The Differences Between Trowel and Float Finishes on Concrete

trowel finish vs float finish concrete

If you’re planning to have concrete poured on your property, you may be wondering what type of finish you should choose. The two most popular finishes are trowel and float. Here’s a look at the differences between trowel finish vs float finish concrete and which one may be right for your project.

What is Trowel Finish?

Trowel finish is a method of applying a smooth, even layer of plaster or stucco to a wall or surface. The name comes from the tool that is used to apply the material, which is called a trowel. Trowel finish is often used on interior walls and ceilings, as well as on exteriors in areas that are not subject to wind or rain. It can also be used to repair damaged walls or surfaces. To achieve a trowel finish, the plaster or stucco is first mixed to a thin consistency. Then, the trowel is used to spread the material evenly over the surface. Once the material has hardened, it can be sanded and painted or left as-is. Trowel finish is a popular choice for many homeowners because it creates a clean, polished look.

What is Float Finish?

A float finish is a type of plastering technique that is used to create smooth, level surfaces. The name comes from the fact that the plasterer uses a float, or trowel, to apply the plaster in a thin, even layer. Once the plaster has been applied, the plasterer then uses the float to smooth out any bumps or imperfections. This results in a surface that is much smoother and more level than if the plaster had been applied with a brush or other tool. Float finishes are commonly used on walls and ceilings and can also be used on floors. While a float finish takes some practice to master, it can greatly improve the look of any room.

What is the difference between float finish vs. Trowel finish?

When it comes to concrete finishes, there are really only two main options: float finish vs. trowel finish. A float finish is achieved by using a power trowel to quickly smooth out the concrete surface. This type of finish is typically used for interior applications where a smoother, more polished look is desired. A trowel finish, on the other hand, is achieved by hand-troweling the concrete to create a more textured, rough look. This type of finish is often used for exterior applications where a non-slip surface is needed. Both float and trowel finishes have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it really just comes down to personal preference in most cases.


When choosing between trowel and float finishes for your concrete project, there are several factors to consider. If you need a durable surface that can withstand heavy traffic or harsh weather conditions, trowel finish is the better option. However, if you’re working with a limited budget or timeline, float finish may be the way to go. Ultimately, the decision comes down to your specific needs and preferences.