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Old 09-17-2006, 04:56 PM
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DDA52 DDA52 is offline
Blood, Sweat & Concrete
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Bulverde, Tx.
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Bull floating.

The bull float is a long magnesium float on a pole that will smooth out wet concrete in preperation for finishing. It will fill holes and push any rocks the jitterbug left behind. It will also wipe out all marks left behind by the bugg. The floats are usually 42-48" long and 8-10" wide with a smooth bottom. They are used with poles to reach way out and across the slab to get it smoother. The poles are usually 6-8' long and will either screw together or snap together. The old lift style head is the most common. You start out with the poles down low to raise up the leading edge of the float, push the float out across the slab, raise the poles to lift the edge closest to you, and bring it back. The best type head is the rocker or chain drive head. You can move it to and fro without raising the handles. It uses a chain drive mechanism that raises or lowers the float by twisting the handle. These are by far the best and easiest to use.

To float out a slab, begin one foot in the forms...don't start at the edge. If you do, it will pull concrete away from the edge. Push the float out across the slab going at a good clip, but not too fast. Keep the edge up about a half to three quarters of an inch. Go out as far as you can and bring it back, low and slow. Watch and see if it fills all the holes and makes it make the surface smooth. If not, do it again and again until it gets it done. If you have to do it more than three times, move over a foot and then try it. It will have a tendency to make a rut if you don't move it. If it makes a rut, it can be easily fixed by running over the rut from different angles or just by moving the float over again. Once that run is done, move over and set the float down again..this time with a six inch overlap and repeat the cycle.

Pay strict attention as to whether or not it is leaving any marks and filling the holes. You can move paste around by elevating the float higher and pushing more paste to the hole. Once you reach the hole, drop the float at the hole and resume normal height. Sometimes this may need to be done several times to fill a good hole. If the surface does not seem to have enough water on it, a light...VERY LIGHT spray of water will help. A water bucket and brush will work best on small spots. Just be sure to float out all the marks you make.

Bull floating is easy enough to do. With care, it will work out well even for a novice. It will also make a huge mess if you are not be careful. This is the first step in the finish process. If you miss something here, it will bite you later.
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