””In an effort to save money, you may be thinking about laying concrete yourself. One thing to understand right away is that it looks a lot easier than it actually is. If you’ve ever seen a poorly finished driveway or walkway, you can bet your bottom dollar that the work was done by an inexperienced homeowner or a frugal business owner. Without finishing the concrete properly, your home improvement project or repair job at work is sure to fall flat. Pick up a few tips for finishing concrete like a professional below.
- Gather the Right Tools
- Get Plenty of Help
- Assemble Your Forms Properly
- Ensure a Flat, Attractive Finish
- Use the Right Width
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have all the tools you need to finish your concrete properly. Exceptional concrete finishing depends on having the appropriate tools, and many of these tools aren’t things that everyday people have in their garages. You’ll need a couple of shovels, which you probably have. However, you’ll also need a jointer, wood or magnesium hand floats, a bull float with 10 feet of handles and a straight-edge board. You should also have one or two “come alongs,” which resemble wide, flat hoes. For especially professional results, it’s nice to have a power trowel too.
One thing’s for sure: Finishing and laying concrete is not a one-man job. From pouring concrete to finishing it, you’re going to need all the help you can get. While finishing it, you’ll need at least two people to pull the screed and another to operate the chute. You will also need to make sure that each person knows what he’s doing, or something is sure to go wrong.
There’s no way to finish concrete properly without assembling the forms effectively. They need to be properly aligned. They also need to be set at the right grade. Before screeding, make sure that your forms are properly secured as well. To the untrained eye, the floats might seem okay. A professional can quickly tell if that’s the case or not. Without taking care with this step, the appearance of your home or commercial property could be negatively impacted.
Nothing looks worse than concrete that isn’t flat when it is finished. The standard way to make sure of this is by using a floating form, which is also known as a pipe screed. You can use a metal pipe, or you can use a 2X2 wood board. In either case, set the float on stakes, and make sure that it’s at the right height. You should also be aware that professional companies can offer a wide variety of attractive finishes. If you handle this work yourself, your options will be very limited.
To screed effectively, you need to use the right width. The pros can often handle widths of 16 feet or more. At those widths, however, the concrete that needs to be raked can be extremely heavy and cumbersome. Without raking it away properly, the finish of the concrete will suffer. If there are only a few people available to help, stick with a width of 12 feet or less.
At Razorback Concrete, we have the skill, knowledge, experience and tools that are needed to pour and finish concrete properly the first time. Why do it yourself? Whether you’re working on your home or need help laying and finishing concrete at your business, we can help. Contact us online, or give us a call at 870-455-0700 now.