To accomplish a quality concrete-laying job, the proper tools are very helpful. You can rent concrete finishing tools or buy these, personally, for a business I think owning them is a good choice as they are everyday use tools.
For a contractor starting out, I can say you get these little by little as you go on. At the moment I own everything else, but the stencils and floor grinder as I don’t do that kind of work a lot. When I have to, I rent.
From tools to help you smooth the surface to custom-designed concrete finishing tools that will help you with a stamping job, the right tools can make a difference between a poorly done job and a quality one. With proper tools, such a concrete job is within your reach.
One of the first tools you will need to finish concrete is a grinder. This machine is very important because it helps to roughen up the surface of the concrete so that it reacts with the acid wash or the acid cleaner.
If you have the proper diamond pads, these machines can even be used to polish concrete to a smooth and shiny state of perfection. So if you plan on doing, or do, a lot of this kind of work it might be a good investment.
If you are doing a small project, a handheld grinder might work for you; however, most projects will need a larger machine that is pushed across the floor if you work with inside floors. I mainly work with balconies, walls, and ceilings so the bigger ones aren’t useful for me.
Also worthy of notice is that both of these should have an attachment for vacuum when you can’t be spreading dust. The smaller grinders make a lot of concrete dust which is bad for breathing and makes a lot of mess so they should be used with a vacuum always.
That’s right, a vacuum is one of the most important tools of a pro as you need to get your surfaces clean. You need one that has a removable filter that you can easily clean as concrete dust will get it suffocated fast.
So powerful vacuum is as important as the grinder, if not more important working inside, as you need to get your surfaces clean to do any kind of finishing work. Also, get a wet/dry vac as you never know when you need to suck some water off the floors.
Staining and painting stencils
Another concrete finishing tool that every concrete layer should have handy is a set of stencils. With these, you will be able to create beautiful designs that add character and personality to the floor.
They are usually applied with an acid-etching process that uses an acid to eat away at the concrete to which it is exposed. Owning a set of stencils will increase your repertoire and bring you more jobs from people looking for a unique way to finish their concrete floor.
There are also stencils for non-acid staining and painting. Be sure to check what is good for what if you buy some. These things can get as you go as well if they are not your main income.
There are also stencils that you can use with concrete overlays etc. to create imitations of tiles and such. Be sure to know what kind of stencils you’re getting here as well, painting stencils might break easily if you mix them with paper-looking ones. Customers might have their own ideas as well, but some basic ones can help you now and then.
These stencils usually come in either sheets or rolls, depending on what they are made from. Most stencils are made of paper that has been covered in thick plastic to prevent tearing. Others are made of plastic sheets and have a much longer shelf life than their paper counterparts.
Now it’s finally time for concrete workers best friend outdoors, a pressure washer. It is indispensable to concrete finishing jobs really.
This tool is especially useful for old concrete resurfacing. It provides a high blast of water that can help to eliminate oil, debris, and dirt from the surface before you refinish it.
In addition, it saves plenty of time because you can both sweep and scrub at once when you use a power washer.
If you need to fix cracks on concrete or rusted rebar that has popped the concrete off, this tool can help you to get the dust and lose concrete off so the patch will adhere to it.
Now, this is something concrete renovators need a lot. Not only for drilling holes and putting paintings on the wall, but it can also be used to let loose the soft concrete near cracks and digging out rusted rebar to be fixed.
This is the tool I’ve used the most during my career with balconies besides my trowels. That’s why I got my own machine so I don’t have to spend time with poor overused ones when good ones aren’t available.
I must tell you, best decision ever as the older I get the more annoyed I’m with doing the ceilings.
Mixer, bucket and trowels
Sorry for putting all of these together, but they usually go hand in hand. To be a portable concrete worker you must have your own means to mix concrete so hand held mixer is good. You also need buckets and the ones for concrete are usually really cheap, I use them to store my trowels as well.
Last are the trowels. You need a few hand trowels for digging concrete/different compounds from the bucket and of course finishing trowels for doing the surface. I have various lengths for doing small patches to big walls. As stated at the beginning, you will get these as you go on with your career.
Old trusty broom
Last, but another golden tool if you are just planning to lay concrete and leave it without any fancy additions, you will need a concrete laying broom. This broom is specifically designed for concrete laying. It helps create a skid-resistant surface that kids and dogs alike can run or walk on with ease.
These eight tools/toolsets are essential to anyone planning to go into the concrete laying and finishing business. They will help you create many unique concrete slabs that will delight your customers for years to come.
Some of them are specifically for finishing a concrete pad in an extra special way, while others are to simply finish a concrete job in a standard fashion while making the job one of the best you have ever done.
And of course not forgetting the renovation, you don’t always work with new slabs, but have to remove tiles, carpet or fix cracks.
With the proper concrete finishing tools, you will be able to provide quality concrete services to any who ask.