Because the team at NYC Concrete Polishing Equipment has the most experts, many New York City, New York comes to us for help with their weekend DIY projects. And one of the top projects we assist people with is helping them with their concrete surfaces.
One annoying aspect of purchasing a home is that you’re in charge of your sidewalks most of the time. So when a tree root, moisture, pipe leaks, and other issues cause your concrete to crack, break, or lift, it’s usually up to you to fix it. Not everyone is looking to hire a professional to correct the problem, especially if it’s only a small area that they need to handle. Most homeowners simply shrug it off, thinking that concrete can’t be all that difficult to work with, that is until they give it a go themselves.
While poured concrete is a relatively easy building material to work with, there are a few additional steps to simply adding water and pouring. In fact, the most common area people get stuck on is when it comes time to finish their concrete.
Weigh the Costs of Tools First
In saving money; you may wind up spending a ton buying all the tools you need for your project. And when it comes to concrete, it’s highly recommended that you do, in fact, purchase all of the tools and not try to skate around them. While you can make a screed and darby out of wood scraps you may have laying around; you’ll need at minimum a float, edger, groover, and a trowel. Chances are, all of these are going to run about $20 a piece, and so if this is a one-time project, you may want to hire a professional simply.
Compensate for the Season
Concrete will cure differently based on the level of heat, humidity, or lack thereof. Hot and dry weather will make concrete cure much faster than it will if it’s wet outside. And during cooler months, it can feel like a lifetime waiting for concrete to finish curing finally.
If you’re planning on your first concrete rodeo to be during a hot spell, you may have to work faster than you may expect. As a result, many homeowners wind up missing the finishing step because the concrete is too far along, forcing them to start all over.
Don’t Wait to Screed and Darby
Some may think that they are beginning too soon after the initial pour, but you can screed and darby your concrete fairly soon after the pour. Just make sure that the frame is straight and that there are at least six inches of overlap. Also, ensure that your darby is long enough to reach a little more than halfway across the surface, and don’t make any more than two passes. This way you won’t overwork the surface.
Water is Okay
Some will become nervous at seeing water pool on top of the concrete; however, this is part of the process. Once the water is reabsorbed into the concrete, it’ll be time to smooth it out. Begin with the edges to give them a rounded edge, pushing the “loose” cement back to the center. Follow up with adding divisions to ensure it doesn’t crack when it finishes settling down.
Choose How Smooth
With the floater, keep working the surface until it reaches the smoothness and texture that you’re looking for, then you’ll need to redo the edging and divisions to continue shaping the edges correctly. Also, utilizing a steel trowel will make a smoother finish than the cheaper ones you can pick up. With concrete, you get what you pay for regarding supplies and tools. Again, if you’re unsure about completing it yourself, or you don’t want to buy a bunch of tools you won’t use more than once or twice, a professional may be a better option for your needs.
Decide on Functionality Over Appearance
Depending on where your concrete surface was poured determines what is needed in terms of how your concrete performs. For instance, if the area in question is notorious for slippery conditions, you can run a broom across the top as the final step. What this will achieve is a rougher surface that allows water to run off faster than with traditional smooth finished concrete. Other areas would look odd with a rougher surface, needing a smoother application instead as you can’t undo it.