Concrete Finishing Techniques: From Broom to Trowel

Concrete Finishing Techniques: From Broom to Trowel

Are you looking to enhance the appearance and durability of your concrete surfaces? Understanding different concrete finishing techniques, from using a broom to a trowel, can make a significant difference in the final outcome. In this article, we will explore various methods for finishing concrete that can help you achieve a smooth, professional finish. Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or a professional contractor, mastering these techniques will ensure that your concrete projects stand out.

Broom Finish

A broom finish is a popular concrete finishing technique that provides a textured surface for better traction. This technique is commonly used for outdoor concrete surfaces such as driveways, patios, and sidewalks.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Broom with stiff bristles
  • Concrete mix
  • Trowel
  • Water
  • Concrete sealer (optional)

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Pour and spread the concrete mix evenly on the surface to be finished.
  2. Use a trowel to smooth out the concrete and level it.
  3. Wait for the concrete to set slightly, but still be workable.
  4. Take the broom and lightly drag it across the surface in straight lines. You can experiment with different directions and patterns to achieve the desired texture.
  5. Let the concrete cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Optional: Apply a concrete sealer to protect the finished surface.

Tips for Achieving a Smooth Finish

  • Work quickly but carefully to ensure an even texture.
  • Keep the broom clean to prevent debris from getting stuck in the concrete.
  • Practice on a small test area before applying the broom finish to the entire surface.
  • Adjust the pressure and angle of the broom to achieve different textures.

    Float Finish

A float finish is a popular technique used in concrete finishing to achieve a smooth and level surface. This technique involves using a float, a flat tool made of wood, metal, or plastic, to smooth out the surface of the concrete.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Concrete mix
  • Float tool
  • Water
  • Trowel
  • Edger tool
  • Broom

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Pour the concrete mix onto the prepared surface and spread it evenly.
  2. Use the float tool to smooth out the surface by moving it in a circular motion.
  3. Continue to float the surface until it is smooth and level.
  4. Once the surface is smooth, use a trowel to further refine the finish.
  5. Use an edger tool to create a clean edge around the perimeter of the concrete.
  6. Finally, use a broom to create a textured finish on the surface if desired.

Benefits of Float Finish

  • Provides a smooth and level surface
  • Helps to improve the durability and longevity of the concrete
  • Can be easily customized with different textures and finishes
  • Enhances the overall appearance of the concrete surface

    Trowel Finish

When it comes to concrete finishing techniques, the trowel finish is a popular choice for achieving a smooth and polished surface. This method involves using a trowel to carefully smooth out the concrete and create a sleek look. In this guide, we will walk you through the tools and materials needed, step-by-step instructions, and common mistakes to avoid when using the trowel finish technique.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Concrete mix
  • Trowel
  • Edger
  • Float
  • Broom
  • Water source
  • Protective gear (gloves, goggles, etc.)

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Pour the concrete mix onto the surface and spread it out evenly with a shovel.
  2. Use the float to level out the concrete and remove any excess.
  3. Once the concrete is partially set, use the edger to create a smooth edge along the perimeter.
  4. Begin troweling the surface, starting with a steel trowel to smooth out any imperfections.
  5. Continue troweling with a finish trowel to achieve a polished look.
  6. Keep the trowel moistened with water to prevent it from sticking to the concrete.
  7. Once the surface is smooth and polished to your liking, let it cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Over-troweling can weaken the surface of the concrete.
  • Not keeping the trowel moist can cause it to stick and leave marks on the surface.
  • Applying too much pressure while troweling can create indentations in the concrete.
  • Skipping the edging step can result in a rough and uneven edge.

By following these tips and techniques for trowel finishing, you can achieve a professional-looking concrete surface that is both durable and aesthetically pleasing.


In conclusion, mastering concrete finishing techniques is essential for achieving a smooth and polished surface. Whether you choose to use a broom finish for added traction or a trowel finish for a sleek appearance, each method requires skill and precision. By understanding the different tools and techniques available, you can ensure that your concrete projects are completed to the highest standards. So next time you’re working with concrete, consider experimenting with various finishing techniques to achieve the desired result.