Broom finish, flagstone, color, texture, swirling, and more. All finishes to newly poured concrete. And all finishes everyone can do themselves. Any some of those finishes gives your patio or sidewalk something besides the same kind of look. The questions are, what can you do and how do you take action? However before we get that far, I am assuming you understand how to prepare, form, mix and pour the concrete. If not, go to link resource box for information that may assist you. And should you choose, read on.
Let’s start with Broom Finishing. It’s not too difficult to do. Once the concrete surface is sufficiently set drag a soft broom or brush lightly throughout the concrete. For only less texture wait before surface has further hardened. With concrete the timing is important. If your initial brooming left overweight a finish you will need to retrowel the top to get rid of all traces of the very first finish, wait a couple of (or more) minutes and rebroom building front cleaning. If you prefer the design of the broom finish, but think something extra in the brooming would look better. Try this. As you drag the broom across the top of one’s concrete pad move it back and forth sideways merely a little. No more than 2 – 3 inches in each direction. Doing that may put what’s know as a wavy finish to your concrete sidewalk or patio.
Another way to give your sidewalk or patio an alternative appearance is by using a layer or swirling finish. Each is done with a wood hand float as the concrete is still fairly wet (again trial and error. The swirling look is done by randomly moving the wood float across the top in no apparent pattern. It will rough up the top and give it a somewhat coarse look. The shell finish is done in a similar fashion, but, as opposed to 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 top of float from sideways while keeping the bottom of the float in one single place. Then move the float right next to your first shell and do another (again trial and error. Keep this up before entire surface has been covered together with your shell pattern. You almost certainly will need to make several attempts as of this before you are satisfied with how it looks. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t look’right’at first. Just practice a couple of strokes and it can come to you.
Color is without doubt the quickest and easiest thing you can do to give your concrete an alternative look. There are three ways to color your concrete. The first is to put color in the concrete mix before it’s poured into the forms. The 2nd way is to apply it to the top of the concrete whilst it is still wet. And the third is staining.
You can get color and stains for concrete at just about any lumberyard and home improvement store. None of the three color methods are difficult to do. With the very first you place the colour in the concrete mix before it’s poured in your forms. In this case just follow the directions given with the color. In the next method you spread the colour uniformly across the top of one’s concrete whilst it is still wet and then use the float to spread it around and into the concrete. Then finish the concrete as usual. Staining is the past color method. There are two kinds of stain. Regular and semi-transparent and both are applied to new concrete after it’s cured. Regular stain is similar to paint. It continues and covers completely. Semi-transparent stain goes on a single 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 may be applied in layers. Considering that the stain is semi-transparent the prevailing surface of one’s concrete sidewalk or patio will show through the very first few layers of stain. The more times you apply the stain to the top the less the first concrete coloration below will show up. In this situation it’s all a matter of preference.
A flagstone pattern finish is a little trickier compared to others. Here you float as usual and then make the flagstone as the concrete is still workable. Get an item of 1/2 or 3/4″ inch diameter copper pipe and bend it into an S shape. Keep one end of the pipe and press one other into the concrete. Then just pull it throughout the surface. Everything you are wanting to do is create 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 last step here is whether you will want boom finish on the top of flagstone or even a smooth one. For a broom finish you follow the last listed instructions.
Finally there are many other effects you are able to give concrete. A leaf finish is unquestionably distinctive. After floating and troweling just press some leaves into the top right after troweling. They should be embedded completely, but not covered. Leave them in position before concrete is set and then remove them. Other things could be pressed into concrete for patterns too. You may make round impressions in the top by using cans. What you believe might will leave a stylish mark on the concrete is worth considering. Give it a try.
One finish I didn’t discuss is exposed aggregate. I think it could be too burdensome for a person with limited or no previous experience dealing with concrete.