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Tools and terms for horizontal concrete work.



Horizontal concrete work generally includes driveways, sidewalks, patios, and slab-on-grade construction. The following information will assist you in obtaining the proper tools for concrete work.

Some of the tools needed for concrete work are items found in most households:

Wheelbarrow; For mixing and hauling small batches of concrete. Since concrete is heavy, the wheelbarrow should be a heavy-duty type.

Bucket; To measure accurately cement and aggregate. Accurate measurement of ingredients is essential for concrete work.

Watering can; To measure water to be added to the mix. To facilitate accurate measuring, the watering can should be the same size and type as the bucket.

Waterproof gloves and boots; To protect the skin against the alkaline in wet concrete.

Square shovel; Primarily for moving concrete into place or for mixing small batches of concrete.

Wide hoe; The most convenient tool to use when hand-mixing small batches of concrete.

Fifty-foot steel tape: Generally used for measuring and layout work.

Straightedge (or strikeoff board); To remove excess concrete and bring the surface to grade (the desired level) after the concrete has been placed in the forms. This board should be straight and 6 to 12 inches longer than the width of the forms. A long 2x4 or 2x6 can be used. The rest of the tools needed are specialty tools which must be purchased.

Bull float; To smooth and level horizontal surfaces, eliminating any high or low spots or ridges left by the straightedge.

Usually the bull float is a flat board 3/4-inch thick, 2 to 3 feet long, and 10 to 12 inches wide.

Darby; To smooth and level concrete surfaces, either vertical or horizontal. The darby is usually 3 to 4 inches wide and 4 to 6 feet long.

Edger; To round off the concrete slab edges of flatwork such as sidewalks, thus reducing the risk of damage to the slab edges. It also can be used to cut expansion joints or contraction joints to improve the appearance of the slabs.

Groover (or Jointer); To cut contraction or expansion joints between slabs of fresh concrete, thereby limiting cracking in the surface of the slab.

Hand float (wood, aluminum, or magnesium); To level the concrete and give the surface a rough finish, thus producing an even, gritty, non-slip surface. The wood float generally is used for horizontal concrete work. The aluminum and magnesium floats are used for work with air-entrained concrete.

Hair broom; Used only as a finish tool. The "broom finish" on walks and patios creates a very rough surface which not only provides a, safety feature but also an attractive design.

Four-foot spirit level; To obtain a true horizontal and vertical line on sidewalks, foundations, and walls.

COPYRIGHT 1986 Cornell University, Cooperative Extension
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Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Pamphlet by: Cornell University Cooperative Extension
Article Type:Pamphlet
Date:Jan 1, 1986
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