References But the strong alkalinity of cement can cause chemical burns just like a strong acid. I can do all the rest, but vague on the finishing. Use a … One method is to place steel rebar pins in as height guides down the center every 10'. Wooden floats (redwood or hardwood) are cheap but wear out quickly. Fill the damaged areas with epoxy resin to the surface level of the surrounding concrete floor. This sawing motion helps prevent tearing as you level the surface. Pour and level in stages for larger projects. What is the time element between stage 2 and 3 of the finishing process? Slightly lift the leading edge to create a smaller cutting edge of contact, lifting the tool toward you when pushing and away from you while pulling. Let the concrete cure completely three to five days. Polished concrete floors are similar to a basic concrete slab that you might find in a basement or garage, but they have a different finish. Compress the concrete only if necessary. ", "It confirmed much of what I knew, and was a great refresher. Avoid using a square float, as it will make smoothing out the concrete more difficult. So it’s smart to start with a small project like this garbage can pad. For instance, you can’t clean the surface with muriatic acid if you’re planning on using an acid-based stain, and cracks or holes may need to be repaired for some finishes, but can be left as is for others. You’ll need a magnesium float ($15 to $25), an edger ($5 to $20), a grooving tool ($10 to $30) and a steel trowel ($8 to $40). Water will appear on the surface. Try to finish this process before any "bleed water" leaks out onto the concrete's surface. If the surface is intended to drain, create the grooves in the direction liquids are supposed to flow. This will fill any holes in the concrete's surface. If you've already poured and leveled your concrete, begin the finishing process by moving a rounded bull float over the concrete to smooth out the surface. Adjust the downward pressure to create the desired amount of texture. Our latest shed is also a pavilion—and you can build it, too! Once begun, keep off foot traffic for 24 hours, light vehicles such as bicycles for 1 week, and car traffic for 2 weeks. This article received 21 testimonials and 93% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. Wear tall rubber boots if you have to wade in wet concrete. Step 1: Pouring the Concrete After thoroughly mixing the concrete pour it into the forms slightly overfilling them. Lay the concrete … If you do decide to tamp… It's not necessary for sidewalks, but I would. All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. Use long strokes, working the aggregate back until you have smooth, round edges. Remember to wash off the bristles as soon as you finish brooming concrete. Can the finish be fixed? Sign up for our newsletter! Laminated-canvas resin floats are used for the same purposes as wood but are a much more durable (and expensive) tool. ", "Needed to know about setting and drying out concrete, also sealing it. We recommend our users to update the browser. At first, hold the trowel almost flat, elevating the leading edge just enough to avoid gouging the surface. The water, plus the rubbing action, brings up a cement paste which results in a very smooth, plaster-like surface. Do I use any metal reinforcement when finishing concrete? They create a rough fuzzy surface useful for very stiff concrete or if using colored hardeners (which need to be mixed in with the rougher tool). If you want a rougher, non-slip surface, you can skip this step and do a broom finish (Photo 8). ", "It helped me visualize the finished part of the whole process, trowel or broomed. ", http://www.concretenetwork.com/concrete/concrete_tools/tampers.htm, https://www.altaviewconcrete.com/products-services/perfect-pour/, http://www.concretenetwork.com/concrete/concrete_tools/overview.htm, http://www.familyhandyman.com/masonry/pouring-concrete/how-to-finish-concrete/view-all, http://www.concretenetwork.com/concrete/slabs/controljoints.htm, http://www.concretenetwork.com/fix-color-hardeners/, http://www.finehomebuilding.com/tool-guide/departments/what-is-the-difference/concrete-hand-floats.aspx, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XKUtijyEsE, http://www.concretenetwork.com/slip-resistant-coatings/broom-finish.html, http://www.concretenetwork.com/concrete/maintaining/sealingplain.htm, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Pros buy expensive top-quality tools that will stand up to the rigors of daily use, but less expensive versions are available at home centers and hardware stores and will work fine for occasional home use. Drying and soil movement cause concrete to crack. Complete DIY projects like a pro! Apply a thin coat of concrete sealer with a roller or sprayer. If the concrete is still quite wet and forms ridges when you move on to the next step, wait longer. There are various tools used for grinding concrete. We are no longer supporting IE (Internet Explorer) as we strive to provide site experiences for browsers that support new web standards and security practices. Push or pull the screed board across the forms with a back-and-forth sawing motion. The rest you’ll have to rent or buy. Larger troweling tools (or other long-handled finishing tools) are sometimes referred to as "fresnos". Wait three days before allowing vehicle traffic. As with all the other finishing steps, the key to a successful broom finish is to wait until the concrete surface is just right. Move the bull float back and forth across the slab, perpendicular to the direction you moved the leveling board. But you really can’t practice these techniques except on real concrete. [1] X Research source Confirm your decision with a professional before tamping. While this seems like an evident and completely self-explanatory truth, many people simply do not have the right knowledge to make sure that this becomes an actuality. Repeat to remove excess concrete. (In other words, move the bull float between the two forms the 2x4 was resting on.). Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 697,673 times. Check the forms for level (¼ inch for every 12 feet is sufficient to allow for rain run-off). HOW TO FINISH CONCRETE FLOORS. Concrete hardens fast, especially on warm days. An edging tool gives the concrete a round edge. As with previous tools, lift the leading edge of the tool. Magnesium floats are very popular among professionals, since they are lightweight and excellent at opening up the concrete's pores for evaporation. You can use a concrete blade for your skill saw. Use a magnesium trowel in much the same way you used previous finishing tools. Then you pour your new concrete over them and that will form a nice attachment for you. Dip a sponge into the mixture, wring most of the … When you get the hang of it, you can move up to a larger slab. According to the Portland Cement Association, regular concrete is made up of a mixture of cement, water and aggregates. For a decorative border effect similar to what’s shown in the inset to Photo 4, run the edger around each section of slab after a final broom finish. A few methods can be used for a basic screed job using a 2x4. Cover the whole wall in a second layer of concrete that is about ½ inch thick. Whether you have cracks, chips or just a stained concrete slab, Thinset helps cover the old surface and create a new problem-free area. Reading this by step-by-step helped me with my confidence in knowing, "I'm currently in the process of starting my own little business and need info such as this to hone the skill of, "Excellent information! If you can’t reach the entire slab from the edges with a darby, rent a bull float and handle to use instead. There are 20 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 28 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. Smooth the concrete with the trowel again, making straight lines (in the opposite direction, if possible); go back and flatten any raised areas. Wait until this “bleed” water and sheen disappear entirely before edging, jointing or floating the concrete. Sweep the darby across the concrete in overlapping arcs to flatten the surface, push down lumps and fill voids. Make two passes. Set a straight board along predetermined marks for control joints. information is exactly what I need to aid me in this endeavor. You may have to bear down on the float if the concrete is starting to harden. Don't use too much water, but at the time same time, work the tool to create a smooth finish. For a really smooth finish, repeat the troweling step two or three times, letting the concrete harden a bit between each pass. Only use on horizontal surfaces and with proper safety equipment to avoid inhalation. For existing surfaces, most projects will consist of three phases: Prep work and cleaning: How this is done will vary depending on the finish to be applied. In the process, you’ll force larger aggregate down, leaving a slurry of cement and sand to fill the surface. I poured a slab in my daughter's coplin, but it's rocky, pitted, and rough. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. Finishing concrete countertops without any pin holes requires mixing up a batch of slurry from your concrete mix (cement and water). Needed a couple of tips that I didn't know. Drilling Concrete and Installing Fasteners. In Photo 7, we show how to put an even, smooth finish on the slab with a steel trowel. Last Updated: October 8, 2020 of dish soap. Wear gloves (rubber gloves are the safest bet). The simplest method is to wet the concrete's surface and cover it with plastic sheeting. Screeding levels the concrete with the top of the forms and begins the process of forcing the larger aggregate below the surface. For small projects, you can use a magnesium float instead. Another option for smoothing a rough concrete surface is to apply a skim coat. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. Knee boards prevent the wet concrete from getting knee impressions and keeps the concrete flat and smooth. Start at the bottom corner of one wall and in a single smooth motion, smear the mortar upward 2 to 3 feet from your starting point. That’s why it’s essential to prevent prolonged skin exposure to wet concrete. Clear, concise, knowledgeable, and the diagrams were an added bonus. The Secrets to Smooth Concrete Surfaces. While there are additives that can slow down or speed up the process, and special bagged mixes that set fast, in general, the speed of the process largely depends on the temperature and humidity. If you do decide to tamp, simply press the concrete down using any variety of tamping tool (hand, rolling, etc.). On cool days, you may spend a lot of time waiting for the concrete to reach the next stage. Work the edging tool back and forth, using the edge of the form as a guide. For extra large projects, use a long-handled marking tool. On each successive pass, lift the leading edge of the trowel a little more. Typically, if you are beginning with a raw concrete floor, you will need to fill in any holes or cracks with an expanding epoxy. Cover the entire surface area of the countertop with this slurry, filling in all the pin holes. Fill a bucket with water and 1 tbsp. For tips on how to give your concrete a trowel or broom finish, and how to cure your concrete, read on! You can also substitute a fiber blend, or even use both. This slurry can be about the texture of pancake batter. The concrete is ready when pressing hard only leaves a 1/4-in. The distance between joints should be no more than 24 times the thickness of the slab. Keep in mind, polishing concrete will expose the aggregate and change the look of the concrete surface. To finish the concrete, use a steel finishing trowel to achieve a smooth texture. Would be helpful to include more on the wait time between stages. If the edger is leaving a path deeper than about 1/8 in., wait for the concrete to set a little longer and apply less downward pressure. A do over may be in order. You can make the screed (Photo 1) and darby (Photo 2) from scraps of wood. To create this article, 28 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. Keep it moist for a week or longer if you can. I usually just use my hands with plastic gloves on to do this. The tool brings water to the surface of the concrete. Also, if you order air-entrained concrete delivered, don’t trowel the surface. Finish by cutting grooves at intervals in your concrete before it dries to reduce the risk of cracking in the future. 2 0. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Lift the leading edge slightly. Repeat the edging and grooving steps after floating and after troweling to refine the groove and edges. Two passes over the surface with the darby are enough. Follow screeding immediately with the darby (Photo 2). Wear rubber boots if you’ll be wading in concrete. The basic steps for finishing concrete are: After pouring the concrete let the concrete firm up enough so you can only press your fingers into the surface about 1/4 of an inch. ", "Understand the basics of concrete finishing. Keep up the good, "I've seen and helped pour, but never tried finishing. ", "Enlightened me on the basics of concrete pouring. Rinse wet concrete from your skin immediately and remove clothes that have become saturated with concrete. Don't press too deeply into the concrete; this can create impressions that are difficult to remove. MARK. How to Pour a Concrete Slab Successfully: 31 Tips. A. Dragging a broom across partially hardened concrete leaves a rough texture that gives better traction in slippery conditions (Photo 8). If you mean the initial set (you want to make it workable for longer), add a retarder into the mix. Start by running the edger around the perimeter to round and compact the corner (Photo 4). Use a medium stiff or stiffer shop broom (the wide rectangular kind). Move the magnesium float back and forth in overlapping arcs until the whole surface has been covered twice. Roll the stripper on and leave it to work as … By using our site, you agree to our. Aluminum floats are very similar to magnesium, but somewhat heavier and stronger (and so a little more difficult to handle). Messyyes, They did a bad concrete job. Troweling too deep or troweling "air-entrained" concrete mixes can release the concrete's air bubbles and prevent it from setting correctly. Try to move quickly except where noted otherwise so you can finish before the concrete dries, especially on a hot day. Durability of your floated slab, perpendicular to the next step, wait longer with plastic.. 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About a month know to shape and smooth the surface is to wet the concrete becomes too hard dry. Finish it with a small project like this garbage can pad, add a into... To handle ) slightly but keep the darby level with the darby across the surface one closer. Concrete hand float over the concrete ) I had seen it done but, `` it much! Can move up to a larger slab positive feedback and forth in overlapping arcs until whole... Boots if you 're only doing one or two projects it in 5 equal squares control/expansion. Can skip this step and do a broom finish, repeat the edging and steps! Between joints should be large enough to avoid gouging the surface surfacer to fill voids equal. Troweling step two or three times, letting the concrete and round over the concrete is ready pressing. Tool should remain level with the darby are enough edging and brings surface. The time same time applying water the area you want to make all of wikihow available free... 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