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Anyone refinished a concrete sidewalk?
Old 06-25-2012, 03:13 PM   #1
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Anyone refinished a concrete sidewalk?

We have a poured concrete sidewalk leading from the driveway to large, poured concrete steps that lead to our front door. At 20+ years old, the sidewalk is a dingy gray, with a few cracks (please see photo). We have researched how to fill the cracks, and are sure we can DIY. However, the concrete would still look yucky. We realize that existing cracks will eventually return, and that doesn't bother us that much.

We've consulted 3 contractors about sprucing up the walk. All have been eager to destroy & replace the walk with pavers set in stone dust - avg quote, $7000.00 for 320 sq feet of sidewalk, along with cementing paver slices to the concrete steps so they match. A neighbor had this done, and it looks nice, but this neighbor also seems to be made of $$, which we are not.

Contractors want almost as much to cement paver slices over top of the sidewalk, and ~$4000.00 to resurface the walk with a tinted coating stamped with a decorative design. Thus, we are considering resurfacing the sidewalk ourselves, using a commercial epoxy preparation. There is how-to information on line.

I am looking to hear from someone who actually HAS done it. What product did you use? Was it tricky? How hard to do? Are you pleased with the results, and how have they lasted over time?

Thanks to anyone who can help,

Amethyst
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File Type: jpg 2012_0625sidewalk0001.jpg (1.06 MB, 7 views)
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Old 06-25-2012, 04:54 PM   #2
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I enlarged the cracks with a concrete saw to get better adhesion and then used a concrete stain (acid based), which if done properly looks very good and for me at least has lasted 5 years and still going strong. I also etched some extra lines to create a pattern of sorts. The stain does not come out even - I am sure it can come out even, but I wanted a pattern of sorts so swirled it some - so to speak. I have had my neighbors try to get me to do it for them - Not...
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:54 PM   #3
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Have you power washed it before? The dingy grey will change to white-grey and look quite a bit better. For a year or two...unless you have a neighbor who feeds the birds every day like I do.

I would think powerwashing would be a prerequisite to the staining SR2008 suggested, so the only reason not to do it would be if you decide on a replacement or a cover-it-up strategy.
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Old 06-25-2012, 06:13 PM   #4
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Yes - the photo shows what it looks like post-power washing.

We would power wash again, before applying stains or sealers.

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Have you power washed it before? The dingy grey will change to white-grey and look quite a bit better. For a year or two...unless you have a neighbor who feeds the birds every day like I do.

I would think powerwashing would be a prerequisite to the staining SR2008 suggested, so the only reason not to do it would be if you decide on a replacement or a cover-it-up strategy.
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Old 06-25-2012, 06:17 PM   #5
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As a DIY'er, I've laid concrete on my own sidewalks/stairs using ready made cement delivered and also done patch up work on the front stairs where I had multiple cracks and the corners had deteriorated and fallen off. With concrete restoration, it's always work, and the key is with surface prep. I used a high speed grinder with a diamond wheel to do most of the removal of the loose debris. I used Akona concrete resurfacer from Menards. Surprised at how well it turned out, I was going it rebuild if necessary. I ended up resurfacing the entire front stairway to get a nice consistent finish. I had prior experience finishing concrete before doing this and it helps to practice troweling if you've never done it before. This was my second project resurfacing/refinishing concrete, the first was a basement floor. I had done 3 concrete projects using delivered concrete before these, 2 sidewalks and a cement stairway.

When I put this house up for sale, the refinish job had been in place for 2 years, all still intact and no cracks resurfaced. It was good enough to fool all the RE agents that saw the work and they commented that I had new concrete work. The reason I didn't redo this with delivered concrete was cost. The space below the stairs was hollow and it was built as a wine cellar back in the late 40's. I did a lot of work using hydraulic cement to make sure any cracks below grade was patched too. I didn't want to try and explain why I backfilled in multiple yards of concrete to a door entrance. There were no issues/concerns from the home inspection with the house sale. Here's the link to the resurfacer I used (my version had a 2 part mix, now it seems to be mixed in)

25 lb Concrete Resurfacer at Menards
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Old 06-25-2012, 06:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Yes - the photo shows what it looks like post-power washing.

We would power wash again, before applying stains or sealers.

There are several types of stains / sealers available. The one I was talking about is acid based and must be used with precautions, but does last longer - it actually eats the color into the maybe top 1/4" of the concrete so even if you chip it slightly it is still colored. Sealers or paint type stains only cover the surface and wear off over time... I will not touch them except for maybe a garage floor...
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Old 06-25-2012, 08:01 PM   #7
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I've used Quikrete concrete resurfacer and it worked out well. It is a fairly east DIY job, just need to buy a squeegee to spread it out. Prep (washing and cleaning) is very important for proper adhesion. Hard to tell from your photo but it looks like the spaces between the squares are for design and not expansion joints. If they were expansion joints it might be a pain applying the resurfacer because you have to mask off expansion joints.
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Old 06-25-2012, 08:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
Contractors want almost as much to cement paver slices over top of the sidewalk, and ~$4000.00 to resurface the walk with a tinted coating stamped with a decorative design. Thus, we are considering resurfacing the sidewalk ourselves, using a commercial epoxy preparation. There is how-to information on line.
I am looking to hear from someone who actually HAS done it. What product did you use? Was it tricky? How hard to do? Are you pleased with the results, and how have they lasted over time?
Heh-- I was searching through some of my old posts, and look what I found:
Does anyone know how to refinish a concrete walkway?

Four years ago we had a crew of contractors remove the FuturaStone from our driveway, two sidewalks, and two lanai. (They also jackhammered out and replaced one of the lanai and repaired/repoured a set of lava-rock steps, so I can't break the pricing down to $$/sq ft.) Everything was covered with tinted/stamped concrete. You could do your job yourself, but you might only be happy for a couple years.

Their biggest concern was "respect the cracks". Wherever they found a joint, they marked it on a plan and with chalk/tape on nearby surfaces. After pouring the stamped concrete and curing it overnight, they cut a relief joint right above the crack through the stamped concrete and then packed it with silicon caulk. A 10-foot section of concrete contracts about 1/8"-3/16" during our Hawaii weather cycle, and I can only imagine how much stress it must have to handle in freezing conditions. Wherever they found a crack in the underlying concrete, they tore it out and packed it full of repair concrete, then spent hours sealing it with silicon caulk and epoxy to minimize water intrusion. Our sidewalks each had a drain cleanout fixture, and one sidewalk was penetrated by the water pipe to the house pressure reducer. They spent more hours debating the best way to handle those areas because they tend to be crack magnets.

Pictures:
Why I live here...
Why I live here...

I could take a bunch of recent photos but... it looks pretty much the same today. Some red dirt has filled in the nooks & crannies for interesting highlights, and the driveway has seen some UV fading. Otherwise it looks about the same as it did on the day the contractors finished. Most significantly, there are no new cracks. Their anal-retentive experience took a lot of time and tedious detail, but it paid off.

You could try the DIY epoxy now, but maybe it's also worth saving up a few thousand bucks for 2015 to see if you want to go the contractor route.
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Anyone refinished a concrete sidewalk?
Old 06-26-2012, 02:42 PM   #9
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Anyone refinished a concrete sidewalk?

My dog does occasionally when a fire hydrant is not available.
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Old 06-26-2012, 05:36 PM   #10
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What, Dawg, you don't give him his own garden gnome??

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My dog does occasionally when a fire hydrant is not available.
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