In general, both the ride on power trowel and the walk behind power trowel are very simple to use. However, learning how to use them does not mean that you can use the machine to create a very good looking floor, this also requires a certain amount of experience. So if you want to create the perfect floor, you will need to follow a few construction standards and a lot of practice during the construction process. Finally, we would like to remind you that no matter which machine you use, you should always operate it safely and in strict accordance with the rules of use. We believe that after some time you will become a master of concrete construction.
Preparing the Power Trowel for use
Before explaining how to use a power trowel, let’s take a look at some of the preparations that need to be made and some of the checks that should be made before using it.
Before using the machine, you need to check whether the tank of the machine has enough petrol or diesel fuel. Adequate petrol and diesel should be prepared according to the amount of fuel required for the construction area, so that the lack of fuel does not affect the normal construction of the project.
- Before using the machine should be checked, the machine parts of the screws and other fasteners are solid, not firmly positioned should be tightened solid in use.
- carefully check whether the engine oil is in the normal position, if the engine lacks oil should be refilled to the specified position in a timely manner, so as not to cause engine downtime or failure in the construction process.
- Use a general purpose lubricant to fully lubricate each mechanical joint of the machine.
When to use the power towel
By treating freshly poured concrete before it has dried, the desired smooth and even surface can be achieved.
For small surfaces a hand trowel can be used, but for large surfaces a walk behind Power towel or even a ride on Power towel are better options, as they are faster and more efficient.
Power towels are fairly simple to use, but as with any equipment, they require training and a little practice to maximise their potential. If you have never used one before then you may find the following tips particularly useful.
When to use Power towel
Make sure that your pour is carried out on a rain-free day. Once the pour is complete, the concrete mixture will begin to dry. It is vital to wait for the right time to start your trowel.
A useful guide to knowing when you can start your Power towel is when the operator can stand on the surface of the concrete and leave footprints about 1/8″-1/4″ deep that you can firmly walk on top of without the top layer sticking in your boots, ready to power smoothen.
Right away you will know if you are working on the top 1/4″ of mud, or if you are sinking. -Watch it carefully and stop if you think it’s too soft.
How to use the Ride On Power Trowel
The Ride on power trowel is very simple to operate and all movements are carried out using the two levers on the machine. When both levers of the machine are pushed forward at the same time, the machine moves forward. When both levers are pulled backwards at the same time, the machine moves backwards. When both levers are pulled to the left or right at the same time, the machine also moves to the left or right. The machine moves either clockwise or anti-clockwise when the levers are pulled forward and backward at the same time. One of the two pedals on the machine is the accelerator pedal and the other is the safety pedal. The function of the accelerator pedal is to control the engine speed and thus the operating speed of the ride on trowel machine. The function of the safety pedal is to ensure the safety of the operator. When the operator’s foot leaves the safety pedal, the machine will stop.
How to use the Walk behind Power Trowel
When moving the Power towel, lift the handle up a little to the left and push it down to the right. The machine does not respond immediately, so make sure that the machine does not swing too far in either direction. Smoothing first, finish second. Concrete surfaces should be smoothed before the finish is applied. This means that the smoothing machine must first be equipped with the correct smoothing tool.
Selection of Power Trowel blades
The combi-blades are easy to use because you only need to bolt on one set of blades; you let the blades float flat and then adjust the angle of the spacing for finishing. The front side of the blades is curved upwards and the back side has a flat edge. However, a combination blade is more expensive than using a combination of floating and finishing blades. Some people don’t mind changing the blade, so it depends on your preference.
Panning – Once again, keep the Finish Blades bolted to the trowel; all you have to do is slide the Clip-On smoothing blade onto the finish blade and you’re ready to go. Once you have effectively smoothed the concrete, simply slide the smoothing blade off and use the finishing blade, starting with a slight incline. After rotating 180 degrees, you are ready to use both sides of the Finish Blades.
Once again, fix the Finish Blades to the trowel. Place the entire spatula on the flush plate and slide the blades into the provided clamps. The floating disk covers more surface area, helping you to get more work done faster. However, due to the larger surface area of the floating plate, panning requires more operator effort and control.
To achieve a perfect surface finish, 3 things need to be considered.
Do not overwork the concrete and try to overlap it as evenly as possible.
Level the machine at a low speed and keep it moving.
Do not sit in one place or change direction abruptly.
Surface preparation of concrete is carried out after smoothing to produce a dense, smooth, hard surface. Two or more successive treatments may be required to produce the desired floor surface. It is important to allow the necessary time between two successive applications to allow the concrete to reach a proper solidification.
Some contractors find it more productive to use two machines. One machine is equipped with a smoothing blade and the other with a finisher blade.
This allows immediate smoothing and subsequent finishing operations to be carried out. The additional machine can also be used as a back-up in the event of a breakdown.
For smoothing and finishing operations, the angle of the blade is important.
Here we can see that the angle of the blade is flat.
Start the first pass with the blade slightly elevated (unless it is an old blade) …….
Each successive smoothing, increase the angle of the blade (the maximum should not exceed 1″ [2.5cm]). With each successive pass, the angle is increased slightly in order to exert more pressure on the hardened surface.
The increased blade pressure provides a dense, durable concrete surface.
Precautions for use of the Power Trowel
When Blades is tilted or inclined at an excessive angle, you may notice edges along the radius line when sweeping the shovel – this is known as chatter, or shovel chatter. If this happens, reduce the tilt and continue shovelling until the surface is smooth and level.
If a second smoothing is carried out, it should be at right angles to the direction of the first smoothing, with successive trowelling operations perpendicular to the initial trowelling direction. Each successive finishing pass should overlap with the previous pass and be half the width of the machine. This type of finishing pattern will ensure complete coverage of the slab and minimise surface defects.
Pouring multiple slabs next to each other
When two different slabs are poured next to each other, the concrete on one side of the trowel may be softer than on the other, in which case the machine should be run parallel to the gap where the two concrete slabs meet. In this case, the machine should be run parallel to the seam where the two concrete slabs meet. The blades should overlap the joints by a few inches. If the machine runs through the gap, you may end up with a bulge.
Normally the concrete that is placed first should be smoothed and trowelled, but it must be understood that some areas will set more quickly than others and must be completed in the order in which they set.
When outdoors, concrete in the sun will set more quickly due to the heat. When indoors, concrete near door openings may set faster due to exposure to wind and air currents.
When the concrete is ready, trowel and surface treatment should be carried out regularly. Make sure that each successive passage overlaps the previous one by half the width of the machine.
Bull floating (show on left) is done side-to-side, while the power floating is done around the edge (down on right). The first pass is in north-south mode, the second pass is in east-west mode.
Remember that the machine cannot be operated in one place for too long. The machine is moved over the mat in the same sweeping manner as when dressing by hand.
Although the operator’s footprints will be scraped off, he should wear rubber boots to minimise disturbance to the surface.
Correcting excesses and depressions
Surface defects can be repaired by using different finishing patterns. Bumps and troughs left after smoothing can be corrected during the refinishing process. The low spots are filled by going around them in a clockwise direction and continuing with the normal pattern. Corrections can also be made along the high points of the template.
Note the direction in which the machine moves in relation to the defect.
When there is a valley, operate the machine in the left direction. This will pull the concrete into the valley bottom. When there is too much concrete causing a hump, smoothen the concrete in the direction in which it is moved to make it smooth.
Points to note during operation
1. Before operation, check whether the motor, switch and cable meet the safety requirements. Connect the cables to the reducer box cover to prevent leakage of electricity.
2.Once the cables have been connected, turn the power trowel over so that the trowel board is suspended. Then open the switch and check that the float is rotating in the correct direction.
3.Check that the bolts on the trowel board, safety cover etc. are not loose.
4.The operator should wear flat-soled shoes to ensure a level surface.
At the end of the job, remove any residual mortar from the machine and wipe the trowel plate and trowel unit connection screws clean and grease them for protection.
Completing all these steps and following these guidelines will help to ensure that you create the perfect concrete floor.