My Concrete Driveway Has Cracked. How Much Does it Cost to Resurface It?
Concrete is one of the most common driveway materials because it is durable, long-lasting and relatively inexpensive. However, concrete doesn’t last forever. Over time, all concrete will crack, creating an eyesore. The weeds that start to sprout out through cracked concrete make the driveway even less attractive.
When your concrete is cracked, there are several options for repair. The cheapest option is patching the cracks, but this can only be done if the damage is minor, and it’s only a short-term fix. The most expensive option is tearing out the driveway and pouring new concrete. Resurfacing is a happy medium that provides the look of a new driveway at a lower price than complete replacement.
How Much Does It Cost to Resurface a Driveway?
Basic resurfacing starts at $2 to $3 per square foot. That works out to $1,200 to $1,800 for a 600-square-foot driveway and $1,500 to $2,250 for a 750-square-foot driveway, both of which are pretty common sizes. If you want something fancier such as colored or patterned concrete, budget more like $4 to $8 per square foot. For comparison purposes, replacement usually costs at least one-third more.
Resurfacing can also be a DIY job if you’re handy. The process usually takes a full day, and it requires some serious precision. Once you have mixed the concrete and water, you only have about 30 minutes to apply the concrete. It’s also important to make sure you address any cracks, structural issues or drainage issues first - otherwise, the driveway won’t last. A 40-pound bag of resurfacer costs about $25, and you’ll probably need at least six bags for the average driveway.
What Does Driveway Resurfacing Involve?
Resurfacing involves cleaning and repairing the surface of the driveway, filling in cracks and holes, priming the surface, spraying on a new top layer of polymer concrete and trowling over the coating to finish. If you choose, you can have decorative coloring or a protective sealant applied after the trowling is complete. Plan on waiting at least 48 hours after the process is complete to use the driveway.
How I Do Know Whether to Patch, Resurface or Replace?
Patching is a temporary fix that will buy you a few extra years. Eventually, however, water will make its way in between the old and new materials, reopening the holes or cracks. If your driveway is not all that old and there are only a few cracks and holes, this is probably the best way to go. You can reassess again in a few years.
When the cracks and holes are numerous, large and/or deep, it’s time to replace or resurface. Patching isn’t practical because new issues are likely to surface shortly after you’ve fixed the old ones. Resurfacing is a viable option in most cases - unless your driveway is severely damaged - but keep in mind that it won’t last as long as complete replacement. The driveway will only be as good as the quality of the concrete underneath, so think twice if there are major structural issues.