Resurfacing Concrete: Porch Makeover

Update: May 2014. Many of you have sent me emails asking how the porch is holding up.  Great News!  There have been no issues so far. We've had no peeling, no flaking and nothing to speak of that would deter me from this product.  

 This past Spring Hubs and I had a project list that included sprucing up our front yard.  That list included installing a new fence and updating our front porch.  We had high hopes for this porch and started to get it into pretty good shape by cleaning it, painting the shutters and we even bought two new rockers thinking that would cozy it up.  It wasn't bad.  It looked pretty good with some hanging flowers and a new door wreath.  Well, the flowers died because someone (me) didn't water them and Hubs kept saying we have to do something about the concrete.  It was cracked, chipped and plain old dirty looking.
We did get an estimate to have it professionally resurfaced.  While the price was high, what I really didn't like about it was it was going to look like faux stone.  Not the look I was going after.
I scoured the internet for months and didn't really find anything that was DIY that I was interested in.  However, I kept coming back to this product called Restore.  The problem was there wasn't all that much information available on it.  Being apprehensive about it, Hubs and I carried on doing other projects over the summer like sealing our fence and didn't think about the porch all that much.
I'm giddy to tell you that we ended up buying the Restore product at Lowe's one night on a total whim and couldn't be happier with the results.  We figured the concrete porch couldn't look any worse. The product is well priced at about $25 a gallon.
The product is real thick, not at all like paint.  Don't think it will roll on, brush on or apply like paint, because it doesn't.  It doesn't cure like paint either.  Here's what we learned.
Buy more than you think.  I figured this porch would take 2 gallons and I'd call it a day.  I figured I'd slap on one coat in the AM and the last coat few hours later.  Here's what happened to us.

It was a warm Fall day.  Full sun about 65 degrees out.  I cut in with the brush as per the directions and this video.  I covered all cracks and gaps as directed.  You are supposed to use this special roller, which I bought, to apply the product on the surface.  I didn't know what I was doing and ignored the fact that you need to apply it in one direction and DO NOT ROLL back and forth like you normally would with paint.

Lesson learned.  Read the can.  Call the Customer Service Number.  They are super duper friendly and answered all my questions the next day when I "freaked out"...more on that later.
What is great about this product is that it really covers and fills in imperfections.  This is the crack and hole shown above that is being filled in with just one coat.
You'll see how the product looks a little spotty.  That's because I was rolling back and forth in ERROR.  At this point though, I thought it looked great and couldn't wait to get the second coat on.
Note that directions are there for a reason.  Follow them.  It said if product is tacky do not apply second coat.  I threw all caution to the wind and applied the second coat, called it a day and went to bed.

The next morning this is what I saw!  ACK what are all those marks?  I threw a fit so annoyed and blamed it all on Hubs.  He took the heat and ignored me.  I stormed around the house and finally called the Customer Service number in my sweetest voice.  Mike from Restore was professional and told me not to worry.  

The problem was a couple of things. 1) The temperature at night was inching close to 50 degrees which is right on the line of no good for this product 2) I didn't wait long enough for the second coat to dry 3) I should not have rolled back and forth 4) He recommends always adding 1 cup of water to 1 gallon to the product isn't so thick

Ok Mr. Mike, now what? Am I totally hosed now?  He told me no worries and to apply one more coat with the water trick, but to let what I already had applied set up a few more days.  Alrighty.  I'll give it a shot.
On the next sunny, warm day with no rain in the forecast, Hubs and I jumped all over this.  I have to tell you that I ended up hand brushing the last coat on.  I think because I messed up the first coat with my roller error, it just wasn't working for me to use the roller.  It took me four back breaking hours, but I jumped up and down with pure joy when it was done.  I'll let the next few photos speak for themselves!

The most amazing part was updating the steps.  We were going to jackhammer these out!  I used the Restore Caulk to fill in the large crack right above the step.  Then I hand brushed the steps.

Hello?! Is that the same step?  I still can't believe it.

After a about a week of letting the porch cure, we put the rockers back and I shuffled off to the store buy some things to pretty it all up.  The doormat was reused and is from Pier One.  I sprayed the metal kick plate and door handle Oil Rubbed Bronze. They were both icky brass before.
I sprayed the wood ring with a fresh coat of black paint and Hubs stacked wood ready for the Winter season.  The front door got a coat of fresh paint, Cottage Red.  Color is by Benjamin Moore but I had it color matched at Lowe's in their Valspar Duramax paint. It went on like butter.
The posts all received a fresh coat of paint in White by Valspar Duramax Exterior.  This stuff is thick and I'm now completely sold on the Valspar paint.  It has awesome coverage.
The mums were from my local farmer's market and the galvanized buckets are from the paint section in Lowe's.
We ended up getting 8 gallons of the Restore, but could have gotten away with 5 if I would have followed the directions.  That would have given two coats to the porch and 2 coats to the step and stoop.
The color I used was Fieldstone.  They mix it up for you in Lowe's and give the cans a real good shake in the shaker machine.
Remember to add the one cup of water and do try the special roller.  I'm sure you'll have better luck with it, if you follow the directions :)  As for my method of hand brushing.  I used a wide angled brush, loaded it with Restore and brushed it on in 3x3 sections.  I back brushed to smooth it out a little in the opposite direction.  I really had no idea what I was doing, but it turned out better than I had hoped.  Freak out session aside, I am so glad we tried this product.  We plan on seeing how it holds up over the Winter and then may coat the front walkway.  Right now that got a power washing and will have to wait 'til Spring.
So tell me if you end up using Restore!
P.S. I've linked up to Tatertots & Jello  Sugar and Dots Home Stories A to Z


  1. Your porch looks amazing! We used Restore on our deck at the spring. It was quite an adventure. We brushed the product in the cracks of the deck then decided it was so much easier to brush instead of roll. So we brushed the whole deck. It looked so terrible because the sand was so uneven. ha. Then we rolled 2 more coats and it looks great. I think we used 6 gallons but like you could have used less if we just followed directions! The week after we painted the deck we went on vacation and came home to two 6x6 spots on the deck where our dog scratched the paint off trying to dig through the deck to catch a chipmunk. Ugh we had none left over and haven't fixed the spots because I don't want to buy 2 gallons box to fix those spots. I had read about the extra water trick but was afraid to try it. My dad wants to do a large deck and 2 boat docks so we might try that trick. It is a lot of effort, but it pays off.

  2. I LOVE your porch!! It looks beautiful...I hope to someday add a porch to our house & put rocking chairs on it. I also love your flowers in the metal pots!

  3. It turned out so great! I am jealous of your big front porch!
    I would LOVE for you to link this up at my Ginger Jamboree Link Party!!

  4. We saw this product and considered it for our deck. I LOVE how your porch turned out!!! It's gorgeous and looks brand new!

  5. love the crisp clean look, and what a great sized porch. fabuloua!

  6. Your front porch looks amazing!! It seriously looks brand new now!

  7. Woah! I have never heard of this product before, but that is amazing!! It looks freshly poured! I always assumed cracked concrete is one of those things you have to live with until you do a complete overhaul! Glad to be proved wrong!

  8. Wow, that is a great product! Pretty amazing how it smooths everything out. I look forward to hearing your updates on how it holds up over the coming months - awesome! That sucks that you had to get so many cans, I really hate when I don't read the directions and mess things up.

  9. Wow, what an amazing makeover. I too have a concrete front porch, and recently I saw that they have a concrete stamp that looks like wood planks....this has me dreaming. Of course I'll have to hire that one out. You've done an amazing job way to go.

  10. Stumbled upon your blog and wow! Your porch looks like new! Thanks for recommending the Lowes paint, thick paint sounds good so I'll be giving it a try.

  11. How did he product hold p over the winter? Does deicing salt harm the surface. Your porch looks wonderful!

  12. Patio looks good, thanks for sharing the tips on how to roll it and to follow the instructions exactly.

  13. Thanks so much for sharing your tips. Your porch looks amazing. Has it held up well?

  14. Let me know if it has held up. Considering this product for resale.

  15. Guy at Lowe's recommended the Olympic branded product similar to Rustoleum Restore because of durability and comments Restore was peeling after 6 months.

  16. Love your porch facelift project! I will be looking for the adorable galvanized pails in my paint section. I would also like to know how your Restore has held up 1) in the highest traffic areas and at any seams 2) over winter-do you get freezing temps? and 3) if you used de-icer or rock salt, did it affect the Restore? Thank you very much.

  17. HI. No issues with the Restore. We had a cold winter and nothing happened to it. Even though it is a covered porch, rain water still gets on it. I also hose it down season to season. We do not use deicer or salt so I can't speak of how it holds up to that. I'd do this makeover again in a heartbeat and have no complaints.

  18. I know this has nothing to do with the restore (you did a fantastic job), but I like the size of your porch. could you tell me the measurements?

  19. Porch looks great. Thinking about using it, thanks.

  20. You did an amazing job! It looks brand new. If slabs are uneven a practical way to fix them is to have the lifted with polyurethane foam!

  21. This is really good. I had my patio done last August and the over the winter it take a beating. Not sure if that was suppose to happen but it did. I just received an estimate from the contractor for an additional $800 to skim it over. NOT going to happen. I think I will fill in the little cracks with concrete then use the RESTORE. It looks amazing. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Thanks for all the details and pics! I am going to try it on our old front porch stoop. I'll post the results.