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Old 03-08-2012, 11:14 AM   #1
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How long to wait before troweling concrete step face?


Hi There...

QUESTION: How long should I wait before removing the face board on a concrete step frame so that I can trowel the face of the step? (Since I'm a concrete novice, answers like "until it sets enough" don't help much, without defining "enough")

Thanks for your help!

*******************************

BACKGROUND FOR THOSE WHO WANT IT:
I'm adding a concrete step atop an existing concrete landing and I've read plenty of advice on the process of making forms, pouring, troweling, and edging the steps, and removing the face board on the risers in order to trowel the step faces.

What perplexes me is how long to wait after pouring before doing all of this. Each article says things like "wait a while" or "when the concrete has set enough", but they don't define "a while" and they don't say how to tell when it's set enough.

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Old 03-08-2012, 02:21 PM   #2
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How long to wait before troweling concrete step face?


Hour, hour and a half on a 70 day.

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Old 03-08-2012, 03:40 PM   #3
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How long to wait before troweling concrete step face?


Wow, that's a lot longer than I thought. Thanks for saving me from my own self!
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:42 PM   #4
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How long to wait before troweling concrete step face?


Any advice on how long I should let it set up (on a 70 degree day) before
-- screeding?
-- edging?
-- mag floating?
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:57 PM   #5
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How long to wait before troweling concrete step face?


You have to watch the concrete. It depends on how much water was in it and the temp of course. I've seen dry mix concrete forms removed in ten minutes or less.
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Old 03-09-2012, 12:25 PM   #6
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How long to wait before troweling concrete step face?


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
You have to watch the concrete. It depends on how much water was in it and the temp of course. I've seen dry mix concrete forms removed in ten minutes or less.
Thanks joed, I appreciate your replies. The thing is, I don't know what to watch for. I know it's probably difficult to describe, as every description I've seen is vague.
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Old 03-09-2012, 02:26 PM   #7
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How long to wait before troweling concrete step face?


Try trowling the top of a tread after a half hour. Wiggle the trowel around and see if its fairly easy to sink down. If it is, wait another half hour, and try that again.
You'lle be able to tell when it's starting to set up.
You want it a little stiff so the tread corners don't break apart when pulling the forms and finishing.
Tap on the faces of the forms with a hammer after gently pulling the form nails to separate the wood from the concrete.

As long as you pour the concrete a little wet and tap on the form faces to vibrate the pockets out, the faces shouldn't need too much finishing.

Last edited by titanoman; 03-09-2012 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 03-09-2012, 03:48 PM   #8
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How long to wait before troweling concrete step face?


It is hard to describe without actually seeing it. You are watching for the concrete to get hard but not too hard. You can work the surface with a trowel and you could probably also walk on it.

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