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Wondering What To Do With Ugly Concrete? Should You Veneer It?

Do you want to sell your house and are you wondering what to do with ugly concrete?  Should you veneer it? 

The quick answer is NO, it doesn't work for long.

Curb appeal.  First impressions.  Shiny and new.  All that makes a difference when you sell a house.

Certainly it's hard to tell what was here before.  This is an older house so likely the sidewalk and stairs were a bit chewed up.

And they decided to slather a coat of thin veneer over everything to spruce it up.

They may have added a stair or step to what was there before as there is that cute trip hazard at the bottom of the guardrail.

Tripping is never a good thing!

Stair height varies and everything looks a bit erratic.

I expect it looks better than what was there before, but thinly veneering any concrete with a slather of most anything does not work for very long.

What will happen?

This is a porch, stair case and driveway combo.

All of that has been veneered.

The veneer will crack.  Expansion and contraction with hot and cold, weight, snow melters (even the special  stuff that "won't damage your concrete," a sharp blow, etc., will crack the veneer.

That crack will open up, break into pieces, grow larger and crack more.

 

Eventually cracking and breaking will happen everywhere and you will end up with a flaky, chunky coating.

IT WILL BE UGLY.

In this case the veneer has been applied within the last few weeks and it is already cracking.

Whoever suggested this "repair" to this homeowner did not know what he is doing.

This is an extremely unprofessional job.  Concrete really should be a minimum of 4" thick and that reinforced with some form of mesh.  Notice how thick sidewalks are?

My recommendation:  when people suggest this or that as a "repair" you might investigate it first!  Nowadays there are so many ways to do research, and within minutes you can often have an answer to your research question.  Sometimes the answers vary, or are even opposites, but for the most part you can find answers to your questions or solutions to the problem you want to fix.  It beats causing a bigger problem!

 

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 17 commentsJay Markanich • January 29 2015 02:28AM

Comments

Jay, the untrained eye probably would not notice. Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) almost 4 years ago

Hence the need for a home inspection Wayne!  Most people would think this is an improvement.

Well, not...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

I would think that would also be a bit slippier, especially when it rains. Inspections are critical!

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) almost 4 years ago

I've seen this around here but not often.  i figure they may be trying to hide something.  I show it to my clients and suggest a professional inspector take a look 

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) almost 4 years ago

It's a mess all around Kat.

James - he might say what you said!  But still, cracking will happen soon.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

GEEZ!  I've seen this so many times.  It never lasts.  As long as the original concrete didn't have uneven/unsafe joints or cracks, either replace it or leave it alone. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 4 years ago

Good morning Jay,

As I am good at a few thing and concrete not being one it would be talking to a few mason's to get the job done correctly.

Even veneer on wood is a pain!

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) almost 4 years ago

That isn't smart either.  Also, if it was only done a few week ago, was the temperature even warm enough to cure properly?

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) almost 4 years ago

Good morning Jay. You're right the answers are everywhere but...most people rely on their contractors to give them information.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) almost 4 years ago

Nothing worse than uneven stair risers! Well.... there must be something

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) almost 4 years ago

Lenn - I see it so often.  This was a blatantly bad case!

Raymond - who knows, maybe this guy is a concrete "professional!"

Debbie - I expect so.  And temperatures matter, as you know.

Sheila - it pays to do some research.  And also research the contractor!

Fred - there might be, somewhere, over the rainbow.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

More often than not the surface has not been properly prepared also which lead to quicker failure.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

You know that, and I know that, Don, but we can't say it on a report.  And this time of year, how would a prior treatment fair?

We report what we can see.  And too bad sometimes!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

Jay, justthis past weekend I was looking at the walkway, I can see some mesh in places from wear. I was contemplating veneer. I may rethink.

Posted by Mark Horan, "The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC & (Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC) almost 4 years ago

Sometimes mesh comes visible Mark.  It is in my driveway!  But veneer is not the answer!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

There are situations were a concrete surface can be repaired. This just looked like a quick fix/hide project Jay.

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) almost 4 years ago

Yes, Tom, and this was not one of them!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 4 years ago

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