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CoGripedia your encyclopedia of terms used in the industrial flooring industry.

Floating

Summary

Floating is the process of further settling aggregate and allowing fat to rise to the surface in a concrete floor. It also helps to remove slight imperfections in the surface flatness.

Technical Information

Floating is an essential step in finishing a concrete floor. It leaves the floor with a layer of fat above the aggregate, which is essential for other finishes, such as a trowelled or textured finish.

It is important to time floating correctly. A simple and effective indicator of whether it is time to float the concrete is how deep an imprint is left by a boot’s heel. If the imprint is more than a few mm deep, the concrete is not yet ready to be floated and if the heel leaves no imprint, it is too late for floating to be effective.

Mis-timing floating could have the following consequences for the slab surface:

  • If a slab is floated before bleeding has finished, there is an increased risk of delamination.
  • If the slab is floated whilst the concrete is still too soft, the surface can be torn up.
  • If the slab has hardened too much before floating begins, the floating will be ineffective and the surface imperfections will remain.   

The following equipment can be used to float a concrete floor slab:

Power float – A power trowel fitted with float blades or a pan. The best way to float large areas quickly.

Bull float – A T-shaped handheld tool consisting of a long handle and a float blade (up to 3m in width).

Hand float – A float blade with a handle on the back. Suitable for small areas and for places that can’t be reached by a power float in larger projects, such as panel corners.

Too much power floating can lead to a darkening of the surface of the slab, known as burnishing.

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