Basic Mechanics Of a Power Trowel
The basic mechanics of a power trowel includes two steps.
Step 1: Floating the newly poured concrete.
This simply means ‘filling the deficits’. The floating process includes leveling of high spots and filling holes or valleys. This results in the compaction of the concrete. This ensures no imperfections are left on the concrete, preparing it for the next step in the process.
Step 2: Finishing the surface
The science behind this step is concrete trowelling causes the excess or residual water to be squeezed from the concrete to prevent concrete cracking and give it an even and compact look. There are several irregularities in the concrete mix, and these need to be removed to prolong the longevity of the concrete.
The operator will now use a straight flat, edged blade for this step. This will level the concrete slab and produce a smooth and dense surface.
A friendly warning would be to watch out for excessive troweling. There is an art to knowing the exact amount of residual water to be left in the concrete mix to preserve its appearance and long life. Over-trowelling threatens the integrity of the concrete. It results in the degradation of the time taken for the concrete to dry as over-trowelling closes and seals the pores in the slab, making it overly compact and stiff.
Types of power trowels available
Currently, two types are available in the construction business, with much research and development on the way.
Ride-on power trowels
These are suitable for finishing large concrete floors. The word ‘ride-on’ suggests that it does not need any manual energy from the operator as the worker can just sit down and operate the machine.
There are a lot of creative designs of these types of machines, such as an integrated trolley for carrying blades and smaller and more significant blades for smoothing and polishing, respectfully. All of these qualities make this an ideal machine for smoothening large surfaces.
They are cost-effective and save time and labor. Operators just have to sit on the machines and direct them, and it is super easy to control as they are equipped with steering wheels and easy-to-use operating systems. It is like riding a bike! They allow the operators to save time to do something useful and minimize work hours.
These are much more convenient and faster to use than the second type, walk-behind machines.
Walk-behind trowel machines are ideal for small surfaces compared to ride-on power trowels. Primarily because the ride-on model cannot reach tight spaces or around protrusions, this is where the walk-behind machines come in handy, typically because they are low maintenance.
They are also less sturdy, lighter, and easily transported anywhere on the construction site. This is advantageous because this allows the operators to get onto the concrete surface faster than transporting heavy, sturdy ride-on machines. Some companies even prefer manual models because they are satisfied with completing the work to perfection, as in getting the concrete flattened in every nook and corner of the construction site.
The machines are used to pre-smooth, trowel, and polish the concrete. They are also equipped with the option to adjust the power, working diameter, and balancing measure.