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Old 09-17-2006, 12:44 AM
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DDA52 DDA52 is offline
Blood, Sweat & Concrete
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Bulverde, Tx.
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Basic tools and what they are used for.

The tools you want will be dictated by the type of finish you are doing. Broom finish surfaces don't generally need as much work or tools as slick finishes. Since most of the questions revolve around shop floors, I will stay in that realm.

Concrete will need several to move the stuff around before and during screeding. Shovels will work as well, but not near as well.

Shovels...self explanatory.

Buckets, at least two and at least one water brush. These are extremely necessary for finishing and clean up. Using a water hose to add water to a drying slab during finishing is a bad idea. It will always put too much on. A water brush will do it much better and will aid in clean up.

Screed board. This will be the board you will grade the concrete with. It should be as long as possible to make short work of the floor. Too long and it will bow too much. 16' 2x4's are ok and as long as wood should be. 12-14 are ideal. If that is too long for the forms, then get one about a foot wider than the forms. That should be plenty. Make sure it is super straight and doesn't have any kerfs and blemishes.

Hand float..wood, alu. or magnesium. Mag is better. They will be used to rough float all concrete after placing. This is the first pass. 15-16" is the best size for general work. I personally like using a 20-24" float, but it can be more difficult to use.

Edger in a 1/2" radius. A 3/8 radius can be used as well. I prefer 1/2 because it will end up looking better. These are for shaping the outer edge at the forms. It will also aid in form removal later when the edges are done with an edger. Not as much garbage all over the edge to hold it to the slab. The sheetmetal types are best. They should be stainless, although a mild steel one will work...just keep it clean. Most are 6" long and 6 wide. For a slab, 6" wide is a must. The little 4" and 2" wide ones are too narrow. You want one that will stay on top without fighting.

Jitterbug. this is basically a tamper for concrete. You use it right after the screeding is done to knock all the rocks down and bring more paste to the top for the bullfloat. It will also smooth out some irregularities left by the screed. It will also help consolidate the concrete a little, helping the air bubbles to work out and get rid of voids.

Bull float. This basically a long mag float on a long pole. It will be used after the screed and jitterbug to make it all as smooth as possible before it starts to set up. The better it gets before final finishing, the easier it will be later.

Steel trowel...they are the main finishing tool and Cutter's nemisis. :evil: They come in all widths and lengths. For a basic all around trowel, I'd start with a 16" stainless or spring steel trowel. Having a 12" around can be good as well for small areas around plumbing, etc. 4" wide is a good width. A bigger one will work, ( I use a 24") but will require more horsepower to use.

Trowel machine or power trowel. This may or may not be needed. Just depends on the size of pour. It can easily do the work of 10 men or more, but takes experience to run. It will do more harm than good in inexperienced hands. This one is best left to the pro's, but you should know about it. It basically floats and finishes the concrete. It applies pressure to the blades to make the concrete flat and smooth. It will also consolidate the concrete making it stronger and less likely to crack. The surface will also be more durable due to the extra consolidation.

Vibrator...this is necessary if you need to fill tall forms or beams and footers. It will vibrate the mix to get the air out and fill in voids along the forms. It is also the worst killer of forms. Forms will move easily if you keep the vibrator in one spot too long. As an alternative, a 2x2 or even 2x4 can be used to rod the concrete. It will do the same thing, but will take longer and use more horsepower.

OK, I think I got the basics....if not I'll add them later or on another post.

Most of this equipment is available for rent. With the exception of the trowel machine and vibrator, all can be gotten at Home Depot even.

Edit: I neglected to mention concrete boots. They will be absolutely necessary if you will be inside, in the concrete. Gloves may also be a good idea. I use the knit ones with the rubber fingers and palm. They won't stop the water, but will give you a good grip when wet, which happens a lot.

Grand High Poobah...(by appointment.)

Last edited by DDA52; 09-18-2006 at 11:39 PM.
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