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Clean my Concrete?… REALLY?

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hether you are preparing a concrete floor for a wet coating such as paint, sealant or epoxy or a covering material such as carpet, tiling or a timber floor it is equally important to make sure that your concrete surface is prepared properly by cleaning it.  This is even the case for new or perfect looking old concrete floors. For a wet coating especially, having a properly prepared concrete floor is absolutely critical to the success of the coating to achieve maximum adhesion. The result of poor preparation will not only have the finished surface looking bad, it is quite likely that you will need to repeat the entire process again to fix it.

There are several ways to prepare a concrete surface ranging from acid washes to shot blasting and grinding.   Acid washes are limited in application for example, if there is already a sealant or stuck debris on the concrete then it is not suitable and a shot blaster or grinder will be required. Of these remaining options, a grinder is a good choice for the DIY projects as there is a much higher chance of success than when using a shot blaster, not to mention less mess and often a lower cost too.

A concrete floor grinder therefore, can be used for many different applications such as coating or glue removal, high spot removal, removal of tile mortar, light grinding and other similar applications.


Concrete floor grinding is usually accomplished by the use of a walk behind floor grinder or with a hand held grinder for smaller areas.  Both of these will have a circular rotating plate that contains segments of very hard diamond encrusted material. Depending on your particular project, here are three concrete grinders which you should consider.

Low Speed
Because this type of concrete floor grinder operates at a low speed, it is easy to use and there is little chance of you removing anything more than the material intended. A Floor Grinder Kit, also available as a Floor Grinder & Vacuum Kit, is popular for removing mortar based tile adhesives which often remain stuck to the concrete after lifting the floor tiles.  Removing the tile debris is an important process to complete before laying new material such as different tiles, carpet or timber flooring over the concrete.

They are also suitable for preparing a concrete floor which is in otherwise good condition where the surface of the concrete simply needs to be exposed to allow for maximum adhesion of any wet coating which is to be applied.  Again, operating at a low speed allows for a very controlled approach.

High Speed
When it comes to grinding concrete floors, these floor grinding machines are the most popular and come in many different sizes with anywhere from 1 to multiple discs doing the grinding work.  One such grinder with a single 250mm diameter disc is the Meteor Floor Grinder also available as a Meteor Floor Grinder & Vacuum Kit.

The Meteor Floor Grinder machines will successfully and more efficiently remove stubborn coatings like epoxy, paint, tile glue and rubber-based adhesives.  They are also capable of removing small ridges found along concrete joins and for minor (less than 5mm) leveling work.

With the correct diamond discs and/or buffing pads, they are also used for concrete polishing on floors in residential homes and other surface areas of a similar size.

Hand Held
These are also available in different sizes the most common being the 125mm Surface Grinders and 175mm Surface Grinders. These are used for smaller areas of floor grinding or for use on other concrete surfaces where a larger walk behind machine is not suitable. These are also high speed grinders and are therefore suitable for most coating removals or surface preparation.


Dust Suppression
Grinding concrete surfaces or material on concrete surfaces will create volumes of dust.  In most environments you will want to reduce as much of this dust as possible and this can be achieved one of two ways.  With water or with a vacuum.

If using water, nearly all the dust will be eliminated but the water and concrete dust mixture will create a slurry.  This can be tedious to clean up and it leaves you with a wet concrete floor usually meaning that you must wait at least 24 hours for the concrete to dry.

The second option is to grind dry and reduce the amount of concrete dust by connecting a vacuum to the grinder while operating it.  This option creates less mess and allows to continue working once the grind is complete.  It is not however, recommend to use a household vacuum as its filtration system will most likely not be sufficient for concrete dust which will therefore get into the motor and the vacuum will cease to operate.

Diamond Disc Selection
Diamond discs are not all the same, in fact there are dozens to choose from and selecting the right diamond disc is of vital importance.  The result of getting it wrong will either pain to you as the grinding process takes much, much longer than it should or pain to you hip pocket as you burn through multiple diamond discs when one correctly chosen disc would have sufficed for the entire job.Before talking to your supplier about selecting the correct diamond disc, consider finding out the answer to these questions as it will help in the selection process.
  • Do you only want to remove the material on top of the concrete or some concrete as well?
  • What type of material are you attempting to remove?
  • How thick is the material?
  • How hard is your concrete? i.e. is it recently laid within 90 days, is it a high MPa (commercial) concrete or a lower MPa (eg. Garden shed / pathway/domestic) concrete?


In order to complete your job in a reasonable time frame with no more effort than is necessary, it’s really important that you use professional-grade equipment such as the items listed above which are all available from Centenary Hire.

If you hire from Centenary Hire, the team on the Hire Desk are available to answer your questions and ensure you have all the information you need to achieve a good quality finish. Once you have the right equipment, all that’s left to do is follow the instructions and use some good old fashioned elbow grease.

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Centenary Hire is a Tradesmen & Weekend Warrior’s best friend. Our ever increasing range of hire equipment consists of modern tools, machinery, scaffold, access equipment and site services all of which are aimed at helping you get the job done right – the first time. Our friendly staff can help you to choose the right equipment for your project or you can view & book your equipment online now atwww.CentenaryHire.com.au. Drop into our store at Sumner Park or request an equipment delivery as our efficient transport service extends well beyond the limits of Brisbane on a daily basis.



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