How to Use a Power Trowel for Concrete Like a Pro

Written by sidney johns
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How to Use a Power Trowel for Concrete Like a Pro
Power trowels may be rented or purchased from commercial outlets. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Using a power trowel properly gives do-it-yourself concrete projects a professional appearing finish. A power trowel is a multipurpose tool. With the use of multiple blades, the power trowel levels the concrete then smooths the surface. The trowel's motor makes the work less intensive for the concrete finisher, but using the trowel properly requires knowledge of the tool--and often practice--to get a project to the desired level. Always follow the manufacturer's guide for the specific model of power trowel, along with the basic usage tips.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Attach the float blade to the power trowel and set the rpm to a low speed. Adjust the blade to zero pitch for a flat surface.

  2. 2

    Run the power trowel across the concrete as soon it begins to cure. When the concrete shows the first signs of hardening, push the power trowel back and forth across the concrete to create a smooth and level surface. If the machine has overlapping blades, shorter motions are required. Move slowly along the edges and in the corners.

  3. 3

    Change the trowel's blade to the finishing blade and adjust the rpm and pitch level. Finishing requires a high rpm level and a slight pitch. For a rougher finish, add more pitch to the blade.

  4. 4

    Run the power trowel over the concrete in a side to side motion. Move slowly, allowing the high rpm level to do the work.

  5. 5

    Make a second pass with the power trowel using the finishing blade. Focus on any areas that aren't smooth or don't fit the pattern created by the blade in the first finishing session.

Tips and warnings

  • Select a power trowel that's the right size for the job. A ride-on trowel may be too large for a small patio, while a hand power trowel may be too small for a long driveway.
  • Perfecting the finish on concrete using a power trowel may take several attempts.

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