Freshly painted walls, gleaming new kitchen appliances and brand new carpeting can do wonders to improve the appearance and marketability of any home's interior, but if prospective buyers have to enter the front door from an ancient, chipped concrete porch all those upgrades may be wasted. Real estate agents know that appearance is an important part of creating buyer interest and flaws that cause the home to look dated and worn will affect their buyer's desire's to view the home.
Furthermore, even when buyers do agree to view home they feel are flawed, they often make offers that fall far below the seller's asking price. If you are a home seller dealing with an older concrete porch that is pitted, cracked or just plain ugly, these DIY instructions and some basic materials from the home improvement store can help breathe new life into your old porch and help revive lagging buyer interest.
Assess the Problem
For proper concrete resurfacing for your porch, you will first need to know the extent of the damage. Remove furnishings and any rugs or mats from the porch and clean it thoroughly. Use a pressure washer to do this, if possible, so that years of dust and dirt can be removed. If the porch has been painted, you will need to remove the old paint also. Once the porch is clean and dry, inspect all the cracks, holes and chipped areas to make sure the damage is confined on or near the surface. If any of the following issues are noted, your porch may have a serious structural issue that will need to be addressed.
- cracks that are wide, deep or have uneven edges
- signs that the porch is pulling away from the exterior of the home's front wall
- large cracks that run from the top of the porch all the way down the exposed front or sides of the porch
- signs that the steps have pulled away from the front of the porch
- signs the surface of the porch has shifted and now tilts unevenly (most porch surfaces are meant to be higher near the back and a bit lower in front to allow rain water to flow away from the home, instead of toward it)
If you discover your porch has one or more of these more serious issues, consider opting to hire a concrete resurfacing contractor, instead of trying a DIY approach which may not be appropriate on damage that is more than just cosmetic.
Resurfacing Your Porch
Once your porch is clean and dry and you have determined that the damage is only cosmetic, measure the length and width of porch, and figure the square feet so that you will know how much concrete resurfacing mix you will need to purchase. Each container will tell you how many square feet it will cover. While you are at the home improvement store, read all the directions carefully and make sure that you have all the tools that you will need for the project because once you mix the concrete resurfacing mixture with water, you will need to work quickly.
When you ready to begin and have mixed the resurfacing product according to directions, you will need to:
- wet the surface of the porch to make it more adhesive
- begin in an inside corner and work outward toward the edges always facing the home, so that you do not become trapped
- trowel on a thin, even layer of the resurfacing mixture and work quickly to cover the entire surface (if the surface is large, make sure you have asked friends or relatives to assist)
- once the resurfacing agent has been applied, use a concrete float to smooth the surface of the concrete (if the weather is hot and dry, or the porch is in full sun, misting it lightly with water will help keep the surface from drying too quickly and ensure a smoother surface)
- if you want a slip-resistant surface for the porch, use a clean paint brush or broom to make swirls or lines in the surface before it dries
- shield the surface from human and pet traffic, as well as direct sun until completely dry (the package directions will tell you how long it should take, but always allow some extra time on humid days or when the temperatures are cooler than normal)