Repair Or Resurface Your Concrete?

When pavement gets damaged it causes with all sorts of problems. 

  • It looks unappealing.
  • It can be a danger to people and vehicles. Cracks and potholes damage tires and the underside of cars, and pose a tripping hazard.
  • It lowers property values of both businesses and homes.
  • Damage will only get worse over time, exacerbating all the above problems, and costing more to repair later on. 

Whether it’s concrete paving or asphalt paving, damage isn’t a good thing. When it becomes immediately obvious, the property owner needs to take action. But the question remains: how? Should you completely replace the paving? Repair it? Or maybe it just needs some surface work. Replacing it is a lot easier to figure out, and should be saved for the most damaged pavement. But figuring out whether to replace or repair is quite a bit tricker.

The rules are a bit different for asphalt and concrete. Thus, we are starting with our guide on concrete

Concrete repair or resurface

If you aren’t sure if your concrete needs work, look for the following signs:

  • Sunken areas of pavement.
  • Cracked and crumbling slab edges.
  • Divots and pockmarks.
  • Large Cracks.
  • Areas of uneven concrete, or places where the slabs are tilting up/down.

Concrete can get damage from a wide variety of sources. Some of the more common ones have less to do with environment, and more with how it was built in the first place. If you can visually assess where the damage is coming from, then that will make a big difference in whether you should resurface vs repair.

When to repair

As a rule, repairs are required when deep parts of the concrete show signs of damage. Read on for how to spot when that is the case.

Sunken parts of concrete

This indicates a bad subgrade was used in the initial construction. There isn’t much you can do about it besides starting over. Make sure you use a reputable paving contractor — someone who will prepare the concrete mix correctly as well as set up the subgrade and install everything right.

Frost heave

This occurs when large quantities of water have got into/under the concrete slabs. It causes the slabs to rise up above others, sort of like continental plates. Sometimes they will break where the rise is especially prominent. 

Deep cracking

This problem is also usually caused by water in the concrete. It’s made worse in climates with freeze/thaw cycles. When the cracks become especially large, or large parts of concrete starts chunking out, resurfacing won’t help anymore. Also be on the lookout for spreading or spider webbing cracks. This means a network of cracks starting at a central spot and quickly spreading. This indicates a serious problem at the center of the “web.” Almost always, water is the culprit.

Tree roots

Tree roots can grow fast and far, so they aren’t always easy to spot as the culprit of damage. Obviously, if a tree is right next to your pavement, then it’s a pretty good guess what the cause of unevenness is. Tree root damage is characterized by steeply slanted broken concrete slabs. Another thing to look for is whether your concrete is between a tree and a water source. If so, a tree that’s far away may be growing its roots towards the water, and through your concrete.


Nothing lasts forever. Even with the best care, no concrete driveway or surface paving will last more than a couple of decades. Thousands of tons of steel driving over it every day combined with water and heat takes its toll. If you notice your concrete is old it should probably simply be replaced. Signs of age include crumbling, an overly-porous surface, brittleness, general (if not severe) unevenness.

Here is Lowe’s helpful concrete repair guide if you’d like to take matters into your own hands.

When to resurface

As you might guess, the general trend for resurfacing is when the damage doesn’t go deep. In the case that your damage appears to be superficial or light, resurfacing is probably right for you.

Small cracks

Are the cracks in your pavement less than a quarter of an inch wide? If so, then filler will probably handle them. Filler does one simple job of taking up space, it makes it so that water can’t get inside those cracks and expand/contract to make them worse. The other benefit is that the filler helps the sides of the cracks adhere to one another, hopefully preventing the cracks from widening.

A faded surface or paint

This is a sign of age right? So a repair is what you need right? Not always. UV damage from the sun is a killer too. Besides being responsible for skin cancer, UV fades paint, weakens surfaces, and generally ages things. If your concrete is new, and it’s getting faded, then most likely it’s just the sun and a paint job/resurfacing will fix it right up. Be especially on the lookout for this in desert climates like the South West.

When the damage is widespread but not deep

If your concrete is covered in a network of cracks, marks, and divots, it may seem like repair is the way to go. However, it may be that resurfacing is all you need to get rid of the superficial damage. Widespread damage is difficult to assess, so you may want to get professional help inspecting it.

For details on resurfacing your concrete yourself, here’s a guide.

When to get professional help

If your concrete is beyond the pale, then it’s time to call in the pros. Fortunately, at Reliable Paving, that’s our bread and butter. We specialize in paving repair and surfacing of all kinds, including concrete. Our experienced team of paving contractors can assess, repair, and resurface your damaged pavement. Not only do we keep the highest standards on repairs, but we can finish the surface too, to ensure your paving lasts for years. Contact us today for our services and rates.