No matter how many times you've set out to tackle a concrete job, big or small, there are specific regulation tools that you can turn to time and again to help you complete the task. But, no two tools are the same, and the marketplace offers a wide variety of concrete tools, from high end to "don't even bother". The seemingly endless selection can make even the most seasoned mason's head spin.
Here are some of the tools you will need for your next concrete job and some options to consider. (In no specific order.)
You may believe one heavy-duty wheelbarrow, made for hauling concrete and carrying tools, is just like any other. However, there are numerous things you will want to consider when choosing a wheelbarrow for your task. The wheelbarrow should be sturdy and robust enough to withstand anything you throw at it. One excellent (and affordable) option is the True Temper Never Flat, which comes with steel handles and wheels guaranteed never to flatten.
Portable mixers are great for medium-sized jobs, those that are too large to mix in a wheelbarrow but not quite large enough for a large concrete mixer truck. It is a must-have for any professional who tackles a variety of jobs, large or small. Portable mixers can be electric or gas-powered and can easily fit in the back of most trucks. Some great options include the mixer by Yardmax or the slightly pricier Klutch mixer.
Vapor barriers are regularly applied to concrete slabs to stop moisture. They are also referred to as "vapor retarders" and help the concrete cure. You can pick up a DMX 1 Step Vapor Barrier for around $75.
Vibrators work to settle and compact concrete during the pour or in finishing. They shake wet concrete to eliminate air pockets. You can choose from internal, form, surface, or table vibrators. Models like the ones from DeWalt or Klutch range in price depending on what type of vibrator you choose to work with. Often, it comes down to either scope of the job or personal preference.
Screeds smooth and level freshly poured concrete, so they are integral to any concrete worker's bag of tricks. You can choose from a manual screed, such as the EZYScreed from Marshalltown, which will run you between $100 to $135. Or, you can bring out the "big guns" and go with a power screed like the Mulitquip Duoscreed. That will set you back about $1,885.
Floats, much like screeds, create a smooth finish to your freshly poured concrete. They are relatively inexpensive but essential to have around for any professional. You can pick up a Marshalltown float for approximately $32.
Groovers & Edgers
These tools create and control joins on all manner of concrete work, from sidewalks to driveways. Most are handheld devices that can be found running between $20 and $50 but Marshalltown sells a quality edger for $14.
A good concrete pour is nothing without a tightly packed subbase. Plate compactors range wildly in terms of quality and price. A Tomahawk power plate compactor is durable and tough but will run you about $1,507. Home Depot has a 79cc 2 hp gas Stark plate compactor should get the job done and won't break the bank at $579 if you're tackling smaller projects. (Editor's Note: We were not able to find the Stark 79cc 2hp gas plate compactor on 'the Stark USA website.)
Rotary Hammers & Power Drills
These items can be essential for finishing any concrete job, whether attaching items to foundations or chiseling into finished, dried concrete. Like most heavy power tools, these can range in quality and price. What you need will depend on the size of the job. DeWalt sells a highly rated power hammer for around $1,500. You can also find smaller tools for around $500.
In order to demolish and remove old concrete or cut and control concrete joints, you're going to need a saw. When shopping for saws, look for a good quality diamond blade. There's a wide variety of options from the high-end Husqvarna Handheld Power Cutter to the less expensive XtremePower US 2600W, which despite its smaller price tag comes highly recommended.
Additional specialty tools, such as polishers or walk-behind trowels, can add value to anyone's on-the-job toolbox. When seeking to build your collection of concrete working tools, be sure to read reviews. Don't be afraid to ask others in the field what their recommendations may be. With so many options at your fingertips, it helps to take your time and be a discerning consumer before you tackle your next project.
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