View Full Version : finishing concrete?

12-23-2005, 03:19 PM
I am having an 11' x 51' slab of concrete poured. Can anybody give me some tips on finishing or floating it? I was told to use a water hose and get 1 person on each end of it and work it over the top of the concrete to smooth it, what do yall think. Any help is appreciated.

12-23-2005, 03:33 PM
NONONO! you need some floats on long poles and to hand finish you need kneeboards and hand tools and the proper equipment and know what your doing or it will look like crap.
I suggest you contact a cement contractor and ask if they have a finisher who does side work.

Dirty Water
12-23-2005, 06:14 PM
Sheshovel is right. the only time you use a hose on concrete is if your are going for an exposed agegate surface, and how it was described to you is still not how you do it :)

Hire a concrete finisher for a day.

The basic steps are this:

Rod off your concrete as you pour it to get it to the correct height and slope.
Run a bull float over the concrete and hand float the edges to smooth it and further correct the height and slope.
As the concrete cures, begin using a edger to define the edges and begin trowelling the surface of the concrete, removing imprefections with it. Its a slow and tedious process. If you can't reach across the slab with your tool you have to use kneeboards to support your weight on the concrete.
Once you have it troweled smooth, you can use a broom to give it a nice finish (if its outdoor and you don't want it smooth). I like to use the edger again after brooming it to give a stripe around the slab.
Finally, use a groover to run a few grooves across the slab to keep it from cracking if its a large slab.

12-24-2005, 01:51 AM
Both guys are right. IF you have never pored concrete before, a slab that size will be one big under taking. you could get your self into a real mess. Be prepared. concrete can be very unforgiving. GOOD LUCK :waving:

Dirty Water
12-24-2005, 02:52 AM
I just realized the dimensions of that slab.

Your going to want to hire a guy with a power trowel to do that, or do it in a couple pours, you can't finish that much fast enough by hand.

12-24-2005, 07:00 AM
You can't beat a helicopter for jobs like that, and cheap to hire as well.

12-24-2005, 07:48 AM
What is the slab for? I have used the hose trick on some dog pens for myself. It works ok but not great. Put water in the hose for more weight. Plan on doing some touch up. My dogs like it just fine. Screed it with a 2x4 first then it would be best to bull float then the hose. I would pour that in two sections. You will need some help.

12-24-2005, 08:12 AM
That is what it is,is dog pens. It is for myself, so i'm not doing work for someone else and getting paid. I was thinking screen it with the 2x4 as mentioned and then bull float. How much do yall think i would cost to hire someone to come and finish it? Thanks for all the help.

12-24-2005, 02:22 PM
Just a couple of questions. Is it out in the open where you can work it from all four sides? Can you run the cement truck parallel to one of the long sides? Will it be a 4" thick slab?

DVS Hardscaper
12-24-2005, 02:34 PM
I read the poening post to this thread. And thats all the further i feel i needed to go.

I respectfully suggest that if you do not know what you're doing...then have someone with experience do it.

Plain and simple.

Sure we can all display our concrete finishing skills/knowledge, but its not something you do via a 'How to' manual.

Concrete finishing is somthing that you need to be around and learn the ropes. Learn why, how, and what.

And that can not happen via how to instructions.


12-24-2005, 07:29 PM
well it is for dog pens so it does not have to be perfect. yes its in the open, the concrete truck can go parallel with the long side, and yes it will be 4 inches thick. and about how much will it cost to get someone to come in and finish it, like spread it once its poured and float or smooth it?? thanks.

Dirty Water
12-24-2005, 07:59 PM
well it is for dog pens so it does not have to be perfect. yes its in the open, the concrete truck can go parallel with the long side, and yes it will be 4 inches thick. and about how much will it cost to get someone to come in and finish it, like spread it once its poured and float or smooth it?? thanks.

A good finisher will go for $300 a day around here.

Pocket change compared to the cost of the concrete, and worth it.

12-24-2005, 10:01 PM
HLM, I commend you for wanting to try, but please listen to all the posts. I`ve been a carpenter for 35 years, and poured alot of concrete over the years a slab that size will be quite an under taking with out any experiance. Its not something you can correct that easy if you make a mistake. Let us know how things work out. :drinkup: :waving:

12-25-2005, 09:06 AM
OK i will looking to hire someone. thanks for the help yall.

12-25-2005, 12:06 PM
You don't need a pwer trowel to do 500 sq ft, that's only 3/4 of a truck assuming you are pouring a 4" slab.

So, rail it up and make sure the forms are pitched lower on the wide you want to drain water during a storm. Set your rebar on a, 18", 90° grid, on dbies to keep the rebar in the center of the forms, and call a finisher for pour day.. I would order a 7 sack, 3,000-5,000 PSI load with a 5 slump. Don't use any hardener if you can avoid it. Your finisher should float off the water until it tightens up, then run a camel hair broom across it. If you are pouring colored mud, don't ever use any hardener, but use a color sealer after the finishers make it pretty.

I would put tooled control joints down the center of the slab, then every 10 feet across the width. If you want to truly control cracking, after it hardens a few days, saw cut an additional 1 1/2" in the center of the tool joint. It won't stop them all, but it will control where most of them are going, assuming your finisher puts them in the spots where the stress will appear to be the most.

I dunno what mud goes for in Georgia, around here a 3000 PSI load, in standard grey color is going for $1,500.00, your finisher is going to charge you $300-$400 a day and unless it is a hot day, one guy should be able to handle 550 sf by themselves as long as you give them a hand striiking off the excess.

12-29-2005, 10:33 AM
The job is done. Used 3500 psi with 2 % calcium. It has a slick surface and I believe it is having 2 joints cut. Thanks for all the help.

Dirty Water
12-29-2005, 04:21 PM
Did you hire a finisher?

12-29-2005, 07:05 PM
yes i hired a finisher.

12-29-2005, 09:52 PM
Well...where's the photos??:)

12-30-2005, 08:57 AM
A slick finish is not good for dog pens. Dogs will slip on it and be hard on their hips. After seeing it done do you think you could have done it?

12-30-2005, 09:21 AM
A slick finish would be good for commercial kennels though. The fecal matter doesn't stick to it as readily and it would be easier to clean off, disinfect and squeegy. However, I wouldn't recommend any type of concrete for long term housing of dogs for the same reasons you suggest.

12-30-2005, 11:21 PM
its not slick as glass like a garage floor, but its smooth so that the waste can be washed out without sticking. i believe concrete will be much better than dirt for the dogs. and after seeing it done, yes i definatly believe i could have done it. the man said that i did a good job of setting up the forms. i talked to several people that said i could do it myself, but oh well its done now, and done good. ill see about pictures.

01-06-2006, 09:26 AM
Concrete is fun.... i love finishing but if you are not experienced, you probably would have lost that 7 yds of crete. Good idea, hiring a finisher.

01-07-2006, 11:03 AM
ill see about pictures.

We'd Like to see about them too!

01-09-2006, 09:06 AM
ok... i am just testing my login