Guide to finishing concrete
The concrete finishing process is essential in creating a hard-wearing, smooth surface. In this guide we’re going to show you how to get it right.
Timing is critical when finishing concrete and unless you pay close attention to the condition of the concrete, incorrect finishing techniques can result in a weak, unsightly slab.
Concrete finishing tools
It’s essential to have the right tools for concrete finishing:
- Straight board.
- Square shovel.
- Edging device.
- Bull float.
- Steel trowel.
- Concrete groover.
The concrete finishing process
Following these steps will help to ensure your concrete gets a professional finish:
- Spread the wet concrete into place with the square shovel, using a push-pull technique.
- Screed the concrete with the straight board or a special screed tool to remove excess concrete.
- Level ridges with the bull float.
- Use the edging tool to create neat rounded edges along the slab.
- Groove in joints to avoid cracks.
- Trowel the surface if you want a dense, hard surface. Skip this step if you plan to add a decorative finish.
Sealing the concrete
After the finishing process, allow the concrete to cure (dry) to full strength and then apply a sealant to extend the lifespan of the slab and avoid staining.
Curing can take around 28 days, although the concrete should be able to take light foot traffic three or four days after placement, and vehicle traffic after five days to a week.