10 tools concrete contractors need to consider

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Marshalltown’s EZYScreed

MARSHALLTOWN

No matter how many times you’ve set out to tackle a concrete job, big or small, there are specific regulatory tools you can resort to time and time again to help you get the job done. But, no two tools are the same, and the market 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’ll need for your next hands-on job and some options to consider. (In no specific order.)

Wheelbarrows

You might think that a sturdy wheelbarrow, designed for hauling concrete and carrying tools, is just like any other. However, there are many things you will want to consider when choosing a wheelbarrow for your task. The wheelbarrow should be strong and sturdy enough to withstand anything you throw at it. A great (and affordable) option is the True Temper Never Flat, which comes with steel handles and wheels guaranteed to never flatten.

Portable blenders

Yardmax concrete mixersYardmax concrete mixersVergemaxPortable mixers are great for medium-sized jobs, those that are too big to mix in a wheelbarrow but not big enough for a large concrete mixer truck. It’s a must-have for any professional tackling a variety of jobs, big or small. Portable mixers can be electric or gasoline powered and can easily fit in the back of most trucks. Some great options include Yardmax’s blender or the slightly more expensive Klutch blender.

vapor barrier

Vapor barriers are regularly applied to concrete slabs to stop moisture. They are also called “vapour barriers” and help in the curing of concrete. You can get a DMX 1 Step Vapor Barrier for around $75.

Vibrators

Vibrators work to pack and compact concrete during pouring or finishing. They shake the wet concrete to remove air pockets. You can choose from internal, shaped, surface or table vibrators. The prices of models like those from DeWalt or Klutch vary depending on the type of vibrator you choose to work with. Often it depends either on the scope of the job or on your personal preferences.

Clevises

Mulitquip's DueoscreedMulitquip’s DueoscreedMultiteamScreeds smooth and level freshly poured concrete, so they are an integral part of any concrete worker’s bag of tricks. You can choose from a manual screed, such as the EZYScreed from Marshalltown, which will cost you between $100 and $135. Or, you can break out the “big guns” and opt for an electric screed like the Mulitquip Duoscreed. It will cost you around $1,885.

Floats

Floats, like screeds, create a smooth finish to your freshly poured concrete. They are relatively inexpensive but essential for any professional. You can get a Marshalltown tank for around $32.

Wall chasers and edgers

Wall chasers and edgers MarshalltownWall chasers and edgers MarshalltownMARSHALLTOWNThese tools create and control joints on all kinds of concrete jobs, from sidewalks to driveways. Most are handheld devices that cost between $20 and $50, but Marshalltown sells a quality edger for $14.

plate compactor

A good concrete pour is nothing without a well-tamped sub-base. Plate compactors vary widely in quality and price. A Tomahawk electric plate compactor is durable and tough, but will set you back around $1,507. The Home Depot has a 79cc, 2hp gas-powered Stark plate compactor that should get the job done and won’t break the bank at $579 if you’re tackling smaller projects. (Editor’s note: We were unable to find the Stark 79cc 2hp Gas Plate Compactor on the Stark USA website.)

Rotary hammers and power drills

These items can be essential for finishing any concrete job, whether it’s fixing items to foundations or chiseling in finished, cured concrete. Like most heavy duty power tools, these can vary in quality and price. What you need will depend on the size of the job. DeWalt sells a highly rated hammer drill for around $1,500. You can also find smaller tools for around $500.

Saws

The Husqvarna portable power cutterThe Husqvarna portable power cutterHusqvarnaTo demolish and remove old concrete or to cut and control concrete joints, you will need a saw. When buying saws, look for a good quality diamond blade. There are a wide variety of options, from the top-of-the-line Husqvarna handheld power cutter to the cheaper XtremePower US 2600W, which despite its lower price is highly recommended.

Additional specialty tools, such as polishers or walk-behind trowels, can add value to anyone’s work toolbox. When looking to build your collection of practical work tools, be sure to read the reviews. Don’t be afraid to ask others in the field what their recommendations might be. With so many options at your fingertips, it pays to take your time and be a savvy consumer before tackling your next project.

About the Author

Matt DiBara is a fourth generation DiBara Masonry and the creator of The Undercover Contractor.

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