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How To Finish Concrete

Learn "how to finish concrete" from expert masons and concrete finishers on this website. Troweling cement to a flat and smooth concrete finish is very difficult without experience or an understanding of proper concrete finishing techniques. The information on this website will give you a better chance at good results by learning how to properly finish concrete.

smooth concrete stamped concrete

Concrete Finishes

There are many different types of concrete finishes and some are more difficult for others. Stamped concrete for example, which is a premium concrete finish, is more forgiving to amateur concrete finishers than large open areas of smooth and flat concrete.

In addition to stamped concrete there are smooth finishes as seen in swimming pools and countertops, broomed concrete finishes for better traction and exposed aggregate concrete finishes where the top layer of cement is washed away exposing the top layer of aggregates. These can be left as such or ground and polished for a dramatic look as seen below.

polished concrete

Flat Concrete

If you do not have years of first hand concrete finishing experience then you will have an incredibly difficult time troweling concrete flat and smooth by hand.

flat concrete

Even the ability to look at concrete and determine if it is flat or not is a learned skill. What the average person considers to be flat and smooth a concrete worker would frown on. Even the smallest deviations in the surface finish will collect water and be very visible once the concrete has cured.

Stamped Concrete

Using a stamped concrete process can help to conceal imperfections in the finishing of the cement so long as you are able to achieve a relative level on your own. The action of tamping the texture skins into the wet concrete help somewhat to level the concrete but more to hide visual imperfections in a busy pattern.

concrete stamp

While the amorphous patterns for concrete stamping can be helpful in hiding poor troweling skills some of the repeating pattern texture skins can amplify defects in the concrete finish.

Beginners to concrete finishing should try to remove as much of the skill required from the equation by taking extra steps in your preparation for concrete stage and reducing hand troweling or leveling as much as possible. All of this is discussed on the following page about concrete preparation