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We recently published an article looking at some of the best concrete vibrators on the market.

And while we covered at what you should be considering when purchasing one of these tools, we didn’t go in depth on the practicalities of owning one and the nuts and bolts of using one.

But that’s exactly what we will do now. So if you’re ready, let’s get to work.

Essential tips on how to get the best out of your new concrete vibrator.
  • If the concrete is less viscous than you are used to, you will need to allow for more vibrations in order to fully release the trapped air bubbles.
  • When inserting the shaft of the concrete vibrator into the mix, try to ensure that the unit is kept vertical. This will maximise the impact of the vibrations and will make work more efficient.
  • Only turn on the concrete vibrator after the shaft head has been fully submerged.
  • The head of the vibrator should be completely submerged where possible.
  • When pulling the concrete vibrator from the mix it should not be retrieved faster than 3 or 4 inches per second. In fact, for smoother results a retrieval rate of only 1 inch per second is recommended.
  • TOP TIP: You do not need to use a concrete vibrator if self consolidating concrete has been poured.
  • If the shaft and hose of the vibrator are given undue stress by being bent while inserted into a mix you risk poor results or even malfunction.
  • When choosing a new position to insert the vibrator head, ensure that the radius of influence (the area being vibrated) overlaps with a previous insertion. That way you will know that the entire mix has been covered when you finish.
  • To gauge this, understand the radius of action is four times the vibrator tip diameter, (you can also check the specifications offered by the manufacturer)
  • Once you have a smooth sheen on the concrete surface, and you know you have covered the entire area of mix, it is a good sign that your job is done

How Much Time Do I Need to Spend Vibrating Concrete?

While working in the construction industry you will often here from fellow concrete workers that air bubbles will remain even after the mix has been fully penetrated by the vibrator, (or been worked on externally if that is the method being used)

While that may sound defeatist, it is often very difficult to know when the job is fully complete

And if you are a home user with less experience knowing how much time you should spend vibrating can be extremely difficult to judge.

One method is to remove the vibrator from the concrete slowly each time you retrieve the head. If you can still see bubbles in that particular spot, you know more vibration is required.

gas powered concrete vibrator

If you are careful to inspect the mix every time you do this, your eye for detail will pay off in the end.

Your concrete finish will be free of bubbles and you will have done this is the necessary time it takes to complete the job properly.

Essentially, how long you take to vibrate is all based on how long it takes to remove the trapped air.

You work the spots until you know the integrity is true. That way the finished construction will be sound and should stand for many years to come.