My 5 tips for getting a perfect broom finish concrete patio

Adding a broom finish to a concrete patio may sound like an easy thing to do, but in reality, it's really quite easy to mess it up.

On this page I'm going to share my 5 best tips for getting the perfect broom finish concrete patio.

Hi, my name is Mike Day and I'm the owner of Day's Concrete Floors, Inc.

I've owned my concrete business since the 1980's. Over the years I've broom finished thousands of square feet of concrete patios, walks, decks, and driveways.

If you trying to achieve that perfect non-slip, professional looking, easy to clean broom finish surface, I've made a video to show you how we do it on our jobs.

TIP 1. Knowing when to start

If you want to achieve a broom finish that's not too rough or too smooth, you have to start the finishing process at the right time.

How do you know if the concrete is ready?

Well, there's a lot of factors that go into determining the right time to start the process like;

  • air temperature
  • wind
  • direct sunlight 
  • shade
  • size of the patio
  • experienced man or woman power you have on-site

just to name a few, but I'll try to keep this as simple as possible.

If I can press my thumb into the concrete about 1/4 inch, this tells me the concrete is about ready to start.

If it goes deeper, it's probably a little early (too wet) and if it goes less, it's getting too firm (Hurry up!!).

TIP 2. Use an edger tool

I like to use an edger tool on my outside edges of the patio. 

A concrete edger is designed to round off the edge of the concrete.

This accomplishes two things:

  1. It gives the edge a nice finished look
  2. It strengthens the edge by rounding it instead of leaving it square and sharp (easier to chip off if square).

An edger tool is pretty easy to learn. Watch my guy in the video, he presses it into the concrete to start, using the board as his guide.

He tips it up slightly and pushes it forward, then tips it the other way to go backwards. Doing small sections at a time.

You'll do this process twice. The first time to pre-cut in the rounded edge, then after brooming to leave a nice clean finished tool mark.

TIP 3. Mag float the surface

I like to mag float the surface of the concrete right before I broom it.

Mag floating the concrete will fix any imperfections like filling small holes, removes bull float lines, and smooths any rough areas.

Another thing mag floating does is it gives you a fine, moist cement paste on the surface that leaves a nice looking broom finish.

If you try to broom the surface without mag floating, you'll either have to broom it early (which will give you a rougher finish).

Or, if you wait, the surface will be dry in some areas and moist in others, giving you an inconsistent looking broom finish. (ugly!)

So, take the time to mag float, and get that perfect finish every time.

TIP 4. Straight broom lines

Like in the video, have 1 person running the broom so you have nice straight broom lines.

You want to set the broom down easy so it doesn't leave a divot, then pull it back in one slow, straight, consistent motion. 

You don't want stop & start marks, you don't want crooked lines, and you don't want squiggly lines from moving the handle back and forth.

I also like to clean the cement past out of the broom bristles every few passes. Dip it in a pail of water and slide the bristles back and forth across the top of the bucket to remove any excess water.

If the bristles have to much paste in them, they will leave little "cement balls" behind as you pull the broom across the surface. (Again, ugly)

This is the finished look, it has to be perfect!

TIP 5. Leave the finished edger tool mark

You previously "cut in" the edger tool mark around the outside perimeter of the patio.

Now, after the surface has a broom finish, it's time to leave the "finished" edger tool mark.

Re-run the edger tool in the same fashion you did earlier. It'll smooth out the broom marks under the edger.

It also cleans up the rounded edge, makes it look professional, and gives the patio a picture frame look.

This is a normal type of broom finish we do on a lot of patios, pool decks, sidewalks, and driveways.

That's it! Those are my 5 tips for getting a perfect broom finish concrete patio.

I hope it helps you achieve the perfect broom finish on your concrete projects.

If you'd like to use some of the same tools as we do, take a look at my recommended tools page.

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