A newly refinished concrete floor can bring a whole new look and improved function to a venue, whether it is a shopping mall, warehouse, or residential garage. Providing concrete refinishing services can be a lucrative business, but only if you're doing it correctly.
If you're new to concrete grinding and polishing or want to brush up on your technique, it's good to research common mistakes and best practices. These guidelines can cover how to pick the right equipment as well as how to use it properly.
They also can help you avoid costly errors, such as wasting time, ruining a floor, and damaging your business reputation.
To find out if you've been committing some of these common mistakes and learn how to fix them, keep reading.
Most Common Concrete Refinishing Mistakes
If you don't have years of experience, using the correct equipment can get tricky. Many different models and types of concrete grinders and attachments go with them.
There is also a technique that you should use for each type of grinder and polisher.
Here are the top mistakes that concrete grinding professionals make.
Starting The Job Without Inspection
If you're behind on your timeline, it's tempting to get started on jobs as quickly as you finish them. Rushing to start grinding, however, is a huge mistake. Each concrete grinding and polishing job requires a thorough inspection of the floor before you start.
Without inspecting the floor, you won't know for sure which equipment you should be using. You should identify the type of concrete you're dealing with, such as whether it is hard or soft and if there are areas that need special attention with a floor edger.
You also will be applying equipment to areas where you should have treated the concrete first, such as with a hammer or hand grinder. If you don't fix issues like above-grade areas, you could end up ruining your equipment.
Running your diamond segment along the concrete that is above grade could knock it off its balance and damage your grinder.
Ruining your grinder halfway through a project is no way to catch up on your timeline. Instead, you'll be days or even weeks behind as you recuperate and repair.
Running At High Speed
When you're feeling pressured to get the job done on time, you might consider picking up the speed on your concrete grinding and polishing equipment. It's a common mistake because many professionals believe that they can get it done faster if they work more quickly.
Unfortunately, concrete grinding equipment isn't that pretty flexible. Increasing the speed too much on your equipment can cause numerous problems, including:
An uneven job
First, running your equipment at too high of a speed can cause it to overheat and malfunction. In addition, running your equipment too fast can cause the diamonds to grind down and "glaze over." In other words, they won't be able to cut properly anymore, ruining your ability to grind and polish.
The money you thought you would be saving on finishing the job quickly will now be spent on repairs or buying new equipment.
Choosing The Most Affordable Equipment
Small businesses that are just starting up have a hard time avoiding budget restraints. Starting up a business is very expensive and demands that you go without a profit or salary for quite a while. As a result, a lot of newer concrete professionals end up buying cheap equipment.
The biggest financial mistake is choosing to buy cheap diamonds for your grinders. Cheaper diamonds are almost always poor quality and will not do you any favors during a job. If you're looking for more affordable diamonds, make sure to research the product outside of the price to make sure you aren't risking your business.
In addition, buying cheaper diamonds almost always means that you'll be buying diamonds more frequently. They wear down faster and not as consistently, and they can even scratch up floors. On top of all that, cheaper companies usually offer less customer support, leaving you to pick up the pieces.
At the end of the day, buying cheaper equipment doesn't mean saving money.
Not Addressing Errors Right Away
When you're in a rush to finish, you might think you can get most of the work done and then go back to fix any errors. Unfortunately, a concrete grinding and polishing job is not that forgiving. In addition, if you are starting to notice problems, they won't get better with time.
When your equipment is beginning to scratch up the floor, for example, it means there's a problem with your equipment. You should always be checking as you go for the product you're leaving behind. Otherwise, you'll end up ruining the entire floor.
If you notice any problems at all, you must stop and correct them. Go back over and remove the scratches before you continue.
Moving onto the next step and going over the scratches will not fix them, so you cannot move on and expect them to disappear.
The Basics of Concrete Grinding and Polishing
If you're wondering how to grind a concrete floor and perfect your floor polishing techniques, you'll need to follow basic steps and best practices. Making sure you've picked the right equipment, followed the best technique, and complied with all regulations will ensure a job well done.
Below are the steps and best practices you should follow for every job.
Picking The Right Grinding Tools
As you gain experience, you'll realize that each job has its own quirks. Every concrete floor is a little different, and it takes time for a professional to understand these differences. It takes even longer to respond with the correct technique and choose the right grinders.
During your initial inspection, you'll want to diagnose the project with what type of concrete you need to grind. Also, check how big the area is and whether some nooks and crannies require different tools.
Always make sure you are choosing the correct diamond for the hardness of the concrete. Choosing the wrong diamond for the concrete floor could mean wearing away the diamonds too quickly or scratching up the floor.
Some choices also come down to preference. You can also choose from planetary and rotary grinders.
Other choices have pretty set answers. For example, you should use a hand grinder for hard-to-reach areas, while walk-behind or ride-on grinders are best for larger areas.
All of these questions should be asked when buying equipment for your professional armory. They should also be revisited when you're choosing equipment for the job.
If you use the wrong tools for the job, you'll waste time and lose money.
Picking The Right Speed
To pick the right speed for your concrete floor grinder, you need to make sure you understand your equipment settings and the job you're planning to achieve. All concrete grinding equipment has a maximum speed, but it's rarely a good decision to turn the dial all the way up.
The manufacturer of your concrete grinding equipment will often offer a recommended drum speed. Using the said recommendation, you can turn the dial-up or down to perfect the performance of your equipment according to the job.
You should also monitor how fast the grinder is moving across the concrete floor. Specific grinding equipment can tend to veer off in one direction when used at the wrong speed, so you have to be careful. Moving at an uneven speed also means level uneven spots on the floor.
Always remember that higher speeds do not mean faster jobs and better quality. In fact, it's almost always the opposite. To do the best job in optimal time, you should do it correctly with the right techniques.
Sticking To The Order Of Things
Grinding and polishing concrete requires you to follow the correct order of actions. Skipping steps or going out of order can damage both your equipment and the floor.
When you are refinishing a concrete floor, you must always remove existing coatings first. For thicker coatings, use a 16 or 20 grit diamond for aggressive removal. Once the coating is removed, go in and seal any cracks and joints with filler.
Once you've removed the coating, you can move on to grinding with a 30 or 40 grit metal-bonded diamond, then an 80 grit metal-bonded diamond. Finally, use a 150 grit or higher metal-bonded diamond to achieve a final product.
You can then move on to polishing with a 100 or 200 grit resin-bond diamond. Follow that step with a 400 grit resin-bond diamond. Then, polish with an 800 grit resin bond diamond and finish the final polishing with a 1500 or 3000 grit resin-bond diamond depending on the sheen level desired.
To finish off the job, you'll want to consider applying a stain guard so that the newly polished surface is protected and lasts longer.
Following Government Regulations
The government has strict rules for grinding and polishing concrete because of the safety hazards it causes. For one, grinding concrete down creates silica dust, which is dangerous to inhale or consume. You must use methods to clean up the dust and protect everyone, whether you use a professional vacuum with a filter system or water to turn the dust into mud.
If you don't comply, you could be reported, sued, and put out of business.
Be Safe And Make A Profit
When you choose to follow regulations and best practices, you'll turn your young concrete grinding and polishing business into a successful company. It will take time and practice, but soon you'll be an expert that finishes jobs perfectly and on time.
Onfloor Technologies provides a wide selection of concrete grinders and polishers and all the attachments. Don't go a second longer without buying the right equipment for your business. Browse our concrete grinders today!