I just poured concrete for an outside patio that is roughly 21' long x 5' wide. It has the appropriate slope for drainage. Once it's fully cured I plan to lay 24" x 16" travertine stone tiles over it. The stone pieces are roughly 1 1/2" thick. Unfortunately I'm a concrete rookie and the surface is not smooth. Is there a simply way for me to smooth the surface enough for the tile while maintaining the drainage slope?

  • You will want a finished surface that is rough enough not to be slippery when wet. Looking at the post time , you may be able to run a broom over the surface even now . A friend and I left the first patio we poured, smooth and it was slippery like ice when ever wet. Commented Aug 31, 2019 at 21:30
  • Smooth is not so much the problem but slope. A rough surface is fine but if you do not have a slope you may need to do some grinding or a heck of a job with thinset providing a proper slope.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 2:17

1 Answer 1


Isn't it a little late to be asking that question?? Get a 2x4 and run it along the framing for the concrete, smoothing it out.

Even if the concrete isn't totally smooth, when you install the tile you can smooth the rough surface of the concrete with the mortar... If the slab you poured has the proper slope make sure each tile is flush with the slab and you'll get the slope you desire. Good luck

  • Jack, like I said, I'm a rookie with concrete. I ran the 2X4 across to level but there wasn't a frame. I was penned-in on the long sides by the house foundation on the right and a wavy surface brick wall on the left. I followed my chalk lines the best I could and then used a trowel. Still, the concrete has some slight high and low places. It sounds like what you're saying is that I can use the mortar to even out the surface as I set the stone making sure to press the stone down firmly. Is that about right? Commented Aug 31, 2019 at 20:25
  • That's right Scott. The slab doesn't have to be smooth like a sidewalk. As long as the slab is flat and sloped, when you set the stones in place they'll follow the slope.
    – JACK
    Commented Aug 31, 2019 at 20:57
  • 1
    In some points you may not push the tile hard if it is a low point, I like to verify a minimum of 3 tiles when trying to fix a slope problem. I would want close to an inch slope away from the house where I live over 5’ but Oregon rains every month out of the year.+
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 2:24
  • Good point...... same problem here in Miami... and hurricanes.
    – JACK
    Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 10:20
  • Thank you gentlemen. This is helpful. Jack, I hope you are not in the path of Dorian. My sister and he husband are in Cocoa Beach. They're on pins and needles right now. Best of luck to you. Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 20:14

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