Personal Experience. Professional Results.

Trowel Finish

An example of a swirl finish using a hand trowel on tan-coloured exterior concrete

A hand-troweled look is one of the most basic and most popular options for finishing concrete. Different types of hand trowels create unique textures, allowing you to dial in to your desired style.

Features & Benefits

One of the biggest advantages to a hand-trowelled finish is it doesn't require big or heavy equipment on the jobsite: all we need are the hand trowels and knee boards. In general, less set up and planning time is required.

Hand trowels are used in a variety of situations, from the very basic (preparing an area where carpet or flooring will be going on top) to the very elaborate (adding a textured finish to coloured concrete on an backyard patio). Trowel finishes can also be used to achieve distinctive polishing characteristics.

Victoria Concrete Surfaces carries many different styles of hand trowels, and we're able to achieve some really unique finishes to fit your landscape. For instance a nice "swirl" finish using a magnesium float around a pool deck or patio provides great slip resistance and a beautiful decorative effect.

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Things to Consider

Each finish has different characteristics that make it more or less suitable for different applications, and not all finishes will be appropriate for all jobs. For example, a smooth steel trowel finish on outdoor stairs will become extremely slippery when wet and/or cold.

In Victoria we experience a high volume of rain each year. Rain is slightly acidic, so over time it reacts with the lime in the cement and eats away at the cement powder surrounding the aggregate. This has the effect of making an unsealed smooth troweled finish look similar to exposed aggregate.

Hand trowels offer so many different possibilities based on the tools available and the techniques used – we're passionate about concrete, and would love to hear your input.

So if you have an idea for a particular finish you would like to achieve, let us know. We will work together to achieve your vision!

Benoit Harris, Owner

Installation Notes

A hand-trowelled finish is relatively easy because you don't need a lot of extra labour, and the process happens at one of the earlier stages of the concrete "setting".

With that said, achieving a proper trowel finish still requires patience, good timing, and adequate manpower. And of course, there is no substitute for experience.

There are a variety of unique finishes available, and they all come with their own challenges. Some are easier than others. With some finishes, we can work from outside the forms to complete the finish, reducing the complexity of the installation. On the other hand, a very complicated pattern set over a large area requires careful planning.

Where To Use Trowel Finish

This method/technique of finishing concrete works great with the following applications:

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