Floor grinders are machines used by DIY enthusiasts and restoration professionals. They are most commonly used on concrete, hardwood, and stone floors. The machine uses rotating discs to clean, polish, smooth, or refinish floor surfaces. Abrasive pads on the bottom of the machine grind off the top surface of the floor, helping to level it or remove surface-level blemishes. Other pads can polish the surface of the floor to a high shine or help clean it. Floor grinders can help resolve certain flooring issues and create a clean, level surface that's ready for further treatment.
How Floor Grinders Work
Floor grinding machines all work in the same basic way, though there are differences in their quality, power, and abilities. An operator either sits on or walks behind the machine while it works. They move the machine over the surface of the floor in smooth, even movements while discs on the bottom spin underneath. Each of those discs holds a pad that grinds or polishes the floor, depending on what material is used to make the pad. The number of discs on the machine will vary depending on the type of machine and the surface you are working on. There may be as few as one disc and as many as six working at the same time.
Some floor grinders work on a wet surface while others work only on dry surfaces. Either may use a vacuum for dust or water control. Operators can also use a dust skirt to help keep the dust from the grinding process to a minimum.
For most floor grinding projects, operators start with a high-grit pad and work their way down to the finest grit pad. If working on concrete or stone, when the floor is perfectly smooth and level, the polishing process can begin.
These machines are instrumental in creating beautiful, shiny, and perfectly finished floors.
What Floor Grinding Can Do for Different Flooring Types
Floor grinding is most commonly used on concrete floors. That's partially due to the popularity of concrete flooring. There are more than 400,000 warehouses in the United States, and 20% of them have more than 100,000 square feet of space. Most of those have concrete floors and for good reason. Concrete is inexpensive, extremely durable, and it will last for a long time. So it's a low maintenance option for warehouses, but that doesn't mean it won't ever need some kind of maintenance. Concrete can crack, become uneven as the building settles, and experience chips and stains from spills and accidental drops. So when a concrete floor starts to look worse for wear, it's time to put a floor grinder to work.
Floor grinding is a great restoration option for concrete flooring because it can:
Remove spills and stains
Help create a smooth and level surface
Grind off mastic, glue, or epoxy
Polish and clean the floor
Prepare the concrete for further treatment
Floor grinding is the ideal first step for refinishing a concrete floor. From there, the concrete can either remain as-is or treated further as you or your client desires. With the right combination of finishing techniques, floor grinding be the first step in turning a boring concrete floor into a surface that looks like wood or marble.
Hardwood flooring is a popular choice for homeowners. The variety of wood colors, styles, and patterns make it an attractive option while also being durable. Hardwood floors are low maintenance, too, with the occasional dust and damp mop enough to keep them clean. Hardwood can take a lot of traffic and damage and still look great, but it's not invincible. As any homeowner who has had hardwood can tell you, eventually you will need to refinish your wood floors.
With the right floor grinder accessories, you can change your concrete floor grinder into one that's perfect for refinishing the surface of a hardwood floor. The process is primarily the same, as it involves removing the top layer of finish off of the floor to reveal bare wood underneath. Then you can treat the bare, clean wood with a new wood stain and coat of sealant.
Floor grinders are great for refinishing exterior wood surfaces, too, such as wooden decking. You can restore a wood deck much faster with a grinder. Their larger surface area helps efficiently remove the top layer of the wood so it's ready for a fresh stain and an outdoor sealant.
Grinders are great for wood floors if you want to:
Change the color of the stain on the floors
Remove scratches, dents, and dings on the surface of the wood
Remove old varnish and bring back the shine to the wood
Because floor grinders are available for rent, they make a great option for homeowners who want to restore their hardwood floors themselves. The floor grinder can cover a lot of surface in a short amount of time, greatly reducing the time (and effort) in sanding down a hardwood floor.
Stone flooring, such as marble and granite, is a popular flooring choice for both residential and commercial buildings. It's one of the best flooring options for an office. When professionally maintained, stone flooring provides a hard-wearing surface that's easy to care for and extremely fire resistant. Like all flooring types, though, stone floors will eventually need some maintenance. Stone floors can lose their shine as the finish wears off and high traffic areas experience years of use. They can also be a victim to accidental drops, leaving dents and damage on the surface.
Floor grinding can help restore the appearance of stone flooring by:
Leveling the surface of the floor
Preparing it for treatment
Polishing the stone to a high gloss
This is beneficial for both newly laid stone floors as well as those that have been down a long time and need refreshing. Refinishing the surface of the stone with a floor grinder is much cheaper than replacing it with new stone flooring, too, meaning an investment in a floor grinder could end up paying for itself.
Is a Floor Grinder Right for Your Next Project?
Whether you are a floor refinishing pro or a first-time DIY homeowner, restoring the look of a floor is easier when you have the right tools. If you are working on concrete, stone, or wood surfaces, then a floor grinder can be a powerful tool to help you get the best results faster. Contact Onfloor today for help selecting the right floor grinding machine and accessories for your next project.