Posted by Matt Tetrault on 4th Sep 2020
Grinding and polishing concrete is not a job for the faint of heart. Besides being physically demanding, concrete grinding contractors have to keep plenty of things in mind if they want the end product to come out looking smooth and shiny. The job is quite a bit more involved than simply sanding away randomly at a piece of concrete. Here we will look at some of the most common grinding and polishing mistakes so that you know what to look out for when on the job. Bedrock Supplies is dedicated to providing you with both the knowledge and tools necessary so you can get the job done right, the first time.
One of the biggest considerations to make when grinding concrete is which type of bond your diamond tooling needs to have based on the type of concrete you will be grinding. Diamonds are set into a matrix that gets worn down to expose more diamonds the longer you grind. The hardness of the concrete will be the deciding factor of what tool to use because of how the bonds interact with concrete. The general rule of thumb is that very hard concrete requires a softer bond. Conversely, softer concrete requires a much harder bond.
If you choose the wrong kind of bond for the concrete, then one of two things will probably happen. Either the diamonds in the tools will simply not cut into the concrete and they will quickly heat up and glaze over, or the tool will cut into the concrete but far more at once than you wanted, leading to you wearing the tool down much quicker. Both outcomes result in time wasted and more money spent on tools, so always know the makeup of your concrete before grinding.
It is important to remember that when grinding concrete, slow and steady is the way to go. One of the most common grinding mistakes is trying to get it done faster than you should. Simply turning up the speed of the grinder may seem like an easy way to get the job done quickly, but resist the temptation to rush through this process. Especially on harder concrete, rushing and trying to spin the grinder too fast can very quickly overheat the diamonds in your tool and cause them to glaze over. In the worst cases, this can make your grinding tool completely useless, thus defeating the purpose of turning the speed up.
The speed of the tool is not actually what will affect the speed of the overall job. If you want faster results, what you really need to adjust is the pressure you are exerting on the tool itself. The greater the downward pressure on the tool, the more material is removed with each pass.
Understandably, one would be wary of the price of diamond tooling, as it uses diamonds after all. However, when it comes to diamond tooling, quality is going to be the most important factor over price. This is because poor quality diamonds wear down much faster than high-quality ones. Even worse, when diamonds are poor quality, you cannot be sure that they will wear down evenly. This means your tools will wear down faster and they will be producing worse results as they wear down.
Poor quality diamond tools can lead to uneven surfaces and even begin to scratch at surfaces, thus leading to even more work spent on repairing these mistakes. Buying your diamond tooling from reputable sources like Bedrock Supplies will ensure that your finishes are nice and smooth with no unseemly scratches or gashes.
There are certain things you need to look for on the floor before you begin grinding. One of the most important priorities for the health of your tools is to inspect the floor for any material that is “above grade.” This can be a variety of different materials, but more importantly, this means that they are raised above the floor’s surface. These above grade materials should be sanded down to the floor’s level by hand sanding or simply removing them.
There are consequences to skipping this step, the worst consequence being the damage your tools will take when they try to grind over these above grade materials. When not sanded down, these imperfections can knock your diamond segment off, dealing long-term damage to your tools that will most likely need to be replaced.
The urge to simply get the job done as soon as you can often lead to a less than ideal final product. Oftentimes this is because the contractor is not inspecting the floor as they grind and polish. If you are grinding and notice that you are leaving behind scratch marks, even very small ones, you are going to want to deal with them with the same level of grit that you were using when you made them.
Do not delude yourself into thinking that going to the next higher grit will buff them out. It will not, and you will actually only end up making the problem worse the longer you let it go undealt with. Go back over your scratches before they become an even bigger problem.
This is a problem that actually has nothing to do with the process of grinding and polishing itself, but is nevertheless extremely essential. You need to make sure that you understand exactly what it is the customer believes they are getting. Sometimes this will be possible, and other times it will be up to you to make them understand what they will actually be getting when the process is finished. Knowing what the customer wants is important, but so is tempering expectations should they be way beyond what is possible to achieve.
A lot of these common grinding and polishing mistakes are a result of not taking your time and thinking things through. Concrete polishing and grinding should be methodical processes that take some time and care. The quality of the end product will be a direct result of the time and care you put into it, and the care you give to your tools as well. Bedrock Supplies sells only the best concrete polishing and grinding implements so that you can know that your tools will not give out on you during the job.
All prices are in USD