Concrete is a very versatile building material, and it’s a great one to use to make decks, patios, driveways, walkways, and any other such surface. With that being said, there are many different finishes that you can apply to this material, depending on what qualities you want and how you want it to look.
Today, we want to take a closer look at what broom-finished concrete is, how to broom-finish concrete, and why you might want to do so in the first place. Let’s get right into it.
What Is Broom-Finished Concrete?
As you might be able to tell from the name of it, broom-finished concrete is when you use a broom to finish your concrete. In other words, this is when you use a special type of broom to apply a texture to the surface of the material.
Here, you would generally use something like a horsehair broom or something similar, something that is fairly rough and stiff, to drag over the concrete while it is still relatively wet, therefore applying a specific type of texture to the surface.
Now, yes, this does of course have to do with aesthetics and appearances, as some people definitely like how it looks. However, as you are about to find out, there are also some functional benefits to having broom-finished concrete on your property, which is the case for driveways, patios, walkways, and anything in between.
Broom-Finished Concrete Pros and Cons
Okay, so you are probably wondering why you would use a broom to apply texture to your concrete in the first place. Sure, one of the possible benefits is that you just like the way it looks. On that note, there are many different styles and patterns that you can create on a concrete surface using a broom.
You can use a broom that has a very tight bunching of hairs, or one that has a looser bunching of hairs, therefore creating different textures. You can also create straight lines, curves, circles, or any other patterns that you see fit. The simple fact that you can create your own patterns or designs is pretty cool no doubt.
What also stands out about doing a broom finish on concrete is that this type of finish is very durable, so it can be used anywhere. You can do a broom finish for walls, steps, pillars, driveways, pool decks, patios, sidewalks, and more or less anything in between. It’s a very durable finish that can resist a great deal of wear and tear, is impact resistant, and can handle extreme weather.
Something else that you might like about having broom-finished concrete is the fact that it produces a very rough texture that is therefore slip resistant. For this reason, this finish can often be found around pools and spas, as well as in other areas that see a lot of moisture. It’s definitely something that can help prevent you from falling. The other thing worth noting here is that broom finishing your concrete is very cost-effective.
Besides the right type of broom, you really don’t need any special materials or tools for this task, and if you are careful, you won’t need to hire a professional either. On that note, this is a very low-maintenance finish that doesn’t get damaged easily, and if it does get damaged, doing repairs is fairly easy and cost-effective.
One of the only real downsides to broom finishing concrete is the fact that you do need to be very accurate and precise. If your hand slips or you are unable to work in straight lines, that finish is just going to end up looking really bad and uneven. Moreover, working with concrete colors or stains is more or less impossible when attempting to do a broom finish.
Should You Broom Finish Your Concrete?
If you are looking to create a bit of aesthetic appeal and texture on your concrete, but you don’t want to buy any special tools, spend a lot of money, or hire professionals to do the job, then doing a simple broom finish is ideal.
Moreover, it produces a non-slip texture that is much safer to walk on than non-textured concrete. Generally speaking, if you want some kind of texture or pattern on your concrete, but you don’t want to stain, color, or stamp it, we do recommend doing a broom finish.
What Type of Broom Do You Need for Finishing Concrete?
If you are going to broom-finish concrete, then you absolutely need to use a good horsehair broom. Horsehair is very durable, so it’s not going to break off in the concrete. This is an issue that you will have to deal with if you use a broom that is not made out of horsehair, and you definitely don’t want those strands stuck in the concrete.
Moreover, horsehair is also very fine, therefore allowing you to create good texture on concrete without digging too deep into it. What’s also important to note is that you can get coarser or finer brooms as well, plus ones that have harder or softer bristles.
This, therefore, allows you to create a variety of textures in concrete. So, the official recommendation here is that you use a horsehair broom, but exactly how fine or coarse it is, is something that we will leave up to you.
How to Broom Finish Concrete
Now that you know the basics of doing a broom finish on concrete, let’s go through a step-by-step tutorial on exactly how to get it done. As you are about to find out, this is an easy process and there aren’t many steps involved at all.
Step 1: Pour and Level the Concrete
The first step here is of course to pour the concrete. We aren’t going to get too deep into this, but you should always follow the instructions as directed on the material packaging. Once the concrete has been poured, you want to use a trowel and any other required tools to smooth it out.
Remember, for the broom finish to turn out well, you need the concrete to be very smooth, flat, and even before you apply the finish. So, do your best to smooth everything out and get the concrete looking good.
Now, remember that you can’t apply the broom finish to the concrete when it is still soaking wet. You want everything to be relatively dry and cured before doing so, although it can’t be totally cured, or else it will be too hard and won’t take on the texture.
Therefore, the concrete should still be slightly wet and soft. If you can press your finger into the concrete, and it is still relatively soft, but it doesn’t take on your fingerprint, then you know that you can apply the broom finish.
Step 2: Apply the Texture With the Broom
The only other step here is to use your broom to actually apply the finish. Remember, to perform this task, you do want a special horsehair concrete finishing broom. You can’t just use a regular broom for this task, because it just won’t work.
One trick to keep in mind here is that you really don’t want to apply any downward pressure when performing this task, as you are likely to dig too deep into the concrete. A special concrete finishing broom is going to be more than heavy enough to apply the right amount of depth and texture without going too deep or not going deep enough.
Therefore, just hold the broom on one side of the concrete, before the concrete starts, and then slowly drag it across the concrete in a straight line. Of course, you don’t have to work in a straight line, as you can always apply various patterns. However, the more complex the pattern you want to apply, the harder the task is going to be. Therefore, if you are a newbie, you might want to keep things simple.
Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks
Let’s quickly go over some tips and tricks to help make this concrete broom finishing process as easy and fast as possible:
- Always pay attention to the weather when pouring concrete and doing finishes, as temperature and humidity will affect drying and curing time.
- Make sure that you don’t do this in the rain, or else the texture will be ruined.
- Always use the right kind of broom for this task. A regular broom is not ideal.
There you have it, folks, you should now have all of the info you need to successfully broom finish any concrete surface.