Six Ways To Finish A Poured Concrete Patio Surface

Posted on: 15 July 2016

If you're having concrete poured for an outdoor patio surface, it's a perfect time to start thinking about how you want to finish it. With so many options for adding texture and design to the surface of poured concrete, it wouldn't be surprising to find yourself overwhelmed by the options. Here are a few of the most common choices for you to consider and discuss with your concrete contractor.

A broom allows you to create a custom bristle texture on the concrete surface. If you don't want something patterned and elaborate, the bristles of a stiff broom may be a great choice. The bristles create a sweeping texture on the concrete surface, which can help produce a little bit of extra traction. This is important if you're concerned about slipping. For an even more unique look, consider running the broom over the surface in several different directions to create a mixture of lines.

Using a stencil lets you add a flat, smooth pattern on the concrete surface. Concrete stencils come in many different styles and patterns, allowing you to create most any finish on the surface. Because they don't have to leave a deep imprint in the concrete, you can apply a stencil to the surface from along the outer edge of the concrete shape. That way, you don't risk disrupting the rest of the concrete while you work. Just wait for the concrete shape to start curing so that it holds the pattern when you lift the stencil.

A stamp will create a deeper, more textured design on the concrete. Stamps are typically used after the concrete has started to cure so that it's thick enough to hold the pattern. These are usually crafted to represent a specific pattern, like the texture of stone, tile or wood. If you're looking to create a unique design like this, a stamp may be just the way to go. Just remember that stamps leave an actual texture behind, not just a surface pattern like stencils do.

Scattered rock salt lets you create a pitted surface across the concrete. When you spread rock salt across the top of the concrete once it's started to cure, it settles in just below the surface level. Once the concrete sets up enough that it can withstand watering, spray the surface down with some warm water. The rock salt crystals dissolve in the water, leaving shallow weathering behind.

Acid washing lets you create colors or weathering on the surface of the concrete. With an acid washing process, you treat the surface of the concrete with an acid material first. The acid erodes some of the concrete, creating color variations and some signs of weathering. When the concrete reaches the color or appearance that you're looking for, you neutralize the acid to stop the reaction. To do this, wash the whole surface with a mild detergent and water. Then, cover it in baking soda and work the baking soda in with a stiff brush. Rinse the whole thing completely afterward with fresh water.

A float and trowel will allow you to produce a textured surface on the concrete by hand. You can create a texture that's coarse by choosing a wood float, or a smoother texture by using aluminum or steel. You can also control how deep the finish sets in by how hard you press the float on the surface.

With options like these, there's no reason to ever resign yourself to a smooth, plain concrete surface. If you're interested in giving your concrete patio a custom look, talk with the concrete pumping contractor about which finishing option is best for your situation.  

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