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Finishing

Assuming you placed the concrete as accurately as possible using the chutes, you must then begin to finish your concrete. Use a shovel to distribute the concrete as evenly as possible. Spading the shovel into the concrete a few times helps consolidate it.

In order to achieve the best aesthetic and structural results after placement, you should immediately screed the surface of the slab. In order to level your surface, you want to use a strike-off or screed. If you are pouring a relatively small surface, this is easy you simply place a long 2X4 on either end of the forms, tilt the 2X4 forty-five degrees, and drag along to level out the concrete.

After a short time - depending on temperature, the concrete will have hardened enough to work on it.  You will know when it is ready because there will be no more bleed water on the surface. You then trowel the surface smooth by running the trowel back and forth in a semicircular motion, working backwards from the inside out. Then, you can use an edging tool to densify the edges & prevent chipping.

Make sure you take into account weather conditions in cold weather, you will want to keep the concrete as warm as possible.  Accelerating admixtures can help to speed up the process of setting. The summer has the opposite problem, high temperature and low humidity can quickly draw the moisture out of the slab. This is a good time to use a retarder to slow the speed at which the concrete will cure.

Concrete also needs to be jointed. These joints help control cracking at the joint. These joints are typically the thickness of the slab, and are placed to achieve relatively small square sections.

You can texture your concrete using stamps, or your own method. People often use brooms to give the concrete a textured look. After this is done, it takes about 2 to 3 days to cure for foot traffic and 5 to 7 days to cure for vehicle traffic. Finally, you may want to finish with a sealer, especially with concrete exposed to the elements.

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