It goes without saying that there is much more to concrete finishing than just pouring it into a form and watching it harden. Although not to minimize the very foundation of concrete finishing, it is much more involved than most people realize. Here is what everyone needs to know about all that is involved in concrete finishing, which is to shape and smooth the freshly poured concrete into a long-lasting and an attractive concrete finishing surface to fit your everyday needs. To start with, concrete needs to be leveled as it is poured with a screed board, which is a straight 2x4 plank about 1-ft longer than the width of the sidewalk to begin the concrete finishing. This is to ensure proper coverage. Begin to level out the concrete as soon as the pouring begins until it is complete. Allow the screed board (another tool in the concrete finishing process) to rest on the form boards while using a sawing motion to pull the board toward the end of the pour. Using this method of concrete finishing helps fill the lower areas with fresh concrete making it necessary for repeated screening over the entire area.
Use a bull float to force down aggregate and raise cream (gravel-free concrete) near the surface for finishing as the concrete finishing process continues. Work in the opposite direction of screening, briskly push the bull float away from you, slightly lifting the leading edge, then pull it back while lifting the back edge in concrete finishing. After the bleed water has disappeared, it is important in concrete finishing to use a hand float on the surface using a magnesium float, starting from the beginning of the pour using a sweeping motion lifting the leading edge of the float slightly. This method of concrete finishing helps prevent any uneven spots or markings in the finishing process.
Rounding over the outside corners with an edging tool is next in the concrete finishing process. You will want to use a back-and-forth motion within a 1-to-2 ft. area, keeping the leading edge raised on each pass as work your way down the edge. Concrete finishing requires smoothing all ridges with a mag float.
Concrete finishing control joints are used every 5-to-6 ft. with a groover. This concrete finishing method help prevent cracking later on. Cuts need to be planned by dividing all the segments about the same length by measuring the length of the pour evenly for a smooth concrete finishing. Use a straight board for the first pass holding it perpendicular on the form boards for guiding the groover.
Next, by using a soft bristle push broom, gently rest it on the far side of the walk and slowly pull it toward you until it is off the edge of the form. Work your way down the end of the sidewalk overlapping previous sweeps no more than a few inches. Should the concrete start to clump up or you feel the texture is too rough means the concrete is too wet to use a broom. Use the mag float to smooth out any remaining marks. To insure a strong sidewalk that won't crack, spall, or scale cover the sidewalk with a plastic covering at the point where your fingertips can no longer leaves an impression. All these concrete finishing procedures are very important to insure a long lasting and sturdy surface.