Roller Screed: What Is It, Why Use It, How To Use And Purchasing Guide

Do you know anything about concrete roller screed? Here, we will answer all your questions and recommend the right products. This article will teach you what it is and its five main advantages. We will also explain how to use it in wet and low-slump concrete. We analyzed four types hot selling roller screeds on the market and provided suggestions for your purchase.

Later in the article, we made a table showing the difference between roller and vibrating screed. Through our introduction, you can have a comprehensive understanding of this equipment.

concrete roller screed

What Is It

Roller screed is a multi-purpose concrete screed equipment for concrete slabs, slopes, and pervious concrete. It cuts off the high concrete spots and fills the low spot through a spinning screed pipe, resulting in a flat surface. This machine doesn’t cause excessive vibration problems, just as a hand screed repeatedly scrapes the concrete. It brings lower water ratio concrete paste to the surface, creating a stronger and more durable concrete surface.

Why Use It (5 Main Advantages)

Not Only Ordinary Concrete Pours But Also Pervious Concrete

roller screed used for pervious concrete

The roller screed is the best equipment for the pervious concrete pouring. Because excessive vibration can damage the pervious concrete, this pervious concrete roller doesn’t create any vibration. Its rotating screed tube just downward pressures and flattens pervious concrete. The permeable spaces in concrete will not be cemented. This feature makes it the best pervious concrete leveling equipment.

Avoid Injury

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, many construction workers are injured annually. Compared with other types of screed machines, roller screed can reduce labor intensity and avoid back strain. When using this machine, the operator does not need to bend down, only to pull the lever upright. This simple operation can reduce labor intensity and avoid back strain for operators.

In addition, this type of machine is straightforward to operate, and you need minimal training. Even if you have never used it, you can quickly get started.

Easy Work On Slope

roller screed used on concrete slope

Roller screed is the best equipment for concrete slope pours. It rolls across the concrete slope surface, a walking ladder on both sides of the leveling range. Workers operate it on both sides of the device. And it does not vibrate, and the concrete does not slide down the slope due to vibration. These features make it ideal for a variety of concrete slopes.

Modular Screed Roller Tubes

Modular Screed Roller Tubes

The machine can be equipped with a connectable roller tube system, which allows different lengths to meet your concrete leveling widths. The roller tube can be disassembled when not used, and the modular design is also convenient for transport.

Barn (Circular Pours) Drainage Ditch And More Incredible Construction Applications

The machine could equip a center joint or various drum shapes for round concrete slope pouring and various gutters / concrete curbs . This provides an efficient way to create these specialized concrete surfaces.

How To Use & Maintain

The roller screed consists of a roller tube attached to a power module operated by a switch. The operator pulls the roller tube opposite to the screed’s rolling direction. During construction, the height of the concrete paving should be controlled according to the position of the roller tube. They can be used for both commercial and DIY projects. Some models have variable speed controls, which make them even easier to use.

roller screed on work

Before Starting

Before starting the machine, there are a few items that need to be checked:

  • Ensure both ends are securely fastened to the end of the pipe.
  • Check all threaded connections to make sure that they are not loose.
  • Check handles to ensure they will not loosen or detach during the operation.


Concrete with different slumps should adopt different operation methods. We have summarized two different ways to operate wet concrete and low-slump concrete.

Concrete Slump Guidelines
The roller screed will handle stiff concrete having only a 3-inch slump. When you first start using it, pour with a slump level that is consistent with your past practices. As with any new tool, certain operation techniques must be learned.

Wet Concrete Operating Method

* Slump levels of 5 or more, maintain 1 to 2 inch surcharge.

When working with wet concrete, start the machine, squeeze the throttle lever, and slowly pull it over the concrete while muckers maintain about a 2-inch surcharge of concrete in front of the screed. After advancing 6 to 8 feet, allow the spinning screed to move slowly backward over the freshly screeded concrete. This slow backwards pass pushes aggregate left on the surface down while bringing paste to the surface.

After backing over the poured section, slow down the spinning screed and pull the screed back to the area where more concrete has been placed. Begin screeding again. With concrete wetter than a 5-inch slump, pulling over the concrete surface a second time with the motor running will produce a flatter surface with sufficient paste for floating. Examine the surfaces prepared by the machine and adjust your technique to produce the desired surface for floating.

Wet Concrete Operating Method

Low Slump Concrete Operating Method

* Slump levels of 3 to 4 inches, maintain 2.5 to 3.5 inch surcharge.

With stiff concrete, pulling the screed over the concrete produces a rough surface that is difficult to float. To get the best results, use the “Bump and run” Technique.

Start by squeezing the throttle lever to start the machine and gently bumping a 2-3-inch surcharge with the spinning roller, causing it to advance a few inches, then allowing it to retreat 4 to 6 inches. Advance the rotating screed again. Continue the “Bump and run” Technique until you have advanced 6 to 8 feet, then allow the spinning screed to move backward slowly over the freshly screeded concrete with the screed still running. This slow backwards pass pushes aggregate left on the surface down while bringing paste to the surface.

After backing over the poured section, turn off the machine and pull the screed back to the area where more concrete has been placed. Begin screeding again. The screeded section is ready for floating and should be done immediately. When screeding stiffer concrete, pulling the machine forward a second time tends to remove the layer of paste that has been worked to the surface and makes the surface more difficult to float and finish.

Low Slump Concrete Operating Method


The machine should be cleaned after use to avoid concrete corrosion. You just need to put the roller tube on the sand and turn it on, the concrete on top of the roller can be rubbed off. Then the connection is cleaned manually.

Batteries and electric machines require very little maintenance, with a full charge in battery storage. To keep these devices working properly, only good cleaning and periodic lubrication are needed. Hydraulic and gasoline machines, on the other hand, are powered by a gasoline engine that needs more attention to maintain. As such, it is important to follow the engine’s maintenance instructions for proper care of the machine.

In general, relatively little maintenance is involved when using batteries or electric machines. These devices can be stored with a full charge in their battery storage unit for long periods without any issues arising. However, hydraulic and gasoline machines require more attention since they are powered by engines that need periodic tuning if used frequently or for long periods. As such, it is important to consult the engine’s maintenance instructions in order to keep these devices running properly.

Purchasing Guide (4 Types)

There are three main types of roller screeds – hydraulic-powered, gas-powered, electric-powered and battery-powered. Each dynamic has its characteristics which you should consider before making a purchase.

  1. Hydraulic type is the most powerful type. This type is represented by the supplier – Bunyan roller striker. It is easy to operate and can level large areas of concrete quickly. However, it requires a hydraulic station to provide power and is less portable. And it is also the most expensive type.
  2. Gas powered type is less powerful than hydraulic type, but it can still level concrete effectively. The representative manufacturers of this type of product are Lura and wildcat. It is more portable than hydraulic and can be used in tight spaces. And gasoline engine type is more straightforward to operate than the hydraulic type.
  3. Electric type is the cheapest type. The representative manufacturer that produces this type is Marshalltown. It is also very portable and easy to use. However, the electric-powered machine packs less power than a hydraulic or gasoline engine.
  4. Battery-powered type is the least powerful type, but it is the easiest to operate. This type is represented by the supplier – Curbroller. It is also the most portable type of screed roller and can be used in tight spaces. However, the electric screed roller is also the most expensive type of these machines. In addition, you need to prepare enough batteries in larger projects to ensure their endurance.

In summary, it is important to consider your needs and budget when choosing a concrete screed roller. If you are looking for a powerful tool that can quickly level large areas of concrete, then consider purchasing a hydraulic or gasoline engine type. If you are looking for an easy-to-use tool that can be used in tight spaces, then you should purchase an electric or battery-operated model.


Through our article, you will systematically understand concrete roller screed and master its use. It can be an excellent investment for your business. It’s a versatile machine that can be used in various ways and require very little maintenance to keep them running well. If you’re still on the fence about purchasing one, this article has given you some good reasons to invest in one.

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