Concrete Surface Finish: Making the Right Choice

3 min read 08 November 2023

Concrete is an incredible building material with a myriad of benefits. It’s termite-proof, incredibly durable, easily molded, boasts good thermal mass, and offers a wide range of finishes to choose from. However, as with any great product, the key lies in the details, or more specifically, the finish. Let’s dive into the world of concrete surface finishes and discover how to make the right choice for your project.

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Types of Concrete Finishes

Before delving into the art of perfecting concrete finishes, let’s take a look at some of the common types:

  • Troweled Finish: This finish involves using a steel trowel to create a smooth and sleek surface. While it’s popular, beware of its slipperiness.
  • Broom Finish: After edging, a broom is used to create a textured, slip-resistant surface. Ideal for exterior areas like sidewalks and driveways.
  • Polished Finish: Polished concrete exudes sophistication and is often used in interior spaces. Achieving the perfect polished surface requires a combination of skill and the right tools.
  • Swirl Finish: This decorative finish involves swirling patterns into the concrete while it’s still wet, resulting in a unique and visually appealing texture.
  • Aggregate Finish: Aggregate finishes incorporate exposed stones or decorative aggregates into the concrete, giving it a natural and textured appearance.
  • Stamped Finish: Stamped concrete mimics the look of other materials, such as brick or stone, and is a versatile choice for adding aesthetic appeal to surfaces.


Tips for Achieving the Perfect Finish

  • Communication is Key: When working with a concrete contractor, make sure to agree on the finish you want. Use samples or reference photographs to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Careful Slope Planning: Proper planning for slopes is essential to avoid uneven or ponding slabs. Correcting such issues later can be costly.
  • Joint Planning: Concrete naturally shrinks, about 5mm every 10 meters. Plan joints accordingly to prevent cracks and maintain the integrity of the surface.
  • Broom After Edging: If you’re going for a troweled finish, remember that tooled edges can be slippery. Brooming the surface after edging can enhance its slip resistance.
  • Doweling: To prevent trip risks, always dowel new slabs to old ones, ensuring a smooth transition.
  • Surface Protection: Before pouring concrete, take precautions to protect existing surfaces from splatter. Cleaning concrete off materials like marble or glass can be a daunting task.


Tools™ for Perfect Concrete Finishes

To make the selection process easier, Tools™ has developed the Finish o’Meter. This handy tool allows you to switch between different surface finishes, helping you find the best practices and compliance requirements necessary to achieve your desired outcome.

Tools™ provides guidance to prevent costly mistakes and maximise efficiency by translating the National Construction Codes (NCC) into interactive and easy-to-understand graphics. It also offers information on deemed-to-comply and best practices, allowing you to navigate the technical aspects of concrete finishes.

A good concrete finish is worth its weight in gold. It not only enhances the aesthetics of your space but also ensures safety and longevity. By understanding the various finishes available and following the essential tips and tricks, you can make the most of this versatile building material. 

Remember, a well-finished concrete surface can be a true work of art that stands the test of time.

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