The key to concrete finishing is the right tools, the right timing, and the proper technique.
Here is the step-by-step process the professionals use.
Tools Needed to finish a standard square patio with a broom finish:
Make an edge on the perimeter of your patio. To do this, lay the Edger flat on the concrete and parallel to the form. Raise the end of the edger (the end that faces the direction you are moving) slightly and slowly move it down the side of the form.
You have a choice at this point. You can either wait until the concrete is dry and use a concrete saw to install control joints and decorative cuts in the concrete, or you can use a wet cutter and put in the control joints right now. The benefit of doing it now, is that you will be done with the cutting process and you will not need to obtain a concrete saw to finish it. The downside of doing it now is that you may be rushed to finish all of the concrete on time before it dries. So generally, the smaller the patio the easier it is to do wet cuts. Click here if you choose to do wet cuts now. If you choose to do dry cuts, go on to step 3.
Make sure the concrete is hard enough to support your weight. If so, it is time to smooth the surface out with the magnesium float. More specifically, you will smooth out bow float lines and seal the surface from exposed rocks. Simply kneel on the knee boards which are placed on the concrete. The concrete should not give way more than 1 inch under your weight. Simply run the magnesium float back and forth over the concrete in a fan-shaped motion. In this patio, we installed a wet cut border and are now smoothing out the surface with a magnesium float:
Brooming - This is something that needs to be done on exterior projects to minimize people slipping on your patio. It just "roughens up" the top surface a little bit. Make sure that the concrete is fairly stiff so that it does not roughen up too much, unless that is your preference.
To broom, lightly drag your finish broom across the surface.
If you skipped step 2 and still need to make dry cuts, do this the day after you have finished the concrete.
The next steps are concrete curing and concrete sealing.
Sound too complicated? If so, and you live in the Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs area, request a quote on your project here.