Concrete 101: Finishing

concretefinishing.pngConcrete is not a product you just set and forget. In order to achieve a nice and consistent look, concrete must be finished. Use the tips below to learn more about the proper way to finish concrete.

Float the concrete as soon as it has been struck-off and before bleed water accumulates on the surface. Floating can be done with a bull-float, Darby, or hand-float depending on the size of the job. One or two passes with a float should be enough to smooth and level the surface without sealing the concrete.

After you float the concrete, you must wait until the concrete has stopped bleeding and the water sheen has left the surface.  Concrete should never be finished until all bleed water disappears from the surface or when the sheen on the surface of the concrete has dulled.  Concrete “bleeds” as the heavier particles settle and water migrates to the surface. Any finishing operation that takes place with water on the surface will result in later problems, such as dusting, scaling, crazing, and blisters. 

The waiting period depends on many factors. Cement content, admixtures, weather, ambient and concrete temperature, and water content will all influence how long you must wait.

Edging produces a neat, rounded edge that resists chipping when the forms are removed.  

If possible, cut the edge after you’re done floating. The concrete will be soft, so the goal is to keep your edger flat and cut the edge without leaving any deep lines. This method works great in the summer when the edges dry out quickly. If you have the edge cut early, it’s much easier to reopen and clean up the second time. Do this when the edges are raised or chromed.  You can follow the same procedure for the cutting joints, which will help your end product look great.

Properly finishing concrete will create an attractive end result. Ozinga has been helping contractors and homeowners with their concrete projects for years. If you are interested in your own project, let our concrete specialists help. 

Contact a Concrete Specialist