A concrete patio can provide the perfect surface for your backyard living space. You can easily push a grill across the concrete, and it's pretty easy to keep clean and in good condition. One decision you will need to make when choosing a concrete patio design is the type of finish you would like the concrete to have. Here's a look at some popular options and how they compare.
To hand trowel a finish on a concrete pad, your contractor will simply use a flat blade to smooth the surface while the concrete is still wet. The surface will be basically smooth, but there will be some raised lines where the strokes from the flat blade are obvious. A hand-troweled finish is a somewhat rustic, natural design that might look nice in a country backyard.
Another simple option is to have your contractor go over the concrete with a broom after it is poured. This will create a relatively smooth surface but with fine lines left by the broom head. The advantage of a broomed finish is that it gives the concrete some traction, which may be a real advantage if you live in an area where winter brings lots of ice and snow.
If you want a concrete patio that has a bit more interest, consider opting for an aggregate finish. Basically, your contractor will place some larger pieces of stone or rock in the concrete, leaving them partially exposed at the top. This will give the surface a rocky look, which may be really nice if your yard has a lot of rocks elsewhere in the landscape. Aggregate finishes also have a rough texture, making them good for icy and wet days.
If you like concrete that looks a bit weathered and pitted, then a salt finish might be perfect. This is often used around pools, but it can look nice on a backyard patio, too. Your contractor will sprinkle textured rock salt onto the concrete and pat it in somewhat. Then, once the concrete is dry, they will rinse it, which will melt the salt and leave the concrete with a bunch of little dents in the top.
To learn more about these and other concrete finishing options that may work for your patio, talk to a concrete finishing service. They can show you photos, which will further help you make your decision.