Is your concrete driveway looking sadly outdated? Are cracks spiderwebbing across the surface or crumbling edges making it an eyesore? As a Des Moines homeowner, you’ve likely weighed getting a whole new driveway, but paused at the potential five-figure price tag.
The good news? You can restore the appearance of your existing concrete for a fraction of the cost with resurfacing.
When to Consider Resurfacing
Whether it’s been 3 years or 30, there comes a time when every concrete driveway has earned a makeover. Learn exactly when and how to refresh yours cost-effectively.
Signs it’s time to call in the resurfacing pros include:
- Cracks wider than 1⁄4 inch
- Pits, hollows or uneven sunken areas
- Large stained or discolored patches
- Flaking or crumbling corners and edges
- Resurfacing involves pouring a fresh layer of concrete over the top to create a smooth, uniform surface. The process can extend the life of your concrete for 5-10 more years. Compare that to the $8,000 average cost of totally replacing a standard-sized driveway!
Des Moines homeowners deal with dramatic seasonal shifts from ice melting to blazing heat. That repeated freeze/thaw cycle causes existing concrete to expand and contract, forming cracks and deterioration over time. Stopping that damage before it gets worse through resurfacing saves money long-term.
And you can’t put a price on the curb appeal factor either. A clean, sleek concrete surface makes an excellent first impression.
Resurfacing Concrete Step-by-Step
Transforming your worn and weathered driveway into a brand new showpiece requires careful prep and application from start to finish. Here’s a step-by-step overview of what’s involved:
1. Clean Surface
Thoroughly pressure wash the concrete to remove built-up dirt, oil stains, and any loose material. Completely dry the surface before moving forward.
2. Make Repairs
Use concrete patch compound to fill any cracks or holes larger than 1⁄4 inch across. This provides a solid base for the new top layer. Let patches fully cure as directed.
3. Apply Concrete Resurfacer
Mix concrete resurfacing product to a smooth, pourable consistency per package instructions. Pour onto the surface and use a squeegee to spread it evenly across the area, working in sections for best results. Target 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 inch thickness.
4. Decorative Finishes (Optional)
While basic resurfacing creates a uniform gray surface, you can tailor the look with stamping. After allowing the new concrete to set slightly, press molds into it to create patterns like brick, slate, or cobblestone. Using specialty tints in the concrete mix also achieves colorful designs.
5. Cure & Seal
Allow the resurfaced driveway to harden for 24 hours before driving on it. Unsealed concrete can start showing surface issues after only a year. Use a clear concrete sealant formulated to stand up to freeze/thaw cycles and salt exposure.
With the right products and techniques, you can achieve lasting, professional-quality results resurfacing your existing concrete driveway. And transform not just the surface, but the whole curb appeal of your home.
Costs Breakdown in Des Moines
What can Des Moines homeowners expect to invest for a basic concrete driveway resurfacing job? The price typically averages $2-5 per square foot of surface area.
To resurface a standard-sized double driveway around 600-700 square feet, you would usually pay $1,200-3,500. This covers professional prep work, the resurfacing materials, finishing, and sealing with a basic uniform gray concrete mix.
Several factors influence the final price tag:
Size of Area
Larger driveways mean you need more materials and labor hours to complete the job. Measure your exact square footage using online calculators to estimate how much is needed.
Opting for a custom color, decorative aggregate mixes with stone flecks, stamping patterns or premium sealants increases cost but also visual appeal. Custom jobs average $4-8 per square foot.
Severity Of Existing Damage
The rougher the current state of your concrete, the more prep work it requires for successful resurfacing results. Expect added costs for things like pressure washing ($150+), crack repairs, significant leveling work or demolishing unsound sections. Always get professional guidance on feasibility.
Consider full front walkway or patio resurfacing at the same time. Multi-surface discounts may apply with additional square footage. Moving vehicles during work or temporary walkway materials also add charges.
When properly prepped and sealed, a resurfaced driveway should retain its renewed look for many years if maintained properly. Staying on top of sealing every 2-3 years helps prevent salt and freeze damage. Think of resurfacing as armor against the elements – an asset protecting your existing concrete foundation.
DIY Tips to Save Money
You can cut costs by tackling basic cleaning, prep work and potentially working in manageable sections yourself before calling in resurfacing pros.
Focus on pressure washing, clearing debris from cracks, and making minor patching repairs during the prep phase. Then break your driveway into 144 sq ft sections marked off with tape. Work alongside professionals to pour and spread fresh concrete mixes within each mini-workspace before moving to adjacent sections.
Having an extra set of hands helps with smoothing finishes. DIYers can still achieve excellent results with some strategic planning upfront and assistance at key points in the process.
When to Work with a Pro
Extensive repairs exceeding cracks and small patches should be left to concrete specialists prior to resurfacing – severe damage under the surface can undermine results. For specialty techniques like stamping, you need both artistic skill and material knowledge for quality outcomes.
Additionally, severely deteriorated concrete may be so structurally unsound that resurfacing options no longer apply. In those cases, a full replacement probably makes more economic sense long-term. Leaving assessments of current driveway integrity and feasibility to industry veterans ensures you choose wisely.
Caring for Your New Surface
Once your driveway takes on its gorgeous new appearance, you’ll want to keep it that way. Follow all manufacturer recommendations for curing times before exposing resurfaced areas to vehicles or excessive foot traffic. This prevents early softness or imprints.
Proper sealing also plays a huge role. Use concrete sealants formulated to withstand freezing winter conditions in Des Moines’ dramatic climate shifts. Reapply protective sealant layers every 2-3 years.
Salt and chemical deicers are brutal on concrete, penetrating pores over time. Use sand or snow melt products labeled “concrete safe” whenever possible to limit deterioration. Be diligent about resealing before and after snow seasons.
Think preventatively with concrete care. Keep heavy planters, furniture drag marks and aggressive cleaning methods off resurfaced zones. Installing a sacrificial path for plow blades can also minimize abrasion damage. Your renewed surface already endured years of exposure. Help it last for many more with conscientious protection.
Renewing your existing concrete driveway through professional resurfacing pays off both visually and financially for Des Moines homeowners. With some diligent DIY prep work beforehand and attentive sealing afterwards, you can achieve a pristine, welcoming surface that withstands the elements beautifully. Don’t endure cracked and crumbling concrete a moment longer. Resurface your driveway this season and enjoy results for years to come.