Trowel polishing is quietly becoming a popular method of polishing concrete in the surface preparation industry. But if you’ve tried looking into the technique online, you’ve probably come away disappointed at the lack of reliable information out there. Luckily, Runyon Surface Prep is here to set the record straight. Our talented team is dedicated to providing not just the right tools for a job, but also critical information that you can use to refine your skills and expand your service offerings. We’ve put together a helpful guide on trowel polishing to get you started.
Benefits of the Power Trowel System
You’re likely already familiar with using a trowel unit to create a level finish on a variety of concrete surfaces. Floating, finishing, and combination blades are used to produce the desired end result. But more and more contractors are removing those blades and putting their trowels to a different use.
Power trowels are increasingly being used to polish and grind concrete, and for good reason. While the method isn’t right for every concrete floor, the advantages of power trowel polishing are numerous. The minimal start-up costs mean that introducing this service offering to your customers is simple—and so is reaping the significant return. Trowel polished concrete offers a similar look to that created through traditional polishing methods, meaning that you can maintain your high-quality work while shortening timelines and cutting down on costs. In fact, trowel polishing concrete has been shown to reduce labor by approximately 75% when compared to traditional planetary grinding.
Runyon Surface Prep saw the immense potential of trowel polishing and sought to unlock it. After three years of research, testing, and development, we released the RSP Magnetic Preload System in 2018. This innovative system makes tooling changes simple, efficient, and quick.
Ultimately, power trowel polishing with our system results in a lower average tooling and labor cost per square foot, which allows surface prep contractors to take on larger jobs that might otherwise be cost prohibitive. Additionally, trowel polishing is a wet process, which eliminates the risk posed by airborne silica.
Selecting the Right Power Trowel
When selecting the correct type of trowel unit, the most important consideration is the size of your project. How large of an area are you trying to cover, and are there any potential obstructions that could make trowel polishing concrete difficult—or impossible? Here’s what you need to know about the different types of trowel machines on the market today.
Walk-behind trowels are significantly lighter than ride-on units, making them easier to maneuver and transport. They’re also more affordable! If you’re dealing with tight corners and smaller surface areas, you may find that a walk-behind unit best fits your needs. On the other hand, larger jobs requiring a greater area of coverage may merit a more powerful unit—that will eventually more than pay for itself, given the efficiency of the trowel polishing process.
Ride-on trowel machines are useful for covering large surface areas quickly while reducing overlap, but their efficiency can be impacted by the need to switch out diamond tooling. The RSP magnetic preload system can combat this time waster and make moving between grits simple and efficient. From there, you’ll have all the power and durability needed to get the job done.
If you’ve set your sights on jobs that require covering thousands of square feet, a ride-on trowel unit is the concrete polishing machine you need to keep your work effective and cost efficient. The MPS was created around standard 3” velcro-backed puck tools, which means you’ll be able to mount a variety of tooling on your power trowel.
Controlling Splashing and Slurry Production
Because trowel polishing is a wet process, it eliminates the risk of airborne silica hazard, which is great for the safety of you and your team. However, this wet process produces enormous amounts of slurry that need to be disposed of properly, which is not so great for your workflow or the cleanliness of your job site. Luckily, the proper tools, such as slurry vacuums and submersible pumps, will allow you to control splashing and slurry production while keeping your site relatively neat and tidy. In the future, we expect to see innovative techniques and equipment for mitigating the amount of slurry produced by this and other concrete polishing processes.
Concrete Polishing Equipment, Consumables, and Insight
Ready to add trowel polishing to your service offerings? That’s an incredible growth opportunity for your team, but it’s not one that should be undertaken lightly. With a reliable concrete facility on your side, you’ll be better prepared for the unexpected occurrences that come with every job.
Consider partnering with Runyon Surface Prep—our dedicated personal service and speedy shipping process will provide the support you need to complete projects smoothly. Have more questions about trowel finished concrete or power trowel polishing? Want to learn about how a power trowel system can elevate your workflow? Feel free to reach out with any and all questions.