A concrete retaining wall will likely last many years. However, you may need to resurface such a wall due to damage caused by weather, neglect, poor installation, ground movement or age. It is also a good idea to periodically resurface a concrete wall to keep it strong and looking new.
Resurface vs. Replace
Replacing an entire concrete retaining wall can be a very arduous and expensive project. You will need to have heavy equipment to tear out the wall, re-level the area and then build an entire new wall. This might be the only option if the wall is cracked badly, leaning or crumbling from the bottom up.
Most of the time, problems can be cured by resurfacing. This involves cleaning out the cracks and filling them with a concrete product. This is a much cheaper option and less time-consuming, and it doesn't require any heavy, specialized equipment.
Step 1 - Get Started
Examine the wall to determine what needs to be done. Use a power washer to clean all the dirt off the wall and between the cracks. This will also help remove the loose concrete, rocks and other debris.
Step 2 - Clean Out Cracks
Using either the chisel or the wire brush, clean out any remaining dirt in the cracks to allow you better penetration with the concrete patch. Do this for all visible cracks.
Step 3 - Mix Concrete
Follow the manufacturer's instructions to mix water with the Quickrete mixture or concrete resurfacer. Use the drill with the paddle mixer. Mix to a thick consistency.
If you have a colored concrete retaining wall, now is the time to add the coloring to the mixture.
Step 4 - Pour Mixture into Cracks
Take some of the concrete mixture into a scoop or trowel. Pour or spread the concrete into the area that needs repairing. Make sure you fill each crack to the surface area and spread out until it is flat.
Step 5 - Resurface Area
Once you have all the cracks filled with the mixture, apply the concrete to the rest of the wall. This will add a new layer of protection and keep the same color and thickness throughout.
Step 6 - Sweep Wall
As the concrete begins to dry, run a broom over the wall to give it a textured finish. Make sure the wall has an even thickness all the way across and the color is consistent.
Let the wall dry for a day before planting grass or flowers near it.