Experimental procedures and current state-of-the-art are presented for laser surface treating methods such as alloying, cladding, grain refining, and transformation hardening using a cw CO2 laser. Microstructural and x-ray analyses of the treated surfaces indicate that a laser beam can locally enhance surface properties. Laser alloying offers the possibility to selectively modify a low cost workpiece surface so that it has the desired high quality surface properties characteristic of high performance alloys. Laser cladding offers feasibility to apply high melting cladding alloys on low melting workpieces, to reduce the amount of dilution of cladding alloy with the workpieces, and the potential to apply dense ceramic claddings to metallic workpieces. Laser grain refining offers potential to either minimize or eliminate surface defects such as inclusions, intermetallic compounds, and pores, and to provide a refined grain structure. Laser transformation hardening provides the treated workpieces with a hard martensitic surface that has compressive stresses for enhanced fatigue life; in addition, reduction in wear rate of treated surfaces is achieved. This experimental study indicates that the use of lasers for surface treatment has several limitations. Further studies will provide better understanding for maximum utilization of laser surface treating processes.