How to Resurface Concrete Steps: A Simple DIY Guide

How to Resurface Concrete Steps: A Simple DIY Guide


Resurfacing concrete steps can transform the entrance to your home or business, enhancing both aesthetic appeal and safety. Over time, concrete steps may suffer from cracks, chips, and weathering, presenting an unsightly and potentially hazardous condition.

This deterioration is not only unappealing but can also decrease the value of your property. Fortunately, with the right materials and techniques, resurfacing concrete steps is a feasible DIY project that can rejuvenate your property’s appearance and safety without the need for complete replacement.

The process of resurfacing concrete involves applying a new layer of concrete or a concrete-like overlay product over the existing steps. This layer adheres to the old concrete, filling in any imperfections and providing a new, smooth surface.

The practical steps to achieve this include preparing the existing concrete surface, mixing and applying the resurfacer, and then finishing the surface for enhanced durability and aesthetics.

This approach is effective for several reasons:

  • Cost Efficiency: Resurfacing is significantly less expensive than replacing the concrete steps entirely. It uses fewer materials and requires less labor, making it a budget-friendly option.
  • Time-saving: The process can typically be completed in a few hours to a couple of days, depending on the size and condition of the steps, which is much quicker than demolition and reconstruction.
  • Customization: Resurfacing products are available in various colors and textures, allowing for customization that can match or enhance the existing exterior decor.
  • Longevity: When done correctly, resurfacing can extend the life of your concrete steps by providing additional protection from wear, weather, and other environmental factors.

In the following sections, we will delve into each step of the resurfacing process, providing detailed instructions and tips to help you achieve professional-quality results. Whether you are looking to refresh the look of your home or improve safety, resurfacing your concrete steps is a valuable skill to learn.

Identifying When Your Concrete Steps Need Resurfacing

Concrete steps are a durable and long-lasting choice for both residential and commercial properties. However, over time, exposure to weather, heavy usage, and other environmental factors can lead to wear and tear.

Recognizing the signs that your concrete steps need resurfacing is crucial to maintaining their functionality and aesthetic appeal. Below, we detail the common indicators of degradation, outline the steps for resurfacing, and explain why this maintenance is effective.

Signs Your Concrete Steps Need Attention

Before you begin the process of resurfacing, it’s important to identify whether your concrete steps actually require this treatment. Here are some key signs to look for:

  • Cracks: Small or large cracks are a clear sign that the concrete is deteriorating. These can be caused by thermal expansion, freeze-thaw cycles, or heavy loads.
  • Spalling: This refers to the peeling or flaking of the concrete surface, often due to rebar corrosion or poor installation.
  • Discoloration: While not always a structural concern, discoloration can be unsightly and may indicate underlying issues.
  • Unevenness: Sunken or raised sections may result from foundational shifts or soil erosion and can pose safety hazards.

Steps to Resurface Concrete Steps

Once you’ve determined that your concrete steps need resurfacing, follow these practical steps to restore their condition:

  1. Clean the Surface: Begin by thoroughly cleaning the steps to remove dirt, debris, and any loose material. A pressure washer can be effective for this task.
  2. Repair Damages: Fill any cracks or holes with a concrete patching compound. For larger issues, you may need to use a concrete fill or a patching mortar specifically designed for vertical surfaces.
  3. Prepare the Resurfacer: Mix the concrete resurfacer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s important to achieve the right consistency for effective application.
  4. Apply the Resurfacer: Pour or spread the resurfacer onto the steps, using a trowel to smooth it over the entire surface. Work quickly as resurfacers typically set fast.
  5. Texturize: If desired, add texture to the wet surface with a broom or brush to prevent slipperiness when wet.
  6. Cure the Surface: Allow the resurfacer to cure for the time specified by the product instructions. Keep the surface moist during this period to ensure strong adhesion and hardening.

Effectiveness of Concrete Resurfacing

Resurfacing concrete steps is not only a cost-effective way to enhance their appearance but also strengthens the structure and extends its lifespan. The resurfacer fills in cracks and gaps, providing a new, smooth surface.

This barrier protects the underlying concrete from moisture, chemicals, and further physical damage. Additionally, the process can address safety issues related to uneven or damaged steps, making them safer for pedestrian use.

By maintaining your concrete steps through regular assessments and resurfacing when necessary, you ensure their durability and functionality for years to come. This proactive approach saves money in the long run by avoiding more extensive repairs or replacements.

Materials Needed for Resurfacing Concrete Steps

Resurfacing concrete steps can be a necessary project to tackle when your existing steps show signs of wear and tear such as cracking, chipping, or surface discoloration. These issues not only detract from the aesthetic appeal of your property but can also pose safety risks.

The process of resurfacing helps restore the functionality and appearance of your steps without the need for a complete replacement, making it a cost-effective and efficient solution.

Understanding the Problem

Concrete steps are prone to damage primarily due to exposure to weather elements, fluctuating temperatures, and general wear over time. Water can seep into cracks and freeze, causing the concrete to expand and further crack.

Sun exposure can also cause fading and weakening of the concrete. Addressing these issues promptly through resurfacing can prevent more extensive damage and higher repair costs in the future.

Materials Needed

To effectively resurface your concrete steps, you will need specific materials and tools to ensure the job is done correctly and safely. Here is a list of essential materials:

  • Concrete Resurfacer: A blend specifically designed for resurfacing and strengthening existing concrete surfaces.
  • Bonding Agent: Helps in adhering the new material to the old concrete.
  • Pressure Washer: To thoroughly clean the steps and ensure the resurfacing material adheres properly.
  • Concrete Cleaner: Used with the pressure washer, this helps remove old stains, dirt, and debris.
  • Trowel: For applying and smoothing the resurfacer.
  • Long-Handled Squeegee: Useful for spreading the resurfacer evenly.
  • Concrete Sealer: Applied after the resurfacing material has cured to protect the new surface from moisture and weather damage.
  • Safety Gear: Includes gloves, goggles, and a dust mask for personal protection during the process.

Practical Steps for Resurfacing Concrete Steps

Follow these steps to effectively resurface your concrete steps:

  1. Clean the Surface: Use the pressure washer and concrete cleaner to remove any dirt, debris, and loose particles from the steps.
  2. Repair Deep Cracks: Fill any deep cracks with concrete patching compound to ensure a smooth surface for the resurfacer.
  3. Apply Bonding Agent: This ensures the resurfacing material properly adheres to the existing concrete.
  4. Mix and Apply Concrete Resurfacer: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing. Use the squeegee and trowel to apply the resurfacer, making sure to spread it evenly.
  5. Cure and Seal: Allow the resurfacer to cure as recommended before applying a sealer to protect the new surface.

Effectiveness of These Steps

Using the right materials and following these steps ensure that your resurfaced concrete steps will be durable and aesthetically pleasing. The resurfacer provides a new, strong top layer that is designed to withstand weathering and heavy foot traffic.

The sealer protects this layer from moisture, UV rays, and chemicals, prolonging the life of your concrete steps and reducing the likelihood of future damages.

Preparing Your Concrete Steps for Resurfacing

Concrete steps are a sturdy and durable option for both indoor and outdoor staircases. However, over time, they can suffer from wear and tear such as cracking, chipping, and discoloration.

Resurfacing concrete steps is an efficient way to restore their appearance and extend their lifespan without the need for complete replacement. Before the actual resurfacing process can begin, thorough preparation is crucial to ensure the new surface adheres properly and lasts longer.

Below, we detail the essential steps to effectively prepare your concrete steps for resurfacing.

Step 1: Cleaning the Concrete Steps

The first and most critical step in preparing for resurfacing is to clean the concrete steps thoroughly. Remove all debris, dirt, and dust that can prevent the new material from bonding correctly.

Use a stiff bristle brush and a solution of water mixed with mild detergent to scrub the surface. For tougher stains or mildew, consider using a commercial concrete cleaner or a mixture of bleach and water (ensure to wear protective gear).

After scrubbing, rinse the steps completely with clean water and allow them to dry.

Step 2: Repairing Damages

Inspect the steps for any cracks, chips, or areas of spalling (where the surface of the concrete flakes away). These imperfections need to be repaired to create a smooth base for resurfacing. Use a concrete patching compound for smaller cracks and chips.

For larger cracks or broken edges, a concrete filler or a mix of cement and sand might be necessary. Apply the repair material according to the manufacturer’s instructions, smooth it out evenly with a trowel, and let it cure as directed.

Step 3: Sanding the Surface

Once repairs have dried and cured, it’s important to sand the surface of the concrete steps to ensure they are completely smooth and level. This helps in removing any bumps or uneven patches that could interfere with the resurfacing material.

Use a power sander or hand-held sanding block with medium-grit sandpaper. Pay particular attention to blending the repaired areas with the old concrete to avoid noticeable patches after resurfacing.

Step 4: Applying a Concrete Primer

Before applying the resurfacing material, coat the steps with a concrete bonding primer. This product helps in enhancing the adhesion between the old concrete surface and the new resurfacing material.

Follow the primer manufacturer’s application guidelines, typically involving applying a thin, even layer over the entire surface of the steps. Allow the primer to dry completely, as per the recommended time.

Step 5: Masking Off Areas

Finally, use painter’s tape to mask off any areas around the steps that you do not want to accidentally coat with the resurfacing material, such as walls, railings, or adjacent floors. This step ensures a clean and professional-looking finish and makes the cleanup process easier.

By following these detailed steps, your concrete steps will be well-prepared for a successful resurfacing project. Proper preparation not only ensures that the resurfacing material adheres properly but also significantly enhances the appearance and durability of your concrete steps.

Step-by-Step Guide to Resurfacing Concrete Steps

Concrete steps are a durable and long-lasting option for homes and commercial properties. However, over time, they can become worn, cracked, or uneven due to weather conditions, frequent use, and natural settling of the structure.

Not only can deteriorated steps diminish the appearance of a property, but they can also pose safety hazards. Resurfacing concrete steps is a cost-effective way to restore their appearance and safety without the need for complete replacement.

Below is a detailed guide on how to effectively resurface concrete steps to ensure durability and enhance aesthetic appeal.

Understanding the Problem

Before beginning the resurfacing process, it’s crucial to understand the common issues with concrete steps. These can include:

  • Cracking: Small to large cracks can develop due to thermal expansion, shrinkage, or structural settling.
  • Spalling: The surface of the concrete may start to chip away or flake off, often due to freeze-thaw cycles or deicing salts.
  • Discoloration: Over time, concrete can become discolored due to exposure to elements, dirt, and stains.

Materials Needed

  • Concrete patching compound
  • Concrete resurfacer
  • Chisel
  • Wire brush
  • Pressure washer or hose
  • Trowel
  • Bucket or mixer for mixing concrete
  • Protective gloves and eyewear

Step-by-Step Resurfacing Process

Step 1: Cleaning the Concrete Steps

Begin by thoroughly cleaning the steps to remove any loose particles, dirt, or debris. Use a wire brush to scrub the surface and a chisel to remove any loose or flaking concrete. Wash the steps with a pressure washer or a strong stream from a hose to ensure a clean surface for the resurfacing material to adhere properly.

Step 2: Repairing Cracks and Holes

Use a concrete patching compound to fill any cracks or holes in the steps. Apply the compound using a trowel, and smooth it over to ensure it is level with the surface of the concrete. Allow the patching compound to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 3: Preparing the Resurfacing Mixture

Mix the concrete resurfacer in a bucket or mixer following the manufacturer’s specifications. The consistency of the mix is crucial for effective application, so ensure it is neither too thick nor too thin.

Step 4: Applying the Concrete Resurfacer

Wet the steps slightly before applying the resurfacer to help with the adhesion of the new surface. Pour the resurfacer onto the steps and use a trowel to spread it evenly. Work quickly as resurfacer tends to set rapidly. If your steps have a textured surface, you can use a broom to create a non-slip texture by gently sweeping it over the surface before the resurfacer sets.

Step 5: Curing

Allow the resurfacer to cure for the time recommended by the manufacturer. Keep the newly resurfaced steps moist during the curing process by covering them with a plastic sheet or periodically sprinkling water over them. This helps in achieving a stronger and more durable surface.

Why These Steps Are Effective

Resurfacing concrete steps using the outlined method revitalizes the structure without the need for complete replacement. This approach addresses both aesthetic issues and structural problems by filling in cracks and creating a new, smooth surface.

The use of a concrete resurfacer provides a durable coating that can withstand weather conditions and heavy foot traffic, extending the life of your concrete steps significantly.

By following this step-by-step guide, you can restore your concrete steps efficiently, ensuring they continue to provide safe, visually appealing access for years to come.

Sealing and Protecting Your Resurfaced Steps

Resurfacing concrete steps is an excellent way to restore their appearance and extend their lifespan. However, after resurfacing, it is crucial to seal and protect the new surface to ensure durability and resistance against weather elements and daily wear and tear.

This section outlines the essential steps to effectively seal and protect your resurfaced concrete steps, explaining why each step is vital for maintaining the integrity and aesthetics of your steps.

Understanding the Importance of Sealing Concrete Steps

Concrete, while durable, is porous and can absorb water, oils, and other substances, leading to staining and deterioration. Sealing your resurfaced steps helps to block these pores, preventing damage from water penetration such as freezing and thawing cycles, which can cause cracks and scaling.

Additionally, a sealant provides a protective layer against stains, UV rays, and abrasion, thereby enhancing the appearance and increasing the lifespan of your steps.

Step-by-Step Guide to Sealing Your Resurfaced Concrete Steps

  1. Clean the Surface: Before applying any sealant, ensure that the resurfaced steps are completely clean and free of dust, dirt, and debris. Use a broom or a leaf blower to remove loose particles. For thorough cleaning, wash the surface with a concrete cleaner and a stiff brush, then rinse with water and allow it to dry completely.
  2. Choose the Right Sealant: Select a sealant appropriate for outdoor concrete surfaces. Sealants vary based on gloss levels and protection grades; choose between a water-based or solvent-based sealant depending on your preference for VOC levels and ease of application. Water-based sealants are easier to clean and apply but may require more frequent reapplication.
  3. Apply the Sealant: Apply the sealant using a roller or a sprayer for even coverage. Start from the top step and work your way down to avoid stepping on the sealed areas. Apply the sealant in thin, uniform coats to avoid puddling, which can lead to uneven drying and a poor finish.
  4. Allow Adequate Drying Time: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying time, which can vary from a few hours to a day. Avoid using the steps during this period to ensure the sealant cures properly.
  5. Inspect and Maintain: Regularly check the condition of the sealant, especially after harsh weather conditions. Reapply sealant as needed, typically every 2-3 years, or according to the wear and the product recommendations.


Sealing your resurfaced concrete steps is a critical step in ensuring their durability and aesthetic appeal. By following these practical steps, you protect your investment and keep your steps looking new for years. The effort you put into sealing and maintaining the steps will pay off in extending the life of the concrete and minimizing future repair needs.


Resurfacing concrete steps is an effective solution for enhancing the appearance and longevity of your entryways without the need for complete replacement. Over time, concrete steps can suffer from wear, cracks, and weathering, presenting not just an aesthetic issue but also a safety hazard.

Resurfacing provides a cost-effective and practical method to address these problems by adding a new layer of material over the existing steps, which not only improves durability but also offers a chance to customize the appearance of the steps.

The process of resurfacing concrete steps involves several key steps that ensure the longevity and effectiveness of the renovation. Initially, it is crucial to thoroughly clean the existing concrete surface to remove any dirt, debris, or existing sealers that could prevent the new material from adhering properly.

This can be achieved through power washing or using a scrub brush and appropriate cleaning solutions.

After cleaning, the next step is to repair any significant cracks or damages in the concrete. This is typically done using a concrete repair mortar, which fills the cracks and helps to create a smooth, even surface for the resurfacing material to adhere to.

Once repairs are made, the surface should be primed to enhance the bonding of the new resurfacing material.

The choice of resurfacing material is also crucial. Polymer-modified overlays are popular due to their ability to adhere well and their flexibility, which reduces the likelihood of future cracking.

The application of the resurfacing material needs to be done carefully and methodically, ensuring an even spread that covers all imperfections and leaves a smooth finish.

Finally, sealing the resurfaced steps is an essential step that should not be overlooked. A high-quality sealer will protect the new surface from elements, stains, and wear, extending the life of the steps and maintaining their appearance over time.

The sealer also enhances the color and brightness of the finish, which can be particularly important if a colored or decorative overlay has been applied.

By following these steps, resurfacing concrete steps not only solves the problem of worn and damaged surfaces but also enhances the curb appeal of your property. This method is cost-effective, less labor-intensive than full replacement, and can be tailored to fit various aesthetic preferences.

Moreover, it adds to the safety and functionality of the steps, ensuring they remain a durable and attractive feature of your home for years to come.

FAQs About Resurfacing Concrete Steps

Resurfacing concrete steps can be a practical approach to enhance their durability and aesthetic appeal without the need for complete replacement. This section explores common questions about the resurfacing process, detailing the problem, the step-by-step solution, and explaining why these methods are effective.

What does it mean to resurface concrete steps?

Resurfacing concrete steps involves applying a new layer of concrete or a concrete overlay product over the existing steps to repair damage, improve appearance, and extend lifespan. This process can address issues such as cracks, uneven surfaces, and wear and tear that occur over time due to weather conditions and usage.

Why should I consider resurfacing my concrete steps instead of replacing them?

Resurfacing is generally more cost-effective and less labor-intensive than full replacement. It allows you to repair minor to moderate damages without the need to demolish and rebuild the entire structure. This method also minimizes disruption and can usually be completed more quickly.

What are the practical steps to resurface concrete steps?

  1. Clean the Surface: Start by removing any dirt, debris, or existing loose material from the steps. Use a power washer for effective cleaning and allow the steps to dry completely.
  2. Repair Damages: Before resurfacing, fix any cracks or holes in the concrete using a concrete repair compound. This ensures a smooth and stable surface for the overlay to adhere properly.
  3. Prepare the Resurfacing Mix: Prepare the concrete resurfacer mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This usually involves mixing a pre-bagged compound with water.
  4. Apply the Mix: Pour the resurfacer onto the steps, starting from the top step and working your way down. Use a trowel to spread the mix evenly across the surface, ensuring it gets into all corners and edges.
  5. Texture the Surface: Once the overlay begins to stiffen, texture the surface for improved traction. This can be done using a broom or a specialized texturing tool.
  6. Cure the Resurfacer: Allow the resurfacer to cure as per the instructions. Avoid using the steps during this time to ensure a solid, durable finish.

Why are these steps effective in resurfacing concrete steps?

The outlined steps ensure a comprehensive approach to resurfacing, addressing both aesthetic and structural issues:

  • Cleaning and Repairing: These initial steps are crucial for preparing the surface, ensuring the resurfacing material adheres well and lasts longer.
  • Proper Mixing and Application: Following the manufacturer’s guidelines for mixing and applying the resurfacer helps in achieving a uniform and smooth finish that restores the steps effectively.
  • Texturing: This provides safety by preventing slips, especially in wet conditions, making the steps safer to use.
  • Curing: Proper curing is vital for the strength and longevity of the resurfaced steps, ensuring they can withstand regular use and environmental factors.

Can I resurface my concrete steps myself?

Yes, resurfacing concrete steps can be a DIY project if you are comfortable with basic home improvement tasks. However, for best results, especially if the damage is extensive or the steps are structurally compromised, professional assessment and application are recommended.