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Concrete Floor: Float or Trowel?

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  • Concrete Floor: Float or Trowel?

    I'm all ready to pour concrete into the shower I've been "building" for a year and a half now... so I go to HD to pick up the flat doo-dad to spread it out and smooth it over.

    I'm expecting to go in and buy a metal thing and come home with it, but when I get there, it's not so simple.

    I know the advice I got here was to use a float. Several different sizes, as I recall.

    I didn't realize though, that a float isn't the same thing as a trowel. As labeled, the float is a tool with a sort of spongy foam pad attached to it while a finishing trowel is what I thought I was going to buy.

    I bought neither, figuring you guys will set me straight. Do I need the spongy thing? What makes it better than the trowel?

    I ended up just getting the metal mesh and some aviation snips to cut it with.

  • #2
    Re: Concrete Floor: Float or Trowel?

    U need both.Float pushes agregate down and raises the "cream",let cure till it sets up enough to finish trowel.

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    • #3
      Re: Concrete Floor: Float or Trowel?

      1.screet to level
      2.tamp agregate down
      3.float Magnesium or wood to raise "cream".
      4.Let set up
      5.finish trowel.

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      • #4
        Re: Concrete Floor: Float or Trowel?

        I only use a float to spread grout...can it be used for concrete too?

        I use a wooden trowel to "raise the cream" and a metal one to finish it off

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        • #5
          Re: Concrete Floor: Float or Trowel?

          Thanks guy! This thread just made it blatently obvious that I gotta go do more research. I figured I'd mix some water in, scoop it into the shower, spread it around and then smooth it into the shape I want.

          Looks like there's more to it than that.

          Screet? Tamp? Cream?

          I'll get both tools and do some reading.

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          • #6
            Re: Concrete Floor: Float or Trowel?

            the foam float is for pushing grout into a tile floor, or another way of saying it, to fill between the tiles full of grout,

            there are also other "floats" some make of wood, magnesium, aluminum even a resin filled canvas, these are "hard" but there not entirely "smooth" they lightly drag the cement and in the process, and what they are used for (concrete settles or shrinks as it sets), and you end up pushing the rocks down and in the process the top of the surface has cement and sand in it, (cream), and as it sets the rocks will appear again and it will need to be "floated" again, I like the magnesium float. (a wood float is fairly aggressive, but if one needs to save some money one can make one,) this process may need to be done a number of times, (if you use a trowel it may seal the surface and the top may pop, or flake off in time to come,)

            As it sets it will get firmer to the point that it will be hard to push the float into the surface, that is when the trowel is started to be used, you use in the same manner as the float, more weight on the heal of the trowel and with a slight tilt in the direction of travel, working usually in a fan pattern, and as it continues to set, you can work it so it is as slick as glass, if one wants.

            If your going to tile it, then you may only need the float, as a slightly rough surface to set the tile on. if no tile then the decision is how slick you want a shower floor (as a wet floor is can be slick), it may take up to 3 to 6 hrs for the cement to set depending on richness, heat, and type of concrete. (trowels, the normal cement trowel is about 3" by 12" to 18", and has a very light bow up wards, towards the handle, the dry wall trowel is about 4"x 12" to 14" and has a bow down ward away from handle, and you will not be able to finish cement with one as it will leave lines in it all over the place,
            there is what is called a pool trowel as well for curved surfaces, and the corners are rounded, and can make a curved surface easier to work, as there is little edge to leave lines in the surface.
            Last edited by BHD; 11-03-2007, 09:27 PM.
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            • #7
              Re: Concrete Floor: Float or Trowel?

              Yeah, I know about them for doing grout. I just didn't know why I'd need one for pouring thin concrete (preslope) floor.

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              • #8
                Re: Concrete Floor: Float or Trowel?

                Originally posted by Wild Weasel View Post
                Yeah, I know about them for doing grout. I just didn't know why I'd need one for pouring thin concrete (preslope) floor.
                The Foam in the float will help draw moisture FROM the concrete, which will make the "cream rise", and provide a somewhat smooth surface until it has set enough to do a "finish" glaze with a Magnesium or steel float. the whole idea is to get it smooth. When you do the "finish" coat is when you actually start working your slope in.

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                • #9
                  Re: Concrete Floor: Float or Trowel?

                  You say you're making a shower pan? I've always used type "S" masonry cement, not concrete for this.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Concrete Floor: Float or Trowel?

                    A scrap of 2x4 will make a nice float for your application of one little shower.
                    info for all: http://www.hoistman.com http://www.freeyabb.com/phpbb/index....wwtoolinfoforu --- "I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me."

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                    • #11
                      Re: Concrete Floor: Float or Trowel?

                      You didn't say, but I assume that you are going to be putting ceramic tile over the concrete. If I am right, papadan is right on--you don't need floats or trowels to do the job you are doing.
                      Jim

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                      • #12
                        Re: Concrete Floor: Float or Trowel?

                        Yeah, this is only the preslope. Over this will be the liner, then more concrete, and then tile.

                        So I just spread it out with some wood, then smooth it over with the trowel in the slope I want? No need for floats?

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                        • #13
                          Re: Concrete Floor: Float or Trowel?

                          Well since this was only mentioned about 6 times, I might as well put my thought into it also, lets see, no need for a float, use a 2" x 4", cut to a proper length.
                          Great Link for a Construction Owner/Tradesmen, and just say Garager sent you....

                          http://www.contractorspub.com

                          A good climbing rope will last you 3 to 5 years, a bad climbing rope will last you a life time !!!

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                          • #14
                            Re: Concrete Floor: Float or Trowel?

                            drtyhands man... you just trying to scare me?

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                            • #15
                              Re: Concrete Floor: Float or Trowel?

                              You do not mention if your hot mopping this or doing an epoxy pan liner. If your having this hot mopped then you may not need to do the pre-slope. My hot mopper always did this as part of the hot mop install. After the pan liner is in we usually dry packed the pan with moist cement which is easier to deal with and dries rock hard.

                              Good Luck
                              Badges?!? We don\'t need no stinking badges!

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