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Polishing Concrete with a Power Trowel

You have probably heard of using a concrete grinder to achieve beautiful polished concrete floors, but have you ever thought about using a concrete power trowel? You may even be asking what is a concrete power trowel? A Power Trowel also commonly called a power float is a piece of construction equipment that is used to apply a smooth finish to concrete slabs. Traditionally a power trowel has been used to level concrete. That has changed in recent years as these powerful machines have been known to create polished concrete quickly and efficiently compared to a concrete grinder. There are two types of power trowels, ride-on, and walk-behind. Walk-Behind will give you an advantage compared to a grinder, but the real value and process will be much easier with a ride-on because of their size and ease of use.  

Why should you use a power trowel to polish concrete?206713

Big projects become more of a reality. A job that would take 15 days to complete with a grinder, can now be completed in 6 days. In a day and time where good labor can be hard to come by, using one man on a large trowel can save you lots of time and money.

Not only does this save you money, but you can also charge more for your services. You have heard the saying “time is money”. By completing polish jobs faster than your competition, or being able to quote customers less time for a complete job, your profits will increase compared to using a grinder.

Another great aspect of polishing with a trowel is the multi-use of the machine. A trowel is a machine to level and finish concrete slabs, but now you have the opportunity to polish concrete as well. Having more equipment in your fleet of machines will only open new doors you previously could not open.

When should you use a concrete grinder vs a trowel?Stonecrete 4 

As great as a power trowel seems, it is not a win-win in all situations. In some cases, a concrete grinder is a better choice. For instance, uneven concrete or deep cracks will need a grinder. A power trowel will be great for polishing, but not removing large amounts of concrete.

Dry grinding is also a benefit grinders have compared to trowels. Trowel polishing will need to be done as a wet process, requiring slurry cleanup.

Here are a few other reasons a Grinder may be a better option

  • Jobsite Size – Power trowels are relatively large, and you might only need a grinder. If you are working in a small enclosed area, a grinder maybe the best option. 
  • Power options – Grinders come in a variety of options to fit the needs of the job site. 
  • Easier clean-up – Grinders combined with a Dust collector will make light work for cleaning.
  • No exhaust fumes- many grinders run on electric motors making them quiet and efficient. Although, this is not always the case. Some grinders run on propane and gasoline. 

How is polishing with a trowel done?

First, you need to convert the trowel into a polishing machine with the right adapters. This will essentially turn the trowel into a large planetary grinder. You will then get the appropriate diamond pads that fit your system, and polish as you would a grinder. The main difference only being the size of the machine. Just remember these need to be done as a wet process rather than a dry one. If you already know how to polish concrete this is a great next step to increase profits and save you time on those large polishing jobs. 

If you are unsure about the polish process, check out this great article on how to polish concrete

Polish Process image




concrete surface preparation, Surface Preparation


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