The quality of concrete construction can be affected by two main things; the cement you use and the tools you choose to work with. High-quality building materials, such as LafargeHolcim Tanzania’s brand of Tembo cement, will improve the final results of any concrete structure. The tools that you use to lay the concrete are also important.
Whether you are working on a small concrete build at home or completing a large-scale engineering project, you will need to use the right tools to get the desired results from the concrete. It’s always important to use the right tools for the job. Here are the top 10 concrete tools that every contractor needs.
1. Concrete placer (or kumalong)
A concrete placer is a metal rake that is used to push and pull wet concrete too spread it around the work area. It can be used to easily fill gaps and ensure the concrete spreads into the right place without the need for shovels. Concrete placers can come in various sizes and materials – the aluminium ones work well as they are lighter than steel.
2. Concrete screed
A concrete screed is vital for any concrete flatwork. A screed is a plank-like piece of flat wood or steel that is used to flatten large areas of freshly-poured concrete. Screeds come in many lengths and you can find them in varying prices, depending on the brand. Some builders use timber as a screed, but it is best to get a proper one to ensure that the surface of the concrete is smooth and flat – a plank of wood can bend and bow.
3. Concrete bull float
After screeding, you will need to smooth the surface of the flat concrete with a bull float. This tool looks like a large broom with no bristles, just a flat metal surface. A bull float will make the surface of concrete smooth when you “sweep” it.
Try to find a bull float that has rounded edges as this will help to prevent lines being left in the concrete surface. The flat surface should also be hinged to the handle, allowing for rotation and movement when you push the float out and pull it back in again.
4. Mag float
A mag float is also used to smooth the surface of concrete. It is a small handheld piece of wood or steel that is used to finish the surface of concrete to a greater level of detail than a bull float. The best type is a square-edge with a rubber handle as this allows you to work right into tight corners.
5. Steel trowel
A contractor or bricklayer cannot work without a steel trowel. These tools are perfect for placing cement in small spaces, such as on top of bricks or in tight corners. A trowel can also be used to smooth concrete. They come in a range of shapes, sizes and with varying degrees of flexibility, but the wedge-shaped ones are the most versatile.
6. Concrete edger
This tool is used to make smooth edges on concrete. Concrete edgers will remove the sharp corners of concrete by making them round or angled.They come in a range of shapes and sizes, so it’s best to have a few to choose from. Concrete edgers make pavements, driveways, floors and concrete surfaces look more appealing and safer.
7. Concrete groover
A concrete groover is used to make a joint line in a concrete surface. These joint lines allow the concrete to expand and contract without cracking. They are often placed at regular intervals along expansive concrete surfaces. Concrete groovers come in various shapes – some look like a piece of steel rebar with a handle, others are more precisely engineered.
8. Concrete finishing broom
This tool is used often on construction sites. A nylon-bristled broom can also be used instead of a proper concrete finishing broom, but the results may be more rustic. This broom is swept along the surface of semi-dry concrete to give it a rough texture that provides added grip in wet conditions.
9. Concrete kneeboards (or sliders)
These tools look like thin metal trays that attach to your knees, like skis. They allow builders to work on their hands and knees on wet concrete without damaging the surface. Concrete kneeboards also prevent wet concrete from soaking into your overalls. The best kneeboards are the stainless steel ones that tilt up at the front and back to allow for easy sliding across the concrete surface. Choose some that have adequate padding for your knees.
10. Proper boots
Although these aren’t technically a tool, the right boots are just as essential when working with concrete. Wet concrete and cement can cause skin irritation and burns if they come into direct contact with your body. Proper boots, such as rubber gumboots, will protect your feet and legs from wet concrete.
These are the top 10 tools that all contractors should have before working on a project. Consider buying these tools because they will make your job easier, as well as help to improve the quality of the final structure.
LafargeHolcim is a leading building materials and solutions company that has been operating in international markets for decades. We produce cement and aggregates for construction projects, ranging from small affordable housing developments to large-scale infrastructure projects such as high-rise buildings, dams and bridges.
LafargeHolcim Tanzania has been supplying the country and neighbouring countries with our world-class Tembo cement brand for over 30 years. Our head office and fully-integrated plant are located in Mbeya, Southwest Tanzania.
At LafargeHolcim Tanzania, we believe customers come first. We listen to your specific requirements to supply and develop the best solutions for your needs. As the new leader in building materials, you can also rely on our cutting-edge research and development capabilities that have resulted in the finest materials for your construction projects, whether large or small.