Even as a small tool, trowel comes to mind when we need to smoothen some surface by spreading the construction material. But power trowel means the trowel used for spreading the construction material in order to smoothen the surface is the heavier machinery that uses electrical and mechanical power to achieve at the desired outcome. More power is needed while working with concrete. Concrete is a hard material to work upon and more power is needed to smoothen the surfaces made of concrete. Imparting smooth finish to the concrete slabs is where the use of a power trowel comes in light.
Types of Power Trowel:
On the basis of the controlling methods, power trolls are broadly classified into two types. These are:
- Ride-on power trowels: These type of power trolls are operated manually. An operator sits on the machine and uses several press buttons to execute the actions.
- Walk-behind power trowels: These are also operated manually, but the operator operating the machine does not sit on the machine. Instead, he walks behind the machine.
Different power trowels also vary in the blades they use. They use different blades, for the main objective is the same: levelling the surface and smoothening it, yet the conditions in which they are used differently. So, the blades installed are also different.
For the operators who need assistance on how to effectively an properly use a power trowel, we have summed up some basics to give insight and light into efficient usage of power trowels.
- Choice of the power trowel:
The first challenge is to make the right decision and choose the right power trowel that fits our requirement. If you want to level a smaller area of concrete, say less than 1000 square feet, what may help you is a pushable trowel. But if you need to get working upon the larger concrete slabs, ride-on trowels will suffice your requirements. For small purposes, just 24 to 36 inches blades are used. Customization is possible when talking of blades. We have a choice of float blades and finish blades or we can use a combination of both to get the smooth concrete floor in just a single go. But for larger slabs, we will need bigger blades ranging between 36 inches and 48 inches. But for corners, we might most commonly use the same blade of 24 inches.
- Checking the concrete:
Once the blade is selected in accordance with the job, what needs our attention is the concrete. The timing to start the trowel is crucial. We will need to check it if it is ready for the power trowel. One can learn this if he is a regular worker. But, for newer people, it is important to know when is the concrete just ready to be able to bear and respond to the power trowel. It needs to be firm but still not hard enough to work upon. The power trowel has to do the setting work. So, it should not be completely set. Stepping on and just off the concrete slab is the most common and obvious test for a beginner or someone who has not yet mastered the skill. The footprint less than 1/8th of an inch is the perfect indicator to initiate troweling.
- Know the trowel before you use it:
It is well more important to know the instrument before using rather than doing an unfinished job. Learning equipment needs the operator to have knowledge of the composition. What are the parts equipped in the machinery and how to operate them are the questions that need to be answered before initiating the trowel? Let us now learn a trowel’s components
o The Handle: It is a steering device for the operator to give direction to the trowel.
o The Gearbox: The connection between the engine and the spider assembly that has the job to supply the power.
o The Engine: It is the power that propels the trowel.
o The blades: These are located as a part of the assembly and sets into a continuous motion utilizing power from the engine.
o Assembly is quite well known as spider-assembly.
o The safety ring ensures protection to the blades.
Troweling ensures that there is no excess water in the concrete and it can further be processed for levelling.
- Floating and Levelling: Now you may want to bring evenness to the surface. Here comes the choice of the blades. You may use any single blade or may even use the combination of both depending upon the desired outcome. Flat pans are available for initial stages of troweling. Floating is done to evenly distribute the machine load over the concrete so as to obtain even levelling. Also for the blades to perform well, the speed of the trowel should not be more or less than 3/4. Remember to keep the blades flat to avoid digging into the concrete and ensure flat and even surface. Try going at 90 degrees across to confirm no bumps are left and the surface is smooth. Mud-slinging of the concrete should not happen and this is prevented by the blades. Hybrid blades are a more flexible option to use. They can decrease the time that goes into the whole process. Even distribution of the machine’s weight above the concrete base is the basic essential key to the whole process. Evenly distributed weight only can create a smooth finish.
- Finishing: Floating blades are flexible and can be easily replaced with the finishing blades. Finishing blades are used to finish the job. Now the blades need not be kept flat. Rather they need to run at a full pitch as well as the full speed. If the desired job is on the porous concrete, what you will need is the maximum possible pressure. Now you may make the choice of smoothening. You can enjoy a glossy finish or give it a classy matte finish.