How to finish concrete

How to finish concrete

Introduction

Are you considering starting a concrete project but unsure if you need help finishing it? Or you’ve tried it before but want to expand your knowledge and get more creative with your finishing techniques.

No matter your situation, I’m here to help you with this subject. You’ll gain a deeper understanding and develop your skills by following the information I provide.

So, sit back, relax, and get ready to learn everything you need to know about concrete finishing techniques.

Finishing concrete

While it is one of the least expensive ways to lay a floor, walkway, or patio, concrete requires more than simply pouring and walking away. You have never paid attention to the construction site worker who was employed finishing concrete.

You’re not the only one, as those who are not involved with the process or have never done it don’t get it most of the time. Suppose you’re interested in more complex textured finishes. In that case, this article will shine a little light on how to finish concrete correctly.

Concrete finish is essential in making your slab or floor look as good as you want it to for as long as you want it to. Like most everything in your home, concrete looks better once you apply your personal touches.

Screeding

Suppose you want to ensure that the concrete surface is flat and even; you need to use a screeder. A screener is a tool that is used to level the concrete surface. It is essentially a 2×4 that is slightly longer than the width of the concrete that you are working on. 

To use a screeder, first, place it on top of the concrete forms. Then, move it back and forth in a sawing motion. This will help to flatten the concrete and remove any unevenness. If there are any low areas, you can use the screeder to fill them up. 

Keep repeating the screeding process until the concrete surface is entirely level. This will ensure that your concrete surface is smooth and even, without any bumps or dips.

Floating

Once you have completed screeding and leveling the concrete, it is time to use a bull float to bring the cream to the surface and force the aggregate under. The bull float should be moved in a direction that is perpendicular to the direction of the concrete pour.

This will help ensure that the cream is evenly spread throughout the concrete.

When you are pushing the bull float forward, from your point of view, you should raise the leading edge of the float slightly. Similarly, it would help if you lifted the back edge when pulling the bull float back.

This will help the cream to come up smoothly and quickly, ensuring that it is evenly distributed across the surface of the concrete.

Once you have completed this process, you may notice the concrete releasing some water onto its surface. This is perfectly normal, and you should wait until the water disappears before moving on to the next step.

The next step involves using a hand-held magnesium float to smooth the surface of the concrete further. You should begin at the start of the poured concrete and use an arc-like sweeping motion.

As you work, you should always lift the leading edge of the magnesium float a little bit. This will help ensure the surface is as smooth and even as possible.

Finishing corners

To finish the corners of the poured concrete, it is recommended to use a professional edging tool. This will help you achieve a clean and neat look.

Start by working on 1-2 feet of the sidewalk edge at a time, and repeat the same process down the length of the edge. It’s essential to ensure that the edging depth is consistent throughout the size of the sidewalk.

Take your time and work carefully to achieve the best results.

Suppose you notice any ridges on the edge of the sidewalk. In that case, smoothing them out is essential to avoid tripping hazards. To do this, use a magnesium float.

This tool is designed to help you achieve a smooth and even finish, and it’s an essential part of the concrete finishing process.

Control joints

Cutting control joints every 5 feet or so is essential to ensure that your concrete pour remains structurally sound. This will help prevent cracking and splitting caused by temperature fluctuations and shrinkage. 

To determine the exact spacing of the control joints, you need to measure the entire length of the pour and divide it into equal parts. This will ensure the joints are spaced appropriately and evenly throughout the pour. 

When cutting the joints, it’s best to use a groover. A groover is a tool with a blade that creates a groove in the concrete. To ensure the grooves are straight, use a 2×4 as a guide for the groover on the first pass. 

It’s important to note that one pass with the groover may need to create a deeper groove for a proper joint. You should go over the groove a few more times to achieve the desired depth and width of the joint. 

Following these steps ensures that your concrete pour will remain solid and durable for years.

Texture

After finishing the concrete surface, you must give it an anti-slip texture to prevent slips and falls. To achieve this, you’ll need a stiff-brushed, long-handled broom. Begin by resting the broom on the form farthest from you and dragging it towards yourself in a straight line.

Make sure you draw it off the closest form.

The texture of the surface should be just right. If the concrete starts to ball or the texture is not fine enough, it is still too wet. Don’t worry, though. You can use a magnesium float to smooth it out and repeat the process 15 minutes later. 

By following these steps, you can ensure that your concrete surface has a perfect anti-slip texture, making it safer for everyone who walks on it.

Conclusion

After finishing all the hard work, the last step in the concrete finishing process is to allow it to dry and cure. At this stage, it is essential to wait until the concrete has reached a level of firmness such that your fingerprint does not leave an impression when you press it.

This step is crucial as it ensures the concrete is solid and durable.

Once the concrete reaches the desired hardness level, cover it with a plastic sheet. This helps to keep the moisture in and enables the concrete to cure at the right pace. In just a few days, you will have beautiful, flake-resistant, durable, and visually appealing flooring.

While concrete finishing is a relatively straightforward process, the final finish depends on the skill and experience of the person doing the job. Each step of the process requires careful attention to detail, and the outcome can vary significantly based on the level of expertise of the person carrying out the work.