FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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Why Choose Plastic Trowels?
Plastic trowels are primarily used by finishers to avoid burn marks on concrete. One distinctive feature of these trowels is that they don’t heat up, unlike steel trowels.
Many concrete finishers, especially those specializing in decorative and residential work, use plastic trowels to achieve a smoother and generally higher-quality finish. Increasingly, they are also being used in commercial and industrial projects for exceptional results.
As you may have learned from reading about burn marks, these dark stains can mar the appearance of your floors. Therefore, whether it’s colored concrete, light-colored surfaces, epoxy finishes, or any other type of surface where aesthetics matter, plastic trowels are the best tools to meet your concrete finishing needs. Their precision, ability to avoid overheating, and the smooth results they provide make them highly recommended.
We recommend using plastic trowels for the final two or three passes, depending on the desired finish and the machine you are using, to maximize their lifespan and the quality of the results.
This approach will give you a glossier finish and bring out the colors of your floor, enhancing its overall appearance.
All of these advantages greatly assist finishers in achieving a precise, smooth, and flat result.
Here’s an example of the finish that plastic trowels can achieve on a light-colored surface:
What Are Burn Marks?
Burn marks are brownish stains on the surface of concrete. They appear when steel trowels overheat due to the friction on the concrete. When these trowels pass over the same spot multiple times, it generates significant heat, causing the cement in the concrete to burn and darken.
These marks are sometimes desired when the intended result is a rougher surface with a rustic appearance. They can also make the surface harder. In some cases, finishers may even be indifferent to these marks for an industrial surface where aesthetics are of little importance, for example. However, in many cases, these marks should be avoided.
Indeed, when the desired result is a light or colored surface with a pleasing appearance, or in a location where the concrete is highly visible, burn marks on the concrete can become finishers’ worst enemy.
To control these marks and prevent them from spoiling the look of your floor, we suggest using plastic trowels on your mechanical polisher for better results.
Why Is It Important to Angle Trowels?
To achieve the best possible finish on a concrete floor, it is important to angle the trowels on the polishers correctly. The angle of the trowels has a significant influence on the flatness and hardness of the surface. Generally, the drier the concrete, the higher the angle of the trowels should be. In other words, as the work progresses, the trowels should be lifted more.
The reason behind this principle is quite simple: a steeper angle means that the contact area of the machine with the floor is smaller. As a result, the weight of the polisher is concentrated on one side of the trowel, which compacts the drying concrete even further. This makes it denser and, consequently, much harder.
Although a higher angle has its advantages, it should be increased gradually.
First, when using floats, as with a disc, the angle should be flat. This allows the aggregate in the concrete to settle toward the bottom, maximizing the surface level and bringing sand and cement to the top.
Next, after two or three passes with floats, or when you sense there is more coarse gravel on the surface and only what is commonly referred to as “the cream,” it’s time to switch to finishing trowels and angle them slightly. Then, with each pass, you should increase the angle slightly, up to 15 degrees, depending on the type of polisher you are using.
A tip for a flatter finish that brings out the color: use plastic trowels for the final few passes at angles ranging from 0 to 15 degrees.
What is the F-measurement system in concrete finishing?
Since the late 1970s, concrete finishers have been working with the F-measurement system (FF Number). In summary, it is a system that provides an index of the quality of the finish on a concrete floor’s surface.
It’s important to note that there are two types of F-measurements. Firstly, there’s the FL measurement (floor levelness), which measures the levelness of the floor. It indicates whether there is any variation in the surface. The higher the measurement, the more level the surface is.
The products offered by Plate 2000 primarily influence the second measurement, FF (floor flatness), which calculates the flatness of the surface. In other words, it assesses the level of bumps on the floor.
Naturally, this measurement is influenced by several factors, including the number of passes over the concrete, the skill of the finishers, the quality of the concrete, and the quality of the finishing tools used. Following the same principle, a higher FF measurement indicates a flatter surface.
The FF and FL measurements are classified as follows:
Conventional: FF 25
Good: FF 38
Flat: FF 50
Very flat: FF 75
Super flat: FF 100
Extremely flat: FF 150
As an example, one of our skilled finishers achieved an FF measurement of 154 on a warehouse floor with the assistance of Plate 2000 products.
What Is the Difference Between a Disc and a Float?
It’s important to understand that there are two types of equipment used for the initial stages of concrete finishing: the disc, also known as a “pan,” which is a large disk measuring three, four, or five feet in diameter, and floats that attach to each trowel in place of the disc for self-propelled mechanical polishers.
Both of these tools serve the same purpose: to sufficiently smooth the surface to enable the proper use of finishing trowels. They are both attached to mechanical polishers to perform the first two or three passes after leveling the concrete.
They are designed to evenly place the aggregate beneath the concrete’s surface, allowing the cement and sand to be exposed on top. During this finishing stage, irregularities, bumps, and major imperfections are smoothed out to achieve a smoother and flatter surface. This step is crucial for achieving a high FF (Floor Flatness) rating.
Both discs and floats are typically made of 12 to 10-gauge steel to ensure durability when coming into contact with the rough aggregate during the initial passes. This is one of the reasons why concrete finishers prefer using them, as they protect their finishing trowels from wear and tear caused by friction with the aggregate.
Instead of using finishing trowels with a thickness of 0.062″ to 0.094″ (16 to 13 gauge), finishers use 12 to 10-gauge discs and floats, which do a better job, last longer, and enable the finishing trowels to perform their work more effectively.
Furthermore, discs attach with a quick attachment system like “Z Bracket” or “Safety Catch,” and floats use a “Clip-on” system. This makes them quick to install and allows for faster finishing compared to using only steel trowels.
Some finishers prefer using discs, while others prefer floats. Those who prefer floats find them easy to install and more maneuverable on smaller “walk-behind” machines. Some even report faster drying times in colder or wetter conditions when the concrete takes longer to set.
What is the ISO 9001-2015 standard?
ISO is an independent organization (not affiliated with any government) for standardization, known as the International Organization for Standardization. To date, ISO has published 22,895 international standards covering nearly every industry.
ISO 9001:2015, a standard to which Plate 2000 is certified, establishes requirements related to the quality of an organization’s management system. More specifically, it outlines strong customer service, the motivation and involvement of managers, the process approach and compliance, and continuous improvement.
Learn more about ISO’s quality management principles: ISO 9001-2015
In a more practical sense, Plate 2000’s certification to this standard is reflected in our impeccable customer service to ensure our customers’ needs in concrete finishing are met. We also use serial numbers to provide a tracking system to ensure the traceability of our products. Plate 2000’s manufacturing system is ISO certified due to the consistency of the quality of our products.
What is an anti-fatigue process on steel?
An anti-fatigue process is a heat treatment applied to metals such as steel, among others. This process is used to remove the fatigue in the metal caused by manufacturing processes like welding, bending, and laser cutting.
An anti-fatigue process gives steel better resistance to twisting and cracking. As a result, the material has a longer lifespan.
Almost every type of steel undergoes an anti-fatigue process during its manufacturing.
To stand out from the competition, Plate 2000 uses its own unique anti-fatigue process in addition to the standard one to ensure they offer the most resilient, flat, and high-quality products on the market. The result of such a process means that Plate 2000’s discs do not deform, crack, or perforate prematurely, resulting in a longer lifespan.
This makes Plate 2000’s discs up to 30% more durable than well-known brands.
Why is delivery important?
We all know that in construction and concrete finishing, contractors and workers are very busy, and due to demanding clients, they have tight deadlines to meet.
As meeting our customers’ needs is our top priority, Plate 2000 aims to provide the shortest delivery times possible. That’s why we can ship orders in as little as two weeks, to wherever the customer prefers, whether it’s to their warehouse or directly to the job site.
Packaging is also crucial to us. We take pride in our products, and we want our customers to receive them as if they were a gift. We hand-clean them to ensure they are perfect.
Next, we carefully pack them on sturdy wooden pallets. They are framed with wood, secured with thick metal straps, and wrapped in plastic film to protect them from the elements during transportation.
This way, they are ready to be used upon arrival, and there’s no need to play a game of pickup because they remain stable and in place in the truck.
All of these considerations help you meet your deadlines and complete your projects more quickly, for the satisfaction of your customers, and most importantly, for your own satisfaction.
Call us to learn how to benefit from free delivery!
Here are examples of how we package your products:
How to achieve a matte or glossy finish on my concrete floors?
There are many options available today for finishing a concrete surface, including epoxy, colored, textured, natural, and more. Depending on your preferences for the appearance of your concrete, you can opt for a matte or glossy finish.
Most people prefer a glossy finish when the surface is visible, whether it’s covered with epoxy, colored, or simply sealed. However, if the concrete is covered with ceramic tiles or carpet, for example, most finishers prefer a more matte concrete partly because it’s easier to do, it may not be visible, and it adheres more easily to coatings.
For both types of finishes, different trowels are used to achieve the desired result. For those aiming for a glossy finish with a high FF measurement, it’s best to use a narrower trowel, typically around 6 inches in width. This width makes the trowel stiffer, allowing it to compact the concrete more effectively and spread the cream more uniformly. The result will be a glossy and flat finish.
Conversely, for those desiring a matte finish that will be mostly covered or less visible, it’s better to use combined trowels. These are wider, usually around 8 inches, and the mounting bar is not centered. These factors provide greater flexibility to the trowel, meaning it compacts the concrete less and does not allow for a very high FF measurement.
Combined trowels are also used on larger polishers because their width also contributes to their strength, and it’s necessary to have strong trowels to support the weight of these massive machines.
*Tip: When used flat, combined trowels can also serve as floats if you want a matte finish.
Both finishing trowels and combined trowels are available in various thicknesses to optimize their rigidity and lifespan depending on your needs.
What is the best characteristic of a finishing disc?
Many people believe that the thickness of a finishing disc is the sole indicator of product quality in terms of its lifespan. Some of these people think that a thicker disc will last longer than a thinner one. This claim is entirely true when comparing two identical alloys.
However, many overlook considering the type of alloy in their products, particularly its hardness. This factor also plays a significant role in the lifespan of a disc: a thin disc made of high-quality steel can last longer than a thick disc made of less resistant steel.
It’s important to note that steel is an alloy primarily composed of iron and carbon, as well as manganese, chrome, nickel, and other elements. The right proportion of each of these elements determines the hardness of steel. For example, a high carbon content generally results in harder steel than a lower carbon content.
Choosing the right steel recipe is one of the most crucial aspects when it comes to the lifespan of a disc. This has a substantial impact on its durability and overall quality. That’s why it’s better to opt for a thinner disc made of high-quality steel rather than a thicker disc made of lower-quality steel. Therefore, stay informed about the hardness of the discs you use to ensure you work efficiently in concrete finishing.
What is the difference between a Flat Disc and a Super Flat Disc?
Finishing discs have the advantage of being wide, covering a large area of concrete at once. A disc should also be sufficiently flat to ensure the floor remains level in turn.
Unfortunately, with the size, it can be challenging for some to have a perfectly flat disc. However, there are two types of discs categorized based on their flatness: the Flat Disc and the Super Flat Disc. The difference between the two lies in the curvature of the disc.
The Flat Disc is often used on projects where the level of surface finishing is not a priority. For example, when the concrete will be covered with ceramic tiles or even carpet, or when there’s no need for a flawless concrete finish. The flatness of the disc is calculated by the difference between the center and the sides. The Flat Disc has a difference of 1/4” to 3/8” from the center.
On the other hand, the Super Flat Disc is the one to use if the goal is to achieve a high FF measurement for a decorative concrete floor, whether it’s residential, commercial, or industrial. In other words, if you want a beautiful finish, the Super Flat Disc is what you need. It has a difference as small as 0” to 1/8” from the center to the edges.
Depending on your needs for finishing your concrete floors, choosing the right flatness of your discs is an important step.
What are the different grades of concrete?
It is important to know that there are different qualities of concrete, and depending on whether you are pouring concrete for a floor, foundations, walls, pillars, etc., you need to choose the concrete that suits your needs. Concrete grades are classified by a system of grades called “M,” followed by a number (M5, M7.5, M10, M15, etc.).
In this designation, “M” stands for “mix” for the concrete mixture. So far, it’s simple. However, the number that follows is more complicated. It represents the compressive strength of the concrete mixture in Newtons per mm2 after 28 days of curing. In other words, after 28 days, the concrete’s compression level is tested to see how well it resists. If the result is that it can withstand 15 Newtons per mm2, the concrete grade is M15. If it can withstand 55 Newtons per mm2, the grade is M55.
More precisely, one Newton per mm2 (N/mm2) is equivalent to one megapascal (MPa), which in turn is equivalent to a pressure of 145 psi on a concrete block. In more concrete terms, if a concrete block breaks under a press that exerts a pressure of 6525 psi, we divide that by 145, which equals 45 MPa, meaning that the concrete is of grade M45.
The strength of a concrete mix is determined by the ratio of the amount of cement, sand, and aggregates.
The most common concrete grade for floors is a standard grade that ranges from M25 to M45.
Here are some examples in the table below: