The Magnesium Float
A magnesium float is the best tool you can use to get a flat, smooth finish on your concrete. It’s a must-have tool if you’re planning on doing any concrete work yourself.
If you’ve ever seen concrete that has a smooth, polished look to it, then that was probably finished with a magnesium float.
Now, there are two types of magnesium float, each with their own use case. You can get a “round end” magnesium float, and a “square end” magnesium float. You can probably guess from the names what the difference is.
Here’s what you need to know: if you’re working with concrete that has a lot of curves and angles, then a round end magnesium float is what you’ll want to use.
If you’re working with a more traditional, flat surface, then a square end magnesium float is what you’ll want to use.
The Steel Trowel
A steel trowel is a tool that you’ll want to use to create a super smooth, polished concrete surface. It’s a bit of a “step up” from a magnesium float, in that it’s not something that everyone will necessarily need.
You see, a steel trowel is used to create a “burnished” finish on the concrete, which makes it super smooth and glass-like. Burnished concrete is a bit of an art form, but it’s something that you can get the hang of very quickly if you’re used to using a magnesium float.
The only problem is that it’s extremely hard to fix any mistakes you make when using a steel trowel. Steel trowels are very unforgiving, and even a slight shift in angle can leave a trowel mark that you can’t fix.
Of course, you can always resurface the concrete, but that’s a lot of work, and it’s not something you want to be doing just to fix a few blemishes. That’s why I’d only recommend a steel trowel if you’re already confident in your ability to use a magnesium float.
When To Use Each Tool
If you’re not sure which tool to get, then my recommendation is to go for a square end magnesium float. This will give you the best of both worlds. You can get a super smooth finish, while still being able to use it for areas with curves or angles. It’s the most versatile tool of the bunch.
If you can see yourself doing a lot of burnished concrete work, then go for a round end magnesium float instead. This will allow you to get into those tight spaces and create a super smooth finish without having to worry about trowel marks.
Finally, if you’re confident in your abilities, and you really want a super polished finish, then go for a steel trowel. It’s a bit of a luxury tool, but it’s a luxury that’s worth having if you do a lot of concrete work.