Broom finish, flagstone, color, texture, swirling, and more. All finishes to newly poured concrete. And all finishes anyone can do themselves. Any one of those finishes gives your patio or sidewalk something besides the same old look. The questions are, what can you do and how will you get it done? However before we get that far, I am assuming you understand how to prepare, form, mix and pour the concrete. If not, head to link resource box for information that may assist you. And if you do, read on.
Let’s focus on Broom Finishing. It’s quite simple to do. Once the concrete surface is sufficiently set drag a smooth broom or brush lightly throughout the concrete. For even less texture wait before the surface has further hardened. With concrete the timing is important. If your initial brooming left too heavy a finish you will have to retrowel the surface to remove all traces of the first finish, wait a few (or more) minutes and rebroom. If you prefer the appearance of the broom finish, but think something extra in the brooming would look better. Try this. As you drag the broom across the surface of your concrete pad move it back and forth sideways only a little. A maximum of 2 – 3 inches in each direction. Doing that may put what is know as a wavy finish to your concrete sidewalk or patio.
Another way to provide your sidewalk or patio a different appearance is by using a layer or swirling finish. Each is performed with a wood hand float as the concrete continues to be fairly wet (again trial and error. The swirling look is performed by randomly moving the wood float across the surface in no apparent pattern. It will rough up the surface and give it a notably coarse look concrete installation company. The shell finish is performed in the same fashion, but, instead of the swirling random strokes, a layer pattern is applied. For the shell finish you support the wood float on the surface of the concrete and move the the surface of the float from side to side while keeping the underside of the float in one single place. Then move the float right alongside your first shell and do another (again trial and error. Keep this up before the entire surface has been covered with your shell pattern. You almost certainly will have to make several attempts as of this before you are pleased with how it looks. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t look’right’at first. Just practice a few strokes and it should come to you.
Color is undoubtedly the quickest and easiest thing you can do to provide your concrete a different look. You will find three methods to color your concrete. The very first is to put color in the concrete mix before it is poured to the forms. The second way is to apply it to the surface of the concrete although it continues to be wet. And the 3rd is staining.
You can purchase color and stains for concrete at just about any lumberyard and do-it-yourself store. None of the three color methods are difficult to do. With the first you place the colour in the concrete mix before it is poured in your forms. In this instance just follow the directions given with the color. In the next method you spread the colour uniformly across the surface of your concrete although it continues to be wet and then use the float to spread it around and to the concrete. Then finish the concrete as usual. Staining is the final color method. You will find two kinds of stain. Regular and semi-transparent and both are applied to new concrete after it has cured. Regular stain is like paint. It goes on and covers completely. Semi-transparent stain goes on the same way (use a paintbrush, a spray can, a roller, I saw one finished with a mop and it looked pretty good), but there is a difference. It can be applied in layers. Since the stain is semi-transparent the existing surface of your concrete sidewalk or patio will show through the first few layers of stain. The more times you apply the stain to the surface the less the initial concrete coloration below will show up. In this case it’s all a matter of preference.
A flagstone pattern finish is really a little trickier than the others. Here you float as usual and then make the flagstone as the concrete continues to be workable. Get a bit of 1/2 or 3/4″ inch diameter copper pipe and bend it into an S shape. Retain one end of the pipe and press the other to the concrete. Then just pull it throughout the surface. Everything you are wanting to complete is make a falgstone pattern with random geometric shapes on the surface of the concrete. After you have finished with making the flagstone you should refloat the concrete. The ultimate step listed here is whether you’ll need a boom finish on the surface of the flagstone or perhaps a smooth one. For a broom finish you follow the previous listed instructions.
Finally there are many other effects you can give concrete. A leaf finish is unquestionably distinctive. After floating and troweling just press some leaves into the surface immediately after troweling. They must be embedded completely, but not covered. Leave them in place before the concrete is placed and then remove them. Other items could be pressed into concrete for patterns too. You can make round impressions in the surface by utilizing cans. Anything you believe might will leave an attractive mark on the concrete is worth considering. Give it a try.
One finish I didn’t discuss is exposed aggregate. I think it will be too problematic for a person with limited or no previous experience working together with concrete.