Contractors have to be ready for any type of job. Eventually, even if it’s not your specialty, there will come a time when a client asks you to handle a concrete job. So, with that inevitable ask looming on the horizon—heck, it might be tomorrow—you should be ready to roll.
Without a doubt, every contractor is already equipped with tools that come in handy for almost every job, concrete included: rubber gloves and rubber boots, proper eye protection, noise-canceling devices, wheelbarrows, shovels, etc. We’ll just assume all that stuff is already in your arsenal. What follows is a breakdown of essential concrete tools you may not already have at your disposal. A truly professional and versatile contractor needs the right tools for the job. Dig into this list and discover the must-haves for your concrete work.
You can’t really do concrete work without a screed, a leveling device used to smooth out that freshly poured concrete. For smaller concrete jobs—perhaps a sidewalk, a patio, a driveway—you can get by with a screed that’s as basic as a piece of lumber. But it’s likely you’ll find yourself needing something a little more professional.
Our lightweight, aluminum Marshalltown EZYSCREED with Built-In Level helps contractors screed with precision, ensuring a perfectly level surface as you go. It comes with a sharp edge that’s ideal for screeding concrete. But if you want to take that screeding up a notch, consider our Wyco Screed King Power Unit, replete with a Honda GX35 four-stroke motor, a set-and-forget throttle, and high-frequency vibration that eliminates the honeycomb effect and accelerates finishing time.
It’s hard to imagine a more clutch concrete tool than the portable mixer. Without having a proper mixer at your disposal, you run the risk of looking like an amateur. More importantly, they turn some of the most tedious elements of concrete work into a breeze, giving them that must-have status.
Consider our clutch Imer Minuteman II Portable Cement Mixer, a compact champ with a fully enclosed ½-horsepower, six-Amp 100-V industrial-grade motor with direct gear drive that can mix 275 pounds of mortar, stucco, grout, and concrete in under four minutes; it’s a cinch to operate and transport, weighing in at just 120 pounds, making it quite a bit lighter than your standard mixer.
Water getting where you don’t want it to go is the root cause of so much damage in and around the home and construction site. Seeping moisture can lead to damp concrete and unsightly cracks. In fact, if you’re called on to replace a concrete job gone bad, it’s a reasonable assumption that moisture damage is what led to your getting called.
It’s probably the case that pretty much all contractors already have a laser level in their toolkit, but it’s worth noting the importance of laser precision when doing concrete work. Concrete, after all, is intended to stick around for a while, and laser guidance is the surest way to make sure everything is just so. Our Pacific Laser System PLS 180R Kit provides a fast-settling, self-leveling pendulum that gives precise, nearly instantaneous point and reference lines that are bright and crisp.
After leveling your surface with your screed, you float to give your surface that smooth, professional finish. For smaller concrete jobs, you can use a basic hand-held float like our Marshalltown Magnesium Concrete Floats, which are made from durable, lightweight magnesium and best for use with entrained concrete. For those bigger concrete jobs, you may need to call on a big boy like our Husqvarna BG 245 Walk-Behind Edger Trowel, a reliable Honda GX gas-powered choice that’s ideal for finishing newly cast concrete surfaces.
When your concrete work requires a saw—and it undoubtedly will—you need something powerful. You may want to look no further than our Husqvarna K770 Power Cutter with VH5 14-Inch Diamond Blade. This Husqvarna K770 is a new and improved model that comes equipped with a semi-automatic SmartTension system that guarantees peak power transmission and maximum belt life.
This cut-off saw is both powerful and lightweight, ideal for a variety of applications, from curbstones and pavers to concrete in buildings and roadwork. It can come in handy with pipes in your installation work, too.
It stands to reason that your concrete will be compromised if pockets of air are encased in your finished product. So what do you do about that? Well, you call on a concrete vibrator to shake the air pockets right out of there, giving your concrete added strength and durability. You can deploy concrete vibrators during your pour or after, internally or on the surface of your pour.
Our Wacker Neuson Vibrator Kit M1500 is an economical, versatile choice that comes with a high-frequency flex-shaft internal vibrators; overall, this is a lightweight but rugged unit that’s preferred by operators.
It may seem like you can get away without a plate compactor, but concrete pros know otherwise. Concrete that’s poured on an unstable, sandy, or otherwise less-than-solid surface is simply not going to hold up. Cracks and general breakdown are inevitable. To guard against this, bring in your plate compactor. These devices do as they say—they compact the ground before you pour, but they level your surface, as well.
Our Wacker Neuson WP1550A Premium Plate Compactor can most certainly handle all your compaction needs. It comes with a patented computer-designed base plate with a tapered bottom and edges for high speed and premium maneuverability. It’s composed of lightweight, high-strength components that make for easy handling.
When you arrive on site and find that the spot where you’re supposed to be pouring concrete is flooded with water, you can wait it out, soak it up, grab a bucket and bail—or you can do something that won’t cost you a day of work: Get your water pump and drain that sucker.
Of course, water pumps have applications beyond providing that critical boon when your pour-site is submerged, and that’s just an added reason to have one at the ready. There are all kinds of pumps available, but you may not need to look further than our BJM R250-115 Dewatering Pump.
Drilling into concrete requires a tool that doesn’t mess around. Often, just when you think your concrete job is complete, there’s just a little more finishing work to be done. So, when your concrete is set and it comes time to install a signpost or stairway railing on your freshly poured concrete, you need a drill with supreme power.
Our END1550P Eibenstock 2-5/8-Inch Hand-Held Wet Core Drill can bore into concrete and natural stone 50 percent faster than your rotary hammer, and it drills without shock, dust, or vibration, making it a clutch addition to your concrete tool collection. It operates with 13-amp power and can be used with a drill rig for precise, stationary work.
When you’re dealing with a mucked-up concrete surface that needs to be stripped down, a concrete grinder will save the day. They are perfect for removing paint, old sealant, waterproofing, or pretty much anything that’s glommed onto an old surface through the years. Planetary grinders can also be used to polish concrete—a boon for your finishing work.
Our Eibenstock Low-Vibration 5-Inch Hand-Held Concrete Grinder has an ergonomic H-handle that allows operators to finish larger surfaces. Its dual-handle design reduces vibration, which reduces operator fatigue. When you’re looking for a grinder that can polish, we recommend our Husqvarna PG 540 Planetary Floor Grinder, a powerful yet compact do-it-all planetary grinder that offers options adjustment weights for extra grinding pressure.
Sometimes concrete work involves as much busting up worn-out old concrete surfaces as it does pouring new. Forget your sledge hammer—unless you’re not worried about wasting time and wrecking your back—and call on the heavy-duty stuff that can power you through any job.
Our Dewalt D25901K Heavy-Duty Demolition Hammers come with a 14-amp motor that provides premium performance and overload protection while reducing the vibrations that wear users down. For drilling, our Chicago Pneumatic Redhawk Gas Concrete Drill combines breaking and drilling in one convenient package, its gas-powered motor making it the perfect choice for use in remote areas where it’s difficult-to-impossible to access external power sources.
Up top, we noted that most contractors almost certainly possess masks, rubber boots, rubber gloves, and basic protective gear for the eyes and ears, but it’s worth taking a moment here to stress another part of the body that’s critical to protect and maintain if you want to keep plugging away: the knees. Too often, contractors forge ahead without knee protection and, if you’re doing plenty of concrete work, that oversight is almost certainly going to catch up to you.
Proper knee pads like our KP Industries Knee Pro Ultra Flex III will keep you going, job after job. The Knee Pro Ultra Flex III is a virtually indestructible, lightweight, almost unbelievably comfortable option—no excuse here about not wearing pads because they’re cumbersome—that’s engineered and designed with the user in mind.
Breathing in concrete dust can be especially harmful, even lethal, as it contains crystalline silica. If you’re skeptical, see what the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health has to say on crystalline silica’s presence in concrete dust. So, when you’re grinding or sawing concrete or doing any concrete work that creates a cloud of dust, protect yourself and those around you.
In addition to basic mask protection, a dust collection system goes a long way toward keeping your work environment safe. Our iQ426HEPA Cyclonic Hepa Dust Extractor captures 99.5 percent of dust with its four-stage cyclonic dust extractor, replete with HEPA filtration that offers multi-stage cyclonic pre-filter for longer run times.
Any contractor who adds these tools to his arsenal will be ready to roll when a concrete job beckons. You won’t have to waste time scrambling for the right stuff, and deploying the right and proper concrete tools onsite will prevent needless slowdowns while exponentially improving your finished work product. So, not only will these tools give you a leg up by helping you provide unmatched concrete work, but they’ll expedite the process on the front end and during the job, getting you off the site—a patch of perfectly poured concrete in your wake—and on to that next project.
Contact Contractor’s Direct for All Your Concrete Tool Needs
If you have questions about what concrete tools you need for the job, we’re here for you! Reach out to us at 1-800-709-0002.