to pour a significant amount of concrete. I've read some bad reviews about concrete resurfacer that it won't last for more than a year, so what are my options?

i was also contemplating just covering it with deck tiles ...

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  • How deep is the spalling? If you resurface, you'll need to remove all the loose bits. Once you remove those, is there anything left? – alx9r Jun 16 '15 at 14:31
  • The spalling is at most 2" deep, the concrete is 6" – user379468 Jun 23 '15 at 19:49
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I resurfaced my concrete patio with a combination of Mapei products. It worked out great. Concrete surfacing systems are really unforgiving if you make a mistake selecting and applying the products. To make sure you are on the right track you definitely should ask your Mapei rep to recommend the correct products and techniques - that's what I did.

I've done two major concrete resurfacing projects and worked with concrete countertop craftsmen. What I learned is that the chemistry is sufficiently complicated that it is unwise to use concrete surfacing systems without support from the factory. There will be questions about precisely which product to use and how to use it that only the chemists at the factory know the right answer to. And, if you're just guessing, you're putting your whole project at risk.

Talk to your Mapei rep, be thorough with selecting the right product, and judiciously follow the application instructions. If you skip any of those steps, the chance of success is pretty low and the resurfacing will probably be ugly or peel or both. On the other hand, every project I've seen that followed these steps has been a success.

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I don't think you can cover it with a resurfacer. Spalling concrete will likely just keep spalling, so any resurfacing material you put on will just flake off along with the concrete.

Do you live in a cold climate? If so, avoid using de-icers (salt) on concrete. This makes the problem worse.

I think your idea of deck tiles is a good one. Though it may not be all that cheap. It will look nice, though. Plus, they are easy to install. Ikea sells some:

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/outdoor/21957/

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So perhaps that's an option.

  • I second this answer. If You are living in a climate, where temperature falls down below zero celsius, it will surely (resurfacing) be spoiled in some short time (1-2 years). Option given by DA01 seems quite nice. – Marek Oleszczuk Jun 15 '15 at 6:46
  • To be honest, I think throwing salt on it during a particularly icy day this winter is what mad it crumble this spring ... it's around 400 square feet so deck tiles wont be cheap ( $1000 - $2500 ) I really like the look of the wood tiles, but I'm thinking the composite ones might last longer. Does anyone know if drainage works ok with deck tiles? – user379468 Jun 15 '15 at 15:38
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    @user379468 probably. De-icing salt is bad for concrete. Avoid using it if you can. As for drainage, they are raised and designed to easily drain, but what will mostly matter is that your concrete is properly sloped in the first place. – DA01 Jun 15 '15 at 15:43
  • I live in British Columbia on the water. I resurfaced my patio several years ago. I get rain, snow, freezing, and salt spray here all winter long. The resurfacing is holding up well -- certainly way better than patio tiles do. I don't think freezing is a fundamental problem for concrete resurfacing. Rather, bad product selection and application will result in failure whether or not it's subject to freezing temperatures. Freezing might accelerate the problem, but it's not the root cause. – alx9r Jun 16 '15 at 13:49
  • It's the de-icing salt + freeze/thaw is often the problem. De-icing salt typically has chemicals other than salt that contributes to the problem. That said, spalling can also come from poorly set concrete. So there could be multiple root problems here. – DA01 Jun 16 '15 at 15:37

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