Tips For Finishing Cement So It Makes A Strong And Stable Concrete Slab

Posted on: 15 May 2017

If you have decided to make a concrete slab in your backyard for a new patio or as a foundation for a shed, then it is important that you know how to properly finish the cement so it makes a strong concrete slab after it has cured. To this end, follow these professional concrete contractor tips:

Tip: Flatten the Top of Your Slab Using a 2x4 Board

The first step in finishing your new concrete slab is to flatten the top of the cement. While you can purchase expensive tools to accomplish this task, the easiest and least expensive way is to simply use a 2x4 board. Make sure that your board will extend a bit over each side of the cement forms. 

Pressing down on your finishing board, move it across the cement. As you do so, the larger rocks will be forced down into the slab and the sand and water will rise to the top. Finish with the board just until you see a thin layer of water on top of the slab's surface and then stop. If you keep moving the board over the cement too long, then too much sand and water will come to the surface and this can lead to a weak surface after the cement cures into concrete.

Tip: Use a Cement Grooving Tool and Straight Edge to Cut Groves in the Slab's Surface

As your concrete slab sits on the shifting soil in your yard and is subjected to various weather conditions, it will be susceptible to cracking. To prevent ugly cracks across it, your new slab needs to be grooved. Grooving encourages the concrete slab to crack where the groves are located and prevents cracking in other areas by providing weak spots that naturally relieve the pressure in the slab.

Using a cement grooving tool and a straight edge, cut grooves into your cement slab every few feet. Make sure that you cut the grooves into the cement about one fourth of the depth of the slab and both horizontal and vertically across the slab for maximum crack prevention.

Tip: Float the Concrete Slab to Smooth Out the Surface After Grooving

You need to use a cement floating tool to smooth out the top surface of your concrete slab once you have finished grooving it. Rub the floating tool over the top of the slab until it is flat and a bit of water is released from the cement. Finally, cover the entire slab with a plastic tarp and sprinkle it with water twice each day for the next week. Keeping the concrete moist will allow it to cure better and create a stronger slab.

For more information, contact a company like R. Pepin & Sons Inc.