The aim of this work is to develop a heat transfer mathematical model based on the finite difference method in order to simulate temperature fields in the laser surface remelting process. Convective heat transfer in the remelted pool is taken into account by using the effective thermal conductivity approach. Experiments of laser surface remelting of AISI 304 austenitic stainless steel samples were carried out in the present investigation, and numerical simulations were applied for the CO2 laser machine operating parameters. The work also encompasses the analysis of microstructural and microhardness variations throughout the resulting treated and unmolten zones. This study permits to conclude that numerical simulation is a useful tool in setting the laser operating parameters, enabling pre-programming of the extent of the treated area.