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How To Even Concrete Driveways With Overlay

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An uneven concrete driveway detracts from the appearance of the home, and it also creates a tripping even hazard. Ignoring the issue will only make the damaged areas worse. 

Paving contractors commonly use a process called slab jacking to fix sunken sections, but you can fix the driveway yourself with an overlay if it has only minimal damage. Follow these tips to install an overlay that levels the surface.

Prepare to Install the Overlay

To install the overlay, gather the following: 

  • work gloves
  • level
  • chalk
  • broom 
  • dish soap (optional)
  • wet dry vacuum
  • bucket 
  • hammer
  • chisel
  • stakes
  • two by four boards or furring strips
  • paint rollers and brushes 
  • acrylic block fill primer
  • patching compound (optional)
  • self-leveling concrete

It is best to work on cloudy days below sixty degrees, so the materials won't dry too fast. Sweep debris from the driveway, and go over it with a wet/dry vacuum; paying attention to cracks and holes. Break loose areas with a hammer and chisel, rinse, then fix cracks with a patching compound.

Spray the surface with a hose to rinse, and let it dry. If the driveway is very dirty, mix some dish soap in a gallon of water, and spray it. A clean driveway enables the repair material to bond better.

Apply Primer

Hammer stakes about one foot apart around the driveway, then lay the boards against them. Lay the board where the driveway meets the street facing the street side of the gutter to help the concrete pour smoothly into the gutter. You may also use furring strips to make the boundary.

Check for low areas with a level, and mark them with chalk. Mix the primer according to instructions, which is usually the consistency of thick soup. To speed up mixing, use a power drill and a mixing bit.

Brush on the bonding primer, then get an assistant to use a roller brush to press the primer on the edges as you apply it. Allow the prime to dry.

Pour the Overlay

Mix the overlay according to directions, which is about the thickness of pancake batter, and start pouring the overlay at the lowest end. Add more overlay on the lower areas to increase the thickness. 

The mixture smoothes itself, so you don't have to be concerned about making it even. Ensure you work quickly, since the mixture can dry in ten minutes, and clean tools immediate after you finish. 

Give the overlay several days to cure before you use the driveway. If your driveway is sloped, or you don't think you can do the job, contact a paving service.