Epoxy coating is majorly preferred for garage floor coatings since they have powerful chemical resistance properties. They're also very tough, and their strong adhesion makes them reliable for these types of floors.
These qualities can, however, be a challenge if you wish to upgrade a garage floor. If the epoxy weren't applied correctly, you'd need a high quality specialized machine for the job.
What is the Best Way to Remove Epoxy flooring for Garage Floor?
There are two common ways you can remove epoxy from a concrete surface. You can either use chemicals (solvent or stripper) or simply grind them away.
While using chemicals would appear to be less labor-intensive, it may not deliver the perfect results if you're working on a garage floor where another expert applied the epoxy. The epoxies used on garage floors bind with the concrete chemically, making them very hard to remove, therefore durable on high-use areas like the garage floors.
In grinding away the epoxy coating, you'll need to be careful not to scratch the underlying concrete as this would damage it, and you may need to pour another floor.
Step by Step Guide on how to Remove Epoxy from Garage Floor
Step 1: Preparing the Grinder
Ensure that you're well conversant with the safety guides provided by the manufacturer of the grinder. Some manufacturers also give free demos on how to use the tool.
Be sure to confirm if the tool you wish to use as a demo. This is important because while these tools are pretty useful when it comes to removing epoxy, the large powered ones can cause severe injuries if you don't follow the recommended safety procedures.
Check to ensure that all the machine's extractor vents are not blocked and that all cables are in perfect condition. Once you're confident that everything is perfect, connect it to the power source, and then wheel it to the far end corner of the floor close to the edge.
Step 2: Install the Correct Diamond Shoes
The diamond shoes are the part of the grinder going to get in contact with the floor. For this purpose, you're going to use general-purpose shoes or carbide shoes.
The general purpose diamond shoes are preferable since they're reliably strong and are best when it comes to aggressive concrete removal or tough epoxy removal. A perfect example of one of the most reliable diamond shoes that you may consider for this job is the 16 Grit Quick Tool Double Bar Cha-Ching Diamonds. Most contractors prefer it since it can not only remove epoxy and/or urethane coatings and concrete fillers; it also removes other unwanted materials from the surface.
If you're working on a very thick-hard epoxy surface, though, this Twin PCD Quick Tool Scraper would be a recommendable option. It will also help you remove other hard to remove elements like deck coatings and waterproof membranes, among others.
Step 3: Using the Grinder
Once you've completed the setup, activate the floor grinder and give it some time to build-up to the recommended Revolutions per Minute (rpm). After that, lower its discs to the floor and move it in a side to side pattern from left to right.
Repeat this until the whole floor is cleared of the coating. Ensure that you've not missed any space.
Step 4: Cleaning the Floor
If you're using a large floor grinder like the OF30PRO | MULTI-SURFACE PLANETARY 30" CONCRETE FLOOR GRINDER & POLISHER, you'll undoubtedly have a lot of dust to deal with. You can attach a dust collector like this one to help you take care of the laitance, dust, or concrete chippings that could be left behind. Once all the dust and other materials are cleared from the surface, you can proceed to clean the floor thoroughly in readiness for other surface preparation activities that might be needed.
Remember that your overall safety is also a critical consideration. Here are a few safety tips when using grinders to remove epoxy from a garage floor.
Before Using the Machine
Ensure that you get used to the equipment. If it's the first time, take advantage of the demos if they're there and thoroughly review the manufacturer manual.
Do a risk assessment of the area you wish to work on to ensure that it's safe. Ensure that there are no wet patches that may lead to power short circuits. The area should be well-lit, and the floor should also not be cluttered.
Machine Set up
During the machine setup, ensure that you only inspect the parts when your lead is not connected to a power source, and the power is off as well.
Put on all your protective gear. These should include non-slip boots or shoes (fully enclosed), dust masks, ear muffs, safety glasses, a hard hat, and gloves. Ensure that you don't put on loose clothes that could be trapped in the equipment's moving parts.
Check to ensure that all the compartments and accessories are fully fitted on the equipment. All the safety pieces of equipment should all be functional and all in place.
Ensure that the extension lead you're using can carry the required current.
Running the Machine
Before running the machine, pay attention to the sound. It should not produce any strange noises or vibrations. If there are any or it's not behaving normally, turn it off and see if you can diagnose the fault.
If you are not sure whether you can or cannot fix the fault, contact an expert to help you fix it. If you're working in a team, notify your supervisor about the error and place a tag on the equipment to show that it's faulty.
Keep a balanced position always when operating your machine and maintain a firm grip on it as well.
When working on angles, don't force the machine to fit in awkward angles. You should also not overstretch yourself to reach some surfaces.
Do not use the machine under the influence of alcohol or any other drug. This also applies to prescription medicines that may make you get drowsy. If you feel that you're starting to lose concentration or getting tired, it would be best if you stop and get a rest first.
Ensure that the power lead doesn't get into any contact with the rotating plates. Your feet and hands should also be far away from the machine's moving parts always.
Shutting off the Machine
Once you're done, unplug your concrete grinder from the power source and turn it off.
Inspect the parts to see if there's any damage. If it needs any repair, take it to a reputable technician for repair or replacement immediately. Never use a faulty machine.
Concrete grinders are handy when it comes to epoxy flooring for garage surface preparation. Nevertheless, these are machines, and they can cause casualties if you handle them poorly. Observe safety every time you operate these machines.