What is the best way to achieve a smooth finish on a poured-in-place countertop?
Screed the piece with absolute precision, and have an expert trowel the surface. Timing and feel are critical in getting a flat, smooth finish. If you’re planning on lightly polishing and grinding the concrete after it has cured sufficiently (4 days or more, depending on your mix design and cure time), you’ll want the flattest surface possible to avoid extra polishing work. Ultimately, however, a troweled finish will never be as even, smooth, and glossy as a precast countertop. For more information about pouring a countertop in place, refer to Appendix B, “Pouring a Countertop in Place”, in Concrete Countertops.