» Masonry Tools/ Plastering Tools
Masonry Tools/ Plastering Tools
There are different kinds of
tools in masonry and plastering jobs. Some simple hand tools are still
used to carry out simple tasks in the masonry trade . There are a wide
variety of masonry and plastering tools. It is to be noted that tools
used in masonry are solely designed to be used only in masonry and
cannot be used for other purposes. The saying "the right tool for
the job" is appropriate in masonry trades. Trying to use a hammer
or a wood chisel to cut stone is like beating your head against
the wall. Here we give below a few of the complete line of masonry
and plastering hand tools that are popularly used.
Uses of masonry tools
Different hand tools are used to do a wide range of masonry jobs which
Types of masonry tools
- Brick and block laying
- Chimney construction
- Cutting stone masonry
- Laying of stone masonry
- Footing, slab and form installation
- Glazed tile installation
- Design on hearth and fireplace
The tamper tool is used in masonry for pressing exposed aggregate
into concrete and also compact the soil before pouring concrete. It
is usually in the shape of a long or short handle attached to a flat
blade surface. When imprinting concrete with texture mats or skins,
this tool is used to securely tamp down the mat and ensure a good
It is better to look for a tamper having a cast iron base or
urethane base coated with rubber. This will prevent tearing or
marring of the texture mat. There are some tampers available in the
market having shock-absorbing composite handles which can minimize
impact to your arms.
- Straightedges: Straightedges
are used to strike off or remove freshly placed concrete and make
the surface as level as possible before finishing. Straightedges are
made of various metals like aluminum, magnesium and even wood. They
are available in various lengths and cross sections.
- When you go for wooden straightedges, go for straight and
warp-free. Otherwise, they can lead to undesirable ruts or
crowns in the concrete surface.
- Magnesium and aluminum straightedges are popular because
they are light and won't warp or bow. They are easier to
clean compared to wood straightedge because concrete won't
stick to them.
- When you buy metal straightedges, look for those with
capped ends to keep out wet concrete. They can have wooden
or plastic plugs in the ends, but when they fall, they allow
the concrete to enter. Straightedges with welded metal end
caps are a better option.
- For more comfortable grasping, buy straightedges with
kerfed edges. They won't dig into your hands while using.
There are also keyhole-shaped straightedges with flat
bottoms and rounded tops for easier gripping.
- To help you gauge surface slope while working, you can go
for straightedge with built-in or clamp-on bubble levels.
- Floats: Floats are widely used in
masonry jobs. The main purpose of using floats is to fill voids,
level ridges, and smooth the surface in preparation for troweling.
The tool can also be used to work in dry-shake color hardener. It
can also be used to bring paste to the surface by pushing down the
coarse aggregate. Most floats for decorative concrete work are made
of aluminum, magnesium, or wood. Less common float materials are
rubber, stainless steel, and laminated wood or canvas resin. There
are bull floats for working in large areas of concrete. They are
usually 8 inches in width and 3 to 10 feet in length. There are hand
floats in length from 12 to 24 inches and in width from 3 to 5
inches. Most floats are available with rounded or square ends.
Round-end floats are perfect in tight corners and help to minimize
A bull float and a hand float
- There are magnesium bull floats with top reinforcement
ribbing. They are good because they add strength and prevent
- In most cases you can buy bull float handles separately.
They are usually made in aluminum, magnesium, or fiberglass
in different lengths from 4 to 10 foot. They can also be
interlocked to create longer lengths. Buy fiberglass handles
if you your work area is in overhead power lines, because
fiberglass won't conduct electricity.
- You also may be required to purchase bracket assemblies
as not all bull floats come with these assemblies for
attaching handles. For better control, go for an adjustable
tilt-action bracket. This will help you to change the float
pitch with a simple turn of the handle.
- On hand floats, always go for replaceable handle so that
it can be replaced if it splits or breaks. The handle also
should be positioned for good balance. It should also allow
adequate knuckle clearance and have a comfortable grip.
- Wood hand floats are available in wide variety like
teakwood, redwood etc. Each type of wood may produce a
different surface texture. And it is always better to
- Rubber floats are another good options for producing
textured finishes because they bring more sand to the
- Steel trowels: To produce a
smooth, hard, dense slab surface, steel trowels are used after
floating. Similar in appearance as hand floats, there are only two
differencesone in the blades which are thinner and the other
in the handles which are open rather than closed. The most common
types of steel used in blade are stainless, blue, and high-carbon
steel. Blue steel is thin and lightweight, so the trowel flexes
slightly under hand pressure. Stainless steel blades will not stain
or rust concrete surfaces. Steel trowel dimensions range from 10 to
24 inches in length and 3 to 5 inches in width.
- Always buy trowels of varied sizes-as an assortment.
Generally, a 14 x 4-inch or 16 x 4-inch steel trowel is
preferable to tackle most decorative finishing jobs. But
when you need to cover more area faster or on large projects
, then a larger fresno is the most efficient. For corners,
steps, and around floor pipes and drains that is in small
patching jobs or in tight areas , go for an 8x3-inch midget
- Most trowels come with a choice of straight wood handles
or more comfort-grip or camel-back handles. Camel-back
handles have a slight upward curve. This gives a knuckle
clearance. Go for handles which gives you the most
comfortable grip and the best control. You can also opt for
handles with sturdy aluminum shanks that are securely
riveted or fixed to the blade.
- Fresnos: Fresno trowels are
designed in such a way that they are attached to long extension
handles so that masons don't have to walk out on the slab. Fresnos
are efficient in rapid work over large areas, like driveways.
However the only drawback is that do not achieve the same degree of
compaction that can be achieved with hand trowels. However, that can
be also be considered as an advantage when you must trowel slabs
early for decorative work. In this way they can create a smooth
finish without premature sealing of the surface. Fresnos are
available in blue, stainless, or high-carbon steel, with rounded or
square ends. But they come in longer lengths ranging from 2 to 4
- Fresnos can be purchased with or without brackets for
handle attachment. For easier using, some manufacturers
offer swivel brackets. These brackets rotate at 360 degrees
so that the fresnos can work at any angle. There are
easy-tilt brackets as well that eliminate bending and
- If you intend to cut shallow safety grooves in flatwork
surfaces, you can go for fresnos with evenly spaced V-shaped
blades which are offered by some manufacturers and they cut
shallow grooves 1/4-inch deep.
Edgers are important masonry tools used to produce a clean edge
along joints in concrete. It can also be used to produce a clean
edge along the slab perimeter. Edgers help in creating a neat,
rounded edge that's less prone to chipping or spalling. Thwy are
availble in varied sizes. The general size range from 1 1/2 to 6
inches wide and 6 to 10 inches long. There is a lip on one side of
the tool which is actually the edge and it ranges from 1/8 inch to 2
inches in radius and its depth is from 3/8 inch to 1 1/2 inches.
- Bronze edgers are thicker, heavier, and expensive
compared to steel edgers. However there are heavy-gauge
stainless steel edgers as wll that are said to be stronger
than the bronze ones.
- These tools are available with front and back ends that
can be flat or curved upward. Curved ends help in preventing
the edger from gauging the concrete.
- Edgers having comfort-grip handles are slightly expensive
than wooden handle edger but they are preferred because of
the softer grip that helps in reducing hand fatigue.
- To minimize bending and kneeling, there are walking
edgers that are attached to long wood handles.
Groovers as masonry tools are used to tool control joints in plastic
concrete . They are made of bronze or stainless steel. They have a
V-shaped bit that is used to cut the groove. They come with wood or
comfort-grip handles like edgers. They areavailabel in various sizes
ranging from 2 to 8 inches wide and 3 to 10 inches long, but the
most common groover size is 6 inches long and 4 1/2 inches wide.
Bi-directional groovers are also available. These grooves have
double-end bits that can help in cutting forward or backward.
- There are bronze or heavy-gauge stainless steel groovers.
They are popular because they provide the best durability
and performance. There are tools with highly polished
finishes. Such tools can glide more easily through the
- The bit depth of the groover should be at least 1/4th of
the slab thickness. This create a plane of weakness along
which the slab can crack. So if you are working on a
4-inch-thick sidewalk, go for a groover with a 1-inch bit
- For stand-up use, walking groovers are available. They
have the same features as walking edgers. Or you buy a
special groover attachment that attaches to your fresno
trowel or metal bull float . Using more than one of these
attachments on a float or fresno helps in cutting multiple
grooves in one pass.
- Jointer: Used to forming seals in brick, block or stone.
- Masonry Chisel: An important hand tool for cutting,
scoring, or trimming brick or masonry.
- Mason's Hammer: This tool is used to setting or cutting
brick, block or stone. It is around to 15 to 24 oz. in weight with
wooden, fiberglass or steel handles.
- Brick Tongs: These tools are used to carrying a number of
brick at once.
- Brushes: They are used to cleans up joint and brick face.