What Does Power Trowel Do: Everything You Need to Know

power trowel
A power trowel, synonymous with ‘power float,’ is construction equipment construction industries and contractors use for an immaculate finish to concrete slabs.

Two types of power trowels are available, ride-on power trowels and walk-behind power trowels.

The importance of using them in construction work is that it allows the workers to get an even and smooth layer of concrete after it has been poured but before it is dried up and challenging to mold. This results in an improved concrete look with no bumps or uneven ground. It leaves the work looking highly professional and impeccable.

To a construction company, the condition of the concrete is vital. Trowelling of concrete mix reduces the risk of having cracked concrete, which decreases customer satisfaction and the durability of the concrete.

How does a power trowel work

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 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.

What Are The Uses Of a Power Trowel

What are the uses of a power trowel

Smoothing concrete surfaces

The mechanism behind this is that the flattening of the concrete occurs when the residual water in the concrete mix is squeezed out and evenly distributed, making the concrete compact and smooth. This helps the concrete look even, professionally done, having an impeccable finish.

Creating a level surface for concrete

A level surface for concrete is essential because it decides the foundation of the building or road. If a machine is not used to level the concrete, the uneven and haphazard concrete arrangement will leave the foundation weak and shaky.

Finishing concrete floors

The last step in sealing and leveling the concrete would be using these power trowels to finish concrete floors.

Polishing concrete floors

Rejuvenating the color and look of the concrete floor is also one of the uses of power trowels.

Advantages Of Using a Power Trowel

Advantages of using a power trowel


Compared to manually getting workers to level the concrete, power trowels are extremely helpful in managing time.

Consistent finish

The use of machines has led to a professional finish and the identical look of the whole project, which adds to its professional look.


The machines replace a lot of labor work and time, so you do not need to hire a large number of workers; this is cost-saving. These machines are a great investment as it helps construction companies to minimize the number of staff.

Higher quality results

It produces higher quality results when compared to manually flattening the concrete.

How to Use Safely

How to use a power trowel safely

Personal protective equipment

Wearing helmets, gloves, and heavy-duty boots is a must when it comes to construction work. Safety comes first, always.

Proper maintenance

To prolong the machine’s longevity, it is important that it is used properly and not misused; it is operated by someone who knows how it works, and trained individuals should make sure that proper maintenance is done regularly.

Basic safety precautions

Operators need to ensure that they are standing behind the power trowel at all times and that there are no individuals or things in their way. It is important to slowly work the area to ensure safety.


Power trowels have revolutionalized the construction industries, making it easy for the workers and the company to work on a project, giving the most professional finish and ensuring that the number of laborers is minimum, saving the company money in the long run and improving the results of the work.

The two types of power trowels have their own advantages and disadvantages. In simple words, power trowels have made lives more manageable in the construction industry.