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Types of concrete finishes and how to achieve them

Posted on by EKA Concrete Team

This month we’re shining a light on the various finishes available for your concrete and how to achieve them. If you’re laying concrete that will be viewable – either as a floor or as a driveway – why settle for a boring grey slab when there are so many options available for interesting textures and colours?

smooth finish concrete

Smooth Finishes

The most common finish to apply to concrete is a smooth surface finish. This is achieved using screeds and trowels. A screed is a long flat piece of metal or wood that is drawn back and forth over the concrete surface in a sawing motion. Doing this flattens uneven concrete and rids the surface of any excess material. For larger construction projects, mechanical screeds and trowels make easy work of larger surface areas.


Coloured Finishes


  • Pigments can be added to the concrete mix either in liquid form or in mix-ready dissolvable bags. The colour pallette is usually limited to earthy brown colours and tan but there are shades of blues, greys and greens available, too.


  • Acid Staining, like pigments, are limited to darker shades. However, acrylic-based stains offer more standout colours such as ‘graphite black’ and ‘aluminium white’. Stains can be applied to concrete of any age as long as it has completely cured.


  • Polishing is not necessarily a colour finish but it does add sheen and a quality feel to the concrete surface and is great as a statement feature for ground floor kitchens. Once completely cured, the concrete is buffed with various grades of diamond abrasives and liquid agents and then sealed.


concrete aggregates

Textured Finishes


  • Exposed Aggregate Finishes were very popular in seaside towns in the early 20th century and concrete stairways and walls with this finish have lasted generations. Exposed aggregate is achieved by washing away the top layer of concrete while it is setting to expose the natural stone aggregates within the concrete. Novel aggregates can be used to give an attractive finish, such as rose quartz, black basalt, coloured glass or even seashells – hence, its popularity in seaside towns.


  • Stamped Concrete is a method of texturing concrete that uses panels with inlaid designs to stamp the surface of the concrete while it cures. Designs can be customised, but typical patterns turn the concrete from a smooth grey slab into realistic imitations of cobblestones, block paving, bricks, flagstones and many others.


  • Broom Finishes ,/b>are not fancy but they’re a very affordable way to make a slip-resistant concrete surface. To make this finish, drag a broom with thick bristles across the surface while the concrete is curing. This will produce fine ridges that drain liquid away from the concrete, thus improving traction.


EKA Concrete is the number one readymix supplier for Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex and Surrey. Whatever your needs – domestic, commercial, onsite mixing or concrete pumping – our fleet of vehicles and experienced team are ready to deliver any volume of concrete. For more information on any of our products and services, be sure to contact our friendly team. They’re always happy to help.

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