Power trowels aren’t just concrete finishing tools—they’re also being used as highly productive polishing machines to create a smooth, reflective, durable surface with a fraction of the effort required for traditional grinding. But there’s still a fair amount of confusion in the industry surrounding power troweling. How, exactly, do you use a concrete finishing tool for an entirely different purpose?

The concrete polishing experts at Runyon Surface Prep are dedicated to providing not just the tools you use, but also the knowledge you need to expand your service offerings and produce high-quality work, every time. Today, we’re dispelling the misconceptions around troweling and revealing just how this alternate method of polishing concrete can streamline your next project.

Trowel Finishing Concrete

A power trowel consists of one or multiple rotating blades enclosed by a safety cage. This type of concrete finishing equipment is used to create a polished, level finish on a variety of concrete surfaces. Floating, finishing, and combination blades are used to create the desired end result.

Typically, power trowel diameters range from 24 to 48 inches, with the correct diameter for the job depending on the size and layout of a surface. After all, your equipment has to be able to fit through the door and maneuver around a space!

Traditionally, concrete troweling machines have been used to level concrete. While there are hand trowels out there, they won’t do you much good for the large projects that are flooding in as concrete flooring grows in popularity and versatility. Walk-behind power trowels and ride-on units can cover far more surface area. While walk-behind units are ideal for spaces with tight corners and projects that require maneuverability or lighter equipment, ride-on power trowels will cover thousands of square feet quickly and easily.

Power Trowel Polishing

In addition to finishing concrete, power trowels are becoming popular tools for polishing and grinding that same surface. While the method isn’t right for every concrete floor, the benefits can’t be beaten. Power trowel polishing saves a significant amount of labor, cuts down on production time, and has minimal start-up costs. It’s also a wet process, so your team won’t be at risk from airborne silica hazards. What’s not to love?

If you already own or rent a power trowel unit, you’re already nearly prepared to polish! Simply remove the blades from your machine, attach your preload system with high-quality diamond tooling, and start moving through grits. However, if you’re not using a power trowel system, you might find that the process isn’t as quick or productive as you expected. Tooling changeover can slow things down, leaving your team with far too much downtime in between changing grits or swapping out worn-out tooling.

Trowel Polishing Tooling and Equipment

The right power trowel system easily solves the issue of tooling changeover. With the purchase of extra rings to fit the number of grits you’re going to run, our Magnetic Preload System ensures that you’ll have the next set of diamonds set up and ready to be switched in. Velcro-backed tools and a versatile yet simple system work to cut tooling changes down to mere seconds. By reducing unnecessary downtime, you’ll see an increase in productivity and even shortened project timelines. This system works with metal, resin, and transitional tools, allowing you to polish to whatever finish the project calls for. 

Because power trowel polishing is a wet process, you’ll also need a number of tools for efficient slurry management. Those include a sump pump, flocculant, and dewatering slurry bags. And, of course, don’t forget to check local and regional regulations for proper disposal of concrete waste.

The Cost of Power Troweling

Polished concrete is already an affordable flooring choice when you consider the lifetime of this type of floor; the labor and material savings provided by polishing with a concrete troweling machine just make it that much more cost-effective. The average tooling cost for polishing concrete with a power trowel is just $0.01 to $0.02 per square foot per grit. When it comes down to it, the savings in time, labor, and tooling costs make power troweling a force to be reckoned with in the world of concrete polishing.

Concrete Finishing and Polishing Tools from Runyon Surface Prep

If you work in the surface preparation, concrete polishing, or floor maintenance industries, you need more than the right tools and equipment—you need a partner. That’s us. Runyon Surface Prep is dedicated to maintaining strong relationships with customers, vendors, and industry partners across the country. Interested in honing your concrete polishing skills? Looking for a new concrete troweling machine? Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with your next project.