5 Essential Tips for Finishing Concrete

If you’re working with concrete, don’t assume you are done after pouring it. In order to get a smooth and polished-looking surface on your concrete structure, you have to add a few finishing touches to it. These finishing touches have to be done before the concrete dries and hardens. Hence, be prepared to move fast after pouring it.

If you’ve never attempted concrete finishing before, don’t worry. The following excellent tips we’ve compiled should keep you from making the typical amateur mistakes:

Only Tamp the Concrete if Necessary

Typically, you’d compress the concrete with a tamping tool just after pouring it. However, most modern concrete mixes don’t require you to do so. In fact, compressing them could result in the slab being weakened.

If you’re not entirely sure whether to tamp or not, we highly recommend that you get in touch with a trusted local concreter before you begin to pour. In fact, call the team today.

Using a Screed

A screed is used to remove excess concrete so that the surface is perfectly level throughout. Keep the following tips in mind when you’re levelling the concrete:

  • The screed should be longer than the form in which the concrete is poured into. It extend at least an inch on either side.
  • Make sure to use a sawing motion as you move down the length of the slab. This prevents any torn spots.
  • If you’re handling a large project, it’s best to do the levelling in phases.
  • Use a bull-float after you’re done with the screed. This tool helps to flatten smaller ridges that can’t be evened out with a screed and really helps produce a ‘creamy’ smooth consistency.
  • Don’t apply too much pressure. You’ll end up creating impressions on the concrete.

Don’t use a Bull-Float on the Edges

While a bull-float is great at smoothing out the smaller ripples, it’s less accurate in the edges, where the concrete meets the forms. Instead, you’ll need to use an edging tool if you really want to smooth out those areas. Not only will this specialized tool improve the appearance of the edges, but it will also make them more durable.

Create Control Joints

Concrete inevitably cracks as it hardens. However, there’s a simple technique to prevent the cracking from negatively impacting the aesthetic and the durability of the slab. This involves creating small grooves called control joints into the concrete, which cut into a quarter of the total depth of the slab. You can use a special grooving tool for this purpose.

Smooth it Once More

Some people skip this step but you shouldn’t. If you want your slab to be as smooth as it can possibly be, wait for the concrete to partially dry and smooth it once more with a hand float. Different types of hand floats will give the surface a different effect. For instance, floats made out of magnesium will help open up the concrete’s pores for easier evaporation while wooden floats give you a bit of a fuzzy consistency (if that is what you wish for).

And there you have it –five essential tips to make the concrete finishing process more successful.

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