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Old 04-14-2009, 07:30 PM   #1
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please help me troubleshoot my poor concrete finishing technique


I am placing a replacement section of walkway. The old section (24"x36" by 4" deep) has been removed. I placed re-mesh toward the bottom of the pour, used 2x lumber for the forms, mixed quick-crete and poured to a depth just above the forms. I kept the mix as dry as possible to increase strength, used an air chisel to vibe out the air pockets, lightly compacted the pour, screeeded and then attempted to float the pour with a wooden block by tapping the surface.

The results are ugly with a rough, porous surface showing lots of course aggregate. I was unable to trowel it smooth. This nasty patch now stares back at me and mocks.

Any suggestions on where I went wrong would be appreciated. On a mostly unrelated note, why are concrete floats made of magnesium?

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Old 04-14-2009, 07:44 PM   #2
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please help me troubleshoot my poor concrete finishing technique


The proper order is: place, screed, vibrate, fill, float, trowel, edge, trowel or broom.

Magnesium is light and stiff.

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Old 04-14-2009, 08:31 PM   #3
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please help me troubleshoot my poor concrete finishing technique


your mix was probaly too dry. you want it wet enough so that when you trowel it you get a creamy surface on top. when the wet surface starts to stiffen up you can smooth it some more or "broom" the surface. i hope ths helps you out a little.
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:28 PM   #4
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please help me troubleshoot my poor concrete finishing technique


Thanks much. I'll follow the sequence listed and add a bit more water on the next section.

I am not clear, however, on what the "fill" is in the procedure. Is this adding a bit of extra mix to fill in after vibe?
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:38 PM   #5
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please help me troubleshoot my poor concrete finishing technique


Yes. After you screed and vibrate, you will have to add more concrete in places.
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Old 04-14-2009, 11:32 PM   #6
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please help me troubleshoot my poor concrete finishing technique


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tscarborough View Post
The proper order is: place, screed, vibrate, fill, float, trowel, edge, trowel or broom.

Magnesium is light and stiff.

It's also much harder than wood or aluminum, & concrete doesn't stick to it nearly as well. The only place to use wood (IMO) to float concrete os when excessive bleed water is prevalent on the surface. Normally, wood will "tear" the surface open.
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Old 04-15-2009, 08:54 AM   #7
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please help me troubleshoot my poor concrete finishing technique


Wood can "tear" open the surface during float. So true - that's exactly what I found. Can I float with my trowel (steel 5x12), or must I pickup a magnesium float?

Well, at any rate, these small sections are good for trail and error. Mostly error.
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Old 04-15-2009, 09:32 AM   #8
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please help me troubleshoot my poor concrete finishing technique


You usually let it setup for about an hour before doing the finish trowel/broom. If it is too soft you can't get the proper finish. Just do a basic surface smooth and level until it stiffens up.

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