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Level-Up Your DIY Abilities With Concrete Tools

    Say you’ve gotten a bid for a concrete patio. It was just, right? A little too high? If you resonated with the latter, you might be questioning whether you can do it yourself. Concrete is a low-cost material so most of what you’re paying for is the labor. If you can DIY it, you could save big.

    When you’re ready to take on a new DIY challenge, dive into the world of concrete. Concrete is versatile and durable and can be used in several areas around your home. Whether you want to pour a concrete patio or new countertops for your kitchen, concrete tools are exactly what you need to accomplish it.

    Ensure you’re confident in your current DIY abilities and do ample research before tackling a concrete project. If you check off those two boxes, you’ll set yourself up for success. Perhaps starting small makes sense, with a side table or firepit, before ramping up to something bigger.

    Here are the three main steps involved, regardless of what you’re creating.

    1. Plan

    Before you begin any large projects, check to see if you need a permit. Patios, driveways, and even indoor flooring can be subject to the rules of a landlord or homeowners’ association. If the project requires digging, call your local service to locate and mark underground utility lines. That way, you can avoid digging into them and adding the expense of fixing them.

    For decorative concrete projects, there’s no need to search out a permit or to mark landlines, but still, planning is involved. It’s important to have the steps nailed down because as soon as you mix the concrete, you’ll be working against a clock. Quick-dry concrete sets in as little as 20-40 minutes, so mix the concrete right before you plan to pour it.

    2. Pour

    Every type of concrete project requires some kind of form to pour the concrete into. That way, it can harden into its new shape. Whatever shape you wish the concrete to take is the shape of form you need. For concrete slabs and countertops, you’ll want to build custom wooden forms to fit the exact size you need. For vases and planters, you can build a form or find an object that already has the correct shape, like a bowl or a cup.

    You won’t always need concrete hand tool rentals to aid in your concrete project, but for flat pours, you will. There are a few different tools you’ll need to ensure the concrete is level and smooth. Concrete hand tools, which include floats, trowels and concrete edging tools are a must. Depending on the size of the project, you might also need concrete rakes, screeds and bull floats.

    3. Finish

    To round out your project, first let the concrete dry for 24-48 hours. The longer it dries, the more set it will be. 

    If you desire, you can add stains, dyes or sealants to the finished concrete using concrete finishing tools. Doing so gives it a more polished look and adds protection. Stains and brightly colored dyes penetrate deep into the concrete, provide long-lasting color, and protect the material as sealant does. Sealants are especially helpful for concrete countertops to prevent water absorption, food stains and scratches.

    Leveling up your DIY abilities with concrete tools and projects is one way to add curb appeal to your home. Consider renting other tools to help improve the exterior appearance of your home, as well. RentalHQ can help you find aerators, paint sprayers, stump grinders and more.

    Head to your local rental store to find the tools you need to get started. Use our store locator to find concrete tool rental near you. You’ll walk in with a DIY concrete project idea and likely a handful of questions, and walk out with the exact tools you need for the job.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What tools do you use for concrete?

    DIYers can get by with a few concrete tool rentals for most concrete projects, which include screeds, floats and trowels. Additional tools might be helpful to speed up the process or make it less labor-intensive.

    What type of tools are used to smooth out or finish concrete?

    Screeds are long, flat tools for concrete that smooth and scrape away any extra that’s not needed. To finish concrete with a super smooth finish after it’s cured, use a fine-grit sandpaper first and make your way up to a high-grit sandpaper.

    How do you smooth rough concrete by hand?

    Just as you smooth rough wood — with sandpaper! Work in small sections and use smooth, long strokes.