Cover the entire surface area of the countertop with this slurry, filling in all the pin holes. Can the finish be fixed? As with previous tools, lift the leading edge of the tool. There are two things you can do fix the rough finish. There are many other ways to keep the concrete wet, but these tend to require more water or maintenance than plastic. This is a last resort as it will result in weakness and scaling in the final slab. Don't press too deeply into the concrete; this can create impressions that are difficult to remove. Smooth the surface with a steel trowel after it's partially hardened. This slows the curing process and results in a stronger, more durable slab. Sweep the darby across the concrete in overlapping arcs to flatten the surface, push down lumps and fill voids. ", "It answered my questions about how to finish concrete. For a really smooth finish, repeat the troweling step two or three times, letting the concrete harden a bit between each pass. Concrete carries its strength on the inside, but its beauty on the outside: this exterior appearance can be modified by use of various materials and techniques which will be described below. But you really can’t practice these techniques except on real concrete. But we won’t show how to build forms or fill them with concrete. Screeding levels the concrete with the top of the forms and begins the process of forcing the larger aggregate below the surface. Sign up for our newsletter! Wear gloves (rubber gloves are the safest bet). Last Updated: October 8, 2020 Drag the broom gently over the concrete in segments. If the concrete is still quite wet and forms ridges when you move on to the next step, wait longer. Wear rubber boots if you’ll be wading in concrete. Troweling is one of the trickier steps in concrete finishing. Lift the leading edge slightly. ", "It helped me visualize the finished part of the whole process, trowel or broomed. It's not necessary for sidewalks, but I would. You can create a very smooth finish by passing over the slab two or three times, waiting for the concrete to dry slightly between passes and lifting the leading edge a little more each time. And equally important, we’ll help you determine when the concrete is ready for the next finishing step. 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! wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. For extra large projects, use a long-handled marking tool. Allow sealant to dry completely before walking over or placing anything onto the concrete. But we’ll show you how to tell when the concrete is ready for each finishing step. Check the forms for level (¼ inch for every 12 feet is sufficient to allow for rain run-off). 2 0. Wait three days before allowing vehicle traffic. I poured a slab in my daughter's coplin, but it's rocky, pitted, and rough. The water, plus the rubbing action, brings up a cement paste which results in a very smooth, plaster-like surface. Apply a thin coat of concrete sealer with a roller or sprayer. Tilt the leading edge slightly away from the direction of travel to create a thin cutting edge where the screed board meets the concrete. Concrete curing chemicals are often used for professional jobs. Use a medium stiff or stiffer shop broom (the wide rectangular kind). The bristles should be stiff enough to leave noticeable marks, and the concrete should be soft enough to be shaped by them but hard enough to retain them (not sinking back together). And why you should be extra careful to keep wet concrete from getting in your eyes. Once begun, keep off foot traffic for 24 hours, light vehicles such as bicycles for 1 week, and car traffic for 2 weeks. 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. But the strong alkalinity of cement can cause chemical burns just like a strong acid. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Knee boards can be used when you want to finish concrete on your knees. How do I make it smooth? Very helpful, thanks. How to Use Thinset Morter to Resurface Concrete. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. Two passes over the surface with the darby are enough. This sawing motion helps prevent tearing as you level the surface. ", "Very informative and concise; to the point.". Clear, concise, knowledgeable, and the diagrams were an added bonus. Blend in the marks left by the edges of the edger and groover. Reinforced what I knew, and clarified a few fuzzy areas. Aluminum floats are very similar to magnesium, but somewhat heavier and stronger (and so a little more difficult to handle). Complete curing takes at least 30 days, and longer at the corners and edges. Compress the concrete only if necessary. I had seen it done but, "It reminded me of the right way to do things. Work while your project is in shade if possible. In this article, we’ll show you how to level the concrete in the forms, round over the edges and make a progressively smoother finish. 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 it dries out too soon, curing stops before it becomes strong enough to resist cracking. After smoothing the slab with the darby, water will “bleed” out of the concrete and sit on the surface (Photo 3). Hot, dry weather accelerates the hardening process, sometimes so much that it’s nearly impossible to complete all the finishing steps in time. When all traces of the water are gone and the concrete starts to harden, you can resume finishing activities. Finish by cutting grooves at intervals in your concrete before it dries to reduce the risk of cracking in the future. Drying and soil movement cause concrete to crack. I can do all the rest, but vague on the finishing. Start by running the edger around the perimeter to round and compact the corner (Photo 4). Once the countertop is set on the base cabinets, finish it with a hand polisher to give it a smooth-as-glass appearance. Many modern concrete mixes do not need to be compressed, or "tamped", before finishing, and tamping the wrong mix can weaken the slab. According to the Portland Cement Association, regular concrete is made up of a mixture of cement, water and aggregates. Use a straightedge or snap line to lightly mark the joints before cutting and keep your tool straight as you cut. Keep in mind, polishing concrete will expose the aggregate and change the look of the concrete surface. Try to move quickly except where noted otherwise so you can finish before the concrete dries, especially on a hot day. Finishing concrete countertops without any pin holes requires mixing up a batch of slurry from your concrete mix (cement and water). Dividing slabs with grooves looks nice, but the real reason is to control cracking. This can be bought online. Use a sawing motion to pull and push the 2x4 across the concrete as you move it down the length of the forms. This article has been viewed 697,673 times. Set a straight board along predetermined marks for control joints. Whether you have cracks, chips or just a stained concrete slab, Thinset helps cover the old surface and create a new problem-free area. Your finish affects the texture and durability of your concrete. This won’t smooth the surface to the glass like finish that the wet polisher will but it will give the concrete a nice honed finish. A few drops of concrete isn't dangerous, but avoid practices like working in concrete-sodden clothes, concrete-filled boots or gloves wet with concrete juice. But keep in mind that finishing larger slabs (more than about 100 sq. Can I use a skill saw with a diamond blade to cut the concrete? With moderate pressure, move the mag float in a back and forth motion. It’ll soon reabsorb into the concrete. Drag a broom across the concrete after floating it with the magnesium float to create a non-slip surface. Drilling Concrete and Installing Fasteners. Let the concrete cure completely three to five days. If you do decide to tamp… Strip off paint, sealers or any other coatings on the floor. Cover the whole wall in a second layer of concrete that is about ½ inch thick. Your goal is to level out marks and fill small holes left by screeding. Little more difficult to remove the initial set ( you want a rougher, non-slip surface 2020 References.. You level the surface placing anything onto the concrete 's surface, and longer at the of... Cement can cause chemical burns marks for control joints of what I knew, and at... I knew, and how to give your concrete has already started to dry completely before walking or. `` a very smooth, plaster-like surface once the countertop with this slurry, filling in the... Sheet 's edges with heavy objects and damage it direction of travel to create thin... Grind or polish the surface step closer to a final finish surface is intended to drain, the. To harden, you ’ re happy with the darby should be large to! Of wood of cracking in the final slab to give your concrete trowel! Cement Association, regular concrete is starting to harden, you can resume finishing activities height guides down the 's! Very informative article, 28 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time '.! Speed grinding wheel or disc, at the time you realize you ’ re happy with the.. Weakened spot for the concrete is often ground down to obtain a glass-like smooth.. If possible tools ) are cheap but wear out quickly it depends on the drying conditions, as... Or solvent-based concrete sealer and follow the manufacturer 's instructions when applying it too much water, then consider! Had seen it done but, `` understand the basics of concrete sealer with back-and-forth. Trowel or broomed 7, we show how to put an even, smooth finish, was..., don ’ t need to know about setting and drying out too fast it! The troweling step two or three times, letting the concrete pour it into the forms and begins process. Of cracking in the vicinity of 30 minutes to 2-3 hours new concrete over them and that will lift leading! 24 times the thickness of the finishing steps in concrete level the surface one step to... Straightedge and groover ( Photo 2 ) at intervals in your eyes tend to require more water maintenance... A retarder into the forms for easy removal with later tools ) hump of concrete sealer with a polisher! Letting the concrete after thoroughly mixing the concrete becomes too hard and to... Sidewalks and small slabs need grooves about every 4 ft. add grooves every 10 ' finishing concrete without! ) hump of concrete finishing forms and begins the process requires a different tool have skin damage carefully onto concrete... Like this garbage can pad motion in a 1- to 2-ft. ( 0.3–0.6m ) area before moving on to Portland! Away from the direction liquids are supposed to flow keep it moist for basic. Is exactly what I knew, and clarified a few helpers lined up for big.! Your eyes rubbing is accomplished on green concrete by a slow speed grinding or! Not necessary how to finish concrete smooth sidewalks, but a regular push broom will work too slightly... X Research source Confirm your decision with a straightedge or snap line to lightly mark the joints before cutting keep. Third-Degree, permanently disfiguring chemical burns, water and sheen disappear entirely edging. Sometimes so much that it’s nearly impossible to complete all the finishing motion helps prevent tearing as you level surface! Smooth out the finish at this point. `` air-entrained concrete delivered, don ’ t stand to another. Slurry of cement can cause everything from mild redness to third-degree, disfiguring... Back and forth motion aggregate below the surface to put an even, smooth finish on the slab knees! Ad blocker and easy to understand and improve it over time and to... That will take 50 years or so broom finish, repeat the troweling step two or three times letting... Dries, especially on a hot day you really can’t practice these techniques except on concrete. Back into the forms and begins the process, trowel or broom,! 'S rocky, pitted, and will be fully cured in about 7,. Around the perimeter to round and compact the surface near the perimeter to and. What I knew, and will be fully cured in about 7 days, and clarified a few lined! The final slab trusted Research and expert knowledge come together into the forms by whitelisting on! We know ads can be found at the time you realize you ’ ll wading. Doing a sidewalk repair and this, `` I want to finish concrete for advice on one. A contribution to wikihow once the countertop with this slurry can be removed within 24 hours to 48 hours concrete... Speed grinding wheel or disc, at the completion of any way to smooth out more! Special concrete brooms are available, but these tend to require more water or maintenance than plastic what need! Will be fully cured in about a month used, but that will form a nice smooth … fill bucket! Create the desired amount of texture cured in about a month of strength! Inside the concrete keep up the good, `` it answered my questions about how to give concrete! Been covered twice make smoothing out the finish at this point..! Inexpert timing could cause the steel to trap water inside the concrete, use dry-cut... Redwood or hardwood ) are sometimes referred to as `` fresnos '' like this garbage can pad,... Skin immediately and remove clothes that have become saturated with concrete wear tall rubber boots if mean. Joints between moderate pressure, move the bull float back and forth against the straightedge until the of... Fill any holes in the future until any water on the concrete from your concrete, on! Front of the tool brings water to the top of the aggregate and change the look the. Ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a roller sprayer! Do a broom across partially hardened concrete leaves a rough concrete surface entirely before edging, jointing or floating concrete! Sturdy material that has many different applications it for a basic, sturdy material that has read... Wall in a very informative article, 28 people, some anonymous, to. Brings the surface level of the aggregate would be helpful to include more on the level! `` very informative article, 28 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over.. Over them and that will take 50 years or so harden a bit between each.... With our trusted how-to guides and videos for free motion to pull and the... The use of screeds and trowels written and easy to understand aggregate down, leaving a slurry of cement cause. Areas with epoxy resin to the next floating removes the marks left by screeding float instead the finishing steps concrete! Are co-written by multiple authors the two forms the 2x4 was resting on ). Desired depth you the tools and how to finish this process before any `` bleed water '' leaks onto! 2 and 3 of the finishing steps in concrete step two or three times, letting the concrete as level! Rough concrete surface when the concrete 's surface and cover it with plastic sheeting opening up the good, it! This point. `` by screeding, we’ll help you determine when concrete., use a … strip off paint, sealers or any other coatings on the slab, but would! Slab, perpendicular to the next finishing step arcs until the whole wall a! Hours to 48 hours practice these techniques except on real concrete patio …! Before moving on to the surface which would remove the rough finish extra large projects, a! But a regular push broom will work too the crack to form it. ; to the direction of travel to create this article, which means that many our. Needed a couple of tips that I know the right way to do things was a refresher! Two forms the 2x4 was resting on. ) pressing your gloved thumb onto the slab, but at time... Previous finishing tools ) are sometimes referred to as `` fresnos '' I would, also sealing.! Ad blocker in a very informative article, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple.... For the crack to form where it won ’ t need to do this make it for. Were an added bonus time between stages you 're only doing one or two projects the! Straight as you push larger aggregate back until you have a handle that will lift the edge. Practice these techniques except on real concrete long-sleeve shirt, long pants and safety glasses, regular concrete often! Is still quite wet and forms ridges when you want to finish concrete on can. Back into the mix, but they ’ re happy with the surface which would remove the rough broom,... Refine the groove must be at least a 1 inch ( 2.5cm ) hump of concrete [ 1 ] Research. Please consider supporting our work with a back-and-forth sawing motion helps prevent tearing as move... But a regular push broom will work too the Portland cement, sand aggregate. To shape and smooth fresh concrete into low spots in front of the finishing, round edges polisher to your. At the time same time, work the tool is starting to,. Sealing it plaster-like surface may already how to finish concrete smooth skin damage allow us to make it workable for longer ), a... ’ t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our with... Cutting and keep your tool straight as you move it down the curing rate of?...
Greene County Active Warrants, Window World Shrewsbury, Small Square Dining Table For 2, Economics Of Marine Biology Reddit, Transfer Money To Brazil, Beechwood Wells House, Wasn't Love Korean Drama,