Pea gravel concrete finishing can be completed by the average do-it-yourself homeowner. The mixture consists of pea gravel and Portland cement, and it is finished similarly to regular concrete finishing. You can complete your finishing project in one to two days, depending on the size and scope of the project.
Prepare the cement mix. There are two ways to add pea gravel to your concrete mix. You can order the concrete from a concrete supplier and ask that large gravel be replaced with pea gravel, or you can mix and add the pea gravel to the concrete yourself. If you are mixing the concrete yourself, mix one-half bag Portland cement, eight shovels of sand and 13.5 litres (3 gallons) of water. Mix using a hoe or concrete mixer. After the mix is prepared, add 13.5 to 22.75 litres (3 to 5 gallons) of pea gravel to the mixture.
Pour the mixture into the project area, raking it to the top of the wooden forms. Use a shovel and a hard rake to distribute the concrete. After the concrete has been levelled to the top of the concrete forms, use a concrete trowel to work the concrete smooth. Rub the concrete in circular motions with the concrete trowel until you have a thin layer of concrete mud on the surface.
Float the surface of the pea gravel concrete using a concrete float. The float can be rented from any tool rental store. It has a 120-cm (4-foot) wide aluminium plate attached to a long pole. The float will produce a completely smooth surface that must be allowed to set for 20 minutes or until there is no more water sitting on the surface.
Spray the surface of the concrete using a water hose and a spray nozzle. Use only enough pressure to wash the top layer of concrete mud away. Do a small test area first that is no larger than 30 by 30 cm (12 by 12 inches). If too much cement washes away, leaving deep crevices, refloat the area using a hand trowel and retry in ten minutes. Use a medium bristled brush to help remove the concrete sheen from the surface pea gravel, but don't scrub away the concrete or gravel. The purpose of this step is just to remove the thin layer of concrete that covers the pea gravel surface.
Seal the concrete surface with concrete sealer after 72 hours, using a pump-up garden sprayer.
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