Power Trowel: Types and Proper Usage

power trowelA power trowel is a type of construction equipment that is used to smooth out concrete slabs. This equipment has two known types, mainly the walk-behind trowel and the ride-on trowel. Each type has its own benefits over the other, and choosing the trowel usually depends on the area that will be covered by your construction project. Whatever type you may choose, it is important to note that timing is an essential element to create a good finish.

Trowel Types
Walk-behind Trowel: If you are going to level an area that is below 1,000 square-feet, a walk-behind towel with 24 to 36-inch blades will suffice. The 24-inch diameter blades are mainly used for edges, while the 30-inch diameter blades are used mainly on edges, patios, driveways, and basements. The larger ones, which measure 36 to 42 inches in diameter, are commonly used for pours and all floor types. Using a pan is highly recommended for the ones with smaller blades, while it is not advisable for the larger models.

Ride-on Trowel: If you need to cover areas that are over 1,000 square-feet in size, the ride-on trowel is more advisable. The ride-on type allows you to finish your job more quickly before the concrete becomes too firmly set on the floor. Blades that are 36 to 48 inches are recommended, while a 24-inch blade is advisable for smoothening corners. The 36-inch diameter rotor is actually the most recommended choice for first time buyers because it is easy to control and it’s ideal for small to medium sized areas. The larger ones, on the other hand, are recommended for use on large pours and large placements.

When choosing a trowel, you should consider the total area that will be covered by your project, concrete and air temperature, and relative humidity.

Trowel Accessories
Clip-on Float Blades: These blades are usually used on your first pass over the flooring surface. It is also utilized to embed aggregate and to consolidate concrete for other finishing projects. If FF values are not indicated, using clip-on float blades is a good idea.

Combination Blades: These blades are commonly used in residential areas. It provides a good transition from floating to troweling by ensuring that the surface ends up smooth and flat. Combination blades are highly recommended if you want to get rid of bumps and fills on your floors.

Float Pans: Pans are advisable for floors with FF specifications, and it will be able to flatten out areas better because it gives the machine more surface contact with the floor. If you are using float pans, make sure you make at least two passes and that each pass is perpendicular to your previous pass.

Safety Precautions
Before operating your trowel, it is necessary to wear the proper safety gear such as goggles, ear protector, and boots with steel toe. If you are going to change the blades, make sure you wear heavy leather work gloves to keep your hands from acquiring wounds and scratches. Slow down when you have to turn because the trowel may trip over when you go too fast. Also, keep other people away from your work area to prevent them from marring the floor surface or from having unnecessary accidents.

To keep your trowel in good condition, make sure you grease its arms and check the air filter on a daily basis. You should also check the oil level and its belt's condition and tension. Inspect the machine if there are any loose bolts or nuts because it may be unsafe for use if the fasteners are not tightened the right way. If you are going to move the trowel to different places, make sure that it is handled with utmost care during transport. The trowel is actually more prone to acquire damage from improper handling than for finishing huge concrete projects.

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