Finishing trowels and floats are both great tools to have in your kit, but which one is right for you?
It’s all about the finishing trowel’s curved edge vs the float’s flat edge.
Now, before we look into the difference between them, let’s first look at the similarities.
What Do They Both Do?
Both are used to smooth over and finish wet concrete. You use them by simply pressing them against the surface of the concrete and moving them about in any way you wish.
The only real difference is that the curved edge of a finishing trowel can be used to make slight curves in your concrete, whereas a float can’t.
That, and a float can be used to apply texture to your concrete.
When Should You Use A Finishing Trowel?
The curved edge of a finishing trowel means that you can use it to create curves in your concrete. This is useful if you’re doing a curved brick walkway that you want to be flush with the ground, or if you’re doing something like a concrete half-pipe.
However, the main reason why you might use a finishing trowel instead of a float is that you can use the curve to make your finishing easier.
You see, when you’re using a float, you have to work in a figure eight pattern to get your concrete as smooth as possible. If you’re going straight back and forth, you’re not going to be able to fill in the “cracks” that are left by the edges of the float.
With a finishing trowel, you don’t have to worry about that. All you need to do is tilt the trowel away from you, so that the leading edge is higher than the side closest to you. This way, the curve will naturally fill in the “cracks” left by the leading edge.
You can also use the curved edge to make your edges straight and clean. You do this by using the same tilting technique, but this time, you’re pressing the leading edge into the edge of the concrete you’re trying to straighten out.
There’s one more thing that’s great about finishing trowels.
They’re great for filling in gaps and holes. You just press the edge of the trowel into the gap or hole, and drag it across until it’s filled in. Use the same tilting technique as before to smooth out the top.
When Should You Use A Float?
Floats are great because they’re versatile.
You can use them to apply texture to your concrete, and you can use them to do the same job as a finishing trowel, but without the need to tilt them. They’re also better for filling in larger gaps and holes than a finishing trowel is.
Floats are better for most situations because they’re more versatile.
However, if you’re doing something that requires curves to be flush with the ground, or if you’re doing a curved brick walkway, then a finishing trowel is the way to go.
Other than that, it’s up to you.