I told you guys that it would some day come to this: I’ve finally broken down and had my driveway professionally refinished with elite crete concrete resurfacing and cement stain. As you’ve seen from my experience, results and articles on Ready-Mixed Concrete Patch, Concrete Crack Repair, Cement Painting, Behr Stain, Driveway Refinishing, Paint Stripper, etc, etc…I needed help and I finally got it. I interviewed a few different people that did various types of concrete stamping , complete driveway replacement, concrete resurfacing. stone surfacing, tar and other driveway surface repair and refinishing. I ended up with a product called, Elite Crete. Let me explain how I came to this decision and then, I will talk about the results and what I did with my cement porch.
I talked to three different traditional cement driveway refinishing companies. My estimates ranged from $4600 to $8000 for a completely new driveway, including ripping out and hauling off the old cement, pouring the new, refinishing and curing it. The costs for just refinishing the driveway, without replacing the entire concrete was $2,600 to $4,000. My hesitation for replacing it with a traditional cement driveway was based on the fact that cement will not endure salt and other things used to keep the driveway safe to walk on in the winter time. My north-facing driveway rarely gets any sun during the long, cold winter months and I just couldn’t see spending $2,600 – $8,000 to get something that didn’t work before. The next thing I looked into was a driveway stamping company that would refinish my existing driveway and porch with an acrylic based product that was resistant to salt. I was quoted about $7,800 for both my 150 Square foot porch and 1000 square foot driveway. This sounded expensive to me, but doable. The warranty would last for 10 years, as long I agreed to let the company come back every two years to re-stain it at cost of about $1.00 per square foot. That’s about $550 per year to keep my warranty intact. Yikes.
Finally, I contacted a company called, Everstone which refinishes driveways, patios and pool decks with a beautiful, glossy-looking stone surface. The company owner wisely recommended against the stone for my driveway, telling me that the repeated movement of turning car tires would wear grooves in the surface. He did, however, sell me on the idea that the stone would be an attractive and inexpensive upgrade for my small sidewalk and porch area adjacent to the driveway. Furthermore, he recommended a product and company he had just partnered with for the driveway. Elite Crete makes a polymer based concrete product that is resistant to salt and other ice removers. He showed me some samples in various shades of gray and tan. The Elite Crete surface has a rather rough, yet attractive-looking appearance and texture. His estimate came to about $5,000 for the entire driveway, and about $1,600 to do the porch and sidewalk using his Everstone product. I was sold. The color I chose for my driveway was beige with chocolate highlights which matched the bricks on my house. The surface has an interesting, look to it, almost like a tweed carpet with a bit of a rough texture. The color and style is not so significantly different-looking from a cement driveway that the neighborhood HOA would be concerned. It’s pretty close to looking like a normal driveway, but definitely with a slight upgrade in appearance. I will talk about the stone sidewalk and porch in an upcoming post. Now, back to the driveway.
There was some, small concern by the contractor whether or not the driveway concrete underneath was in good enough shape to get the job done. You need a good flat surface underneath that can be made smooth enough in order to apply the Elite Crete surfacing mixture. As it turned out, my driveway did present some difficulties. Two days of concrete grinding were required in order to prepare the concrete for the Elite Crete. Between the surface preparation and actual coatings of Elite Crete, it took about 10 days to finally get the job done. Normally, this would take them about 2-3 days, but the weather would not cooperate. There was never a stretch or two of days without wind, rain and/or snow. Can’t have it freezing or wet while they are applying the coats. After the first coat was applied I became a little nervous about the color looking a little more yellow than I had imagined. This was only because the final coats, two-tone chocolate color and 3-coats of stain had not been applied. Finally, after a long 12-hour day, they finished the job! Overall, I am extremely happy with the results. The Elite Crete has a little bit rougher surface and appearance which will make it much safer to walk and drive on in the icy winter months. If I need to, I can use salt and other ice melt chemicals to clear a path to my door without having to worry about ruining the surface. I was only slightly disappointed that there are still some small areas where the grooves from the grinder are showing. The Elite Crete representative assured me this would not affect the integrity and durability of the surface. For a driveway that was in such bad shape, a little of grooves won’t bother me. As you can see by the photos, the hours and money I spent with Dap Ready-Mixed Concrete Patch, Concrete Crack Repair, Behr Stain and concrete stain stripper are no comparison to the final appearance of the Elite Crete application. There is a reason why sometimes you have to pay good money to do something right.
Obviously, the appearance of the complete job is only part of the Elite Crete review. My driveway will be under warranty for 10 years as long as I agree to re-stain it every 2 years. I will keep you up to date on the durability of the Elite Crete Product, how well it cleans up, and it does in the snow. Thanks to my failed concrete projects, there is more information on this blog about cement stain, driveways and concrete refinishing than all other topics combined. Hopefully, the information will save some people some time and money, not to mention the aggravation of a peeling or cracked driveway.