How to finish concrete

How to finish concrete

Are you planning on pouring some concrete, but what’s putting you off is that you don’t know how to finish it? Or maybe you’ve seen a bit, but want to deepen your understanding.

No matter what’s the reason, I can help you to understand this subject a little bit better. After browsing through this you’ll know a lot more than the average person would I think.

So grab a cup of coffee and browse forward.

Finishing concrete

While it is one of the least expensive ways to lay a floor, walkway, or patio, concrete requires more than just simply pouring and walking away. Chances are 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 really get it most of the time. If you’re interested in more complex textured finishes, this article will shine a little light on how to finish concrete the right way.

Concrete finish is an essential step 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 own personal touches to it.


If you simply pour the concrete and walk away, you will most likely end up with a very uneven surface. To flatten it out, you will need what is called a screeder.

This is essentially nothing more than a 2×4 that is a foot longer than the width of the concrete you are flattening. Lay the screeder down on the forms and saw it back and forth to even out the concrete. If any areas have less concrete, fill them and repeat the screeding process.


Once the screeding and leveling are completed, pull out the bull float to begin the process that will bring the cream in the cement to the surface and force the aggregate under. Work the floater in a direction perpendicular to the direction you seeded the concrete.

Also, as you push the floater forward (from your point of view), raise the leading edge the tiniest bit. Then, as you pull it in, lift the back edge. This will help draw the cream up smoothly and quickly.

After this process is complete, the concrete may bleed a little water onto its surface. That is okay; simply wait until the bleed water disappears before you begin using a hand-held magnesium float to further smooth out the surface.

Start at the beginning of the poured concrete and use an arc-like sweeping motion, always lifting the leading edge of the magnesium float a very little bit.

Finishing corners

Now you can finish the corners of the poured concrete. Use a professional edging tool to complete this step, working in 1-2 feet increments. Continue down the length of the sidewalk’s edge and do the other side, as well. If the process leaves any ridges, smooth with the magnesium float.

Control joints

Next, you must cut the control joints every 5 feet or so. Figure out the exact spacing of the joints by measuring the entire length of the pour and then dividing it into fairly equal parts.

Use a 2×4 to guide the groover in a straight line for the first pass. You may have to go over the groove a couple more times to get a definite joint.


Lastly, you must give your concrete its characteristic anti-slip texture. To do this, simply rest a stiff-brushed long-handled broom on the form farthest from you and drag toward yourself, drawing it all the way off the closest form.

If the concrete begins to ball or if the texture is just not fine enough, the concrete is still too wet. Use a magnesium float to smooth it out and repeat the process 15 minutes later.


After all this work, the last step is to simply let the concrete dry and cure. Wait until your fingerprint does not make an impression, then cover with a plastic sheet to help the concrete cure. In just a couple of days, you will have strong and flake-resistant flooring that will look amazing.

Concrete finishing is a simple job, but the process has a few steps and the final finish depends on how good the one doing the job is on each of these steps. There are differences between people who do these.

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