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How to apply a Splatter Knockdown

Splatter knockdowns are the most popular concrete pool deck resurfacing finish. Their surface is non-slip which is ideal for wet areas around pools. They also diffuse the temperature which makes them slightly cooler to walk on with bare feet. Let’s go step by step to show how you achieve a splatter knockdown finish.

After your normal surface preparation has been completed and all areas to be protected have been masked off; it is time to apply your skim or base coat. This is done with a magic trowel or rubber squeegee.

If you are going to have a grout line then your base coat would have the desired grout color mixed into it. Make sure this coat is as smooth as possible and then let it dry.

Before moving to the next step let me say, I have seen these applications done many ways but I believe the best and most consistent look is achieved by doing two spray coats. That is the technique I will explain here.

Once we have our first spray coat mixed up with the desired color it is time to get busy with the hopper gun. I have found a Marshalltown Sharp Shooter to be the absolute best gun for applying spray textures.

A tip here is to learn to do a splatter knockdown by sight and sound. Look to see what the texture is looking like and listen to what the hopper gun is sounding like. The only thing I concern myself with is that my compressor is set at 55 psi before I start. After that, everything is controlled by pressure and volume at the gun.

I like to spray my first coat with very low volume and almost full pressure. This makes a hissing sound and the texture is very grainy. It is not big and bubbly but more like a 60 grit piece of sand paper.

Move your hopper gun in a circular motion when spraying to avoid lap lines. Be sure to spray past the edges so you have the same texture and coverage.

After this coat is dry which is pretty fast you can mix up and apply the knockdown coat. I like to mix this at the same consistency as the other coats but I change my air pressure and volume at the gun.

For the knockdown coat I am looking for full volume by pulling the hopper gun trigger all the way back but very low air pressure. The sound is like a muddled rapid fire gun. What you are looking for is dime to nickel size drops shooting from the hopper gun.

After a small section has been coated like this it is time to knock it down which is how the name splatter knockdown came to be.

Using a clean steel trowel, you will at a 45 degree angle lightly smooth these drops to be flat. Kind of like a train running over a penny. Work the trowel in different directions to reflect the light in different ways. On large areas you can use a stand up flex smoother mounted on a handle to knockdown more at a time and without bending over.

Be careful to not over trowel as this will slick the knockdown and make it look like smooth troweled concrete and not the splatter knockdown finish.

A splatter knockdown is actually one of the easiest concrete overlay finishes to apply. As you become more confident as an applicator you can get a little fancier by high-lighting with the hopper gun almost like air brushing.

You can also use two hopper guns at once with two different colors to marbleize the two together when you knockdown the droplets.

After this is dry I recommend using a scraper and running over the whole surface to remove any sharp edges the trowel may have left.

Blow this off with a leaf blower and you are ready to seal. This is how you achieve a beautiful splatter knockdown.

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