I take it you have not done this before and you will not have anyone
helping you who has.
First question how big are the slabs and how are you getting the
Note, there is no simple answer to your question since the mix, and
temperature cause a lot of variations. It takes a little experience to
guess ahead of time and a little experience and judgment to tell when it is
Unless the slabs are very small, I suggest you have it done, or at least
find someone who has done it a few times.
You don't wait. First you bull float the slab to work up enough mud to
finish, and rough edge it to knock the rocks back into the mix. Then you
mag float it to catch any irregularities the bull float missed. Then you
steel it once real quick to seal the surface and flash it hard, hit it
with an edger and either broom it or steel it for a final finish.
If you are going for exposed aggregate, spray sugar water on the surface
after the mag float to retard the surface cure, and wait to hose the
surface off until the rocks won't move around when you poke the surface
with your finger. You can seed the surface with pretty rocks as you bull
float if you like.
The only time you end up waiting is in cold weather. In warm weather,
you have to move right along or the slab will set up before you get it
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