Surface prep is deceptively simple.
The process itself is easy enough to understand, but where do you start? Choosing the right tools and methods is dependent on asking the right questions:
1) What is the final result I'm aiming for?
Will I be applying an overlay? An epoxy? Will this floor get a lot of vehicle traffic? What purpose is this part of the structure going to serve?
The best place to start is very often the end. Getting specific about the desired result of the project helps you know how best to tackle it. Just as certain products are right for certain projects, in the same way certain surface prep methods are right for certain products and purposes. Some surface coatings may not bond with the concrete correctly if it hasn't been prepped in the right way.
2) What is the current condition of the floor?
Are there cracks, spalls, damaged joints, etc.? Are there oil stains or chemical damage? Is there already an overlay or epoxy on the existing concrete? Has there been carpet or tile?
You need to get down to clean, strong concrete before applying anything new. Different tools are better suited for different kinds of damage to the concrete. Similarly, some tools or methods are better than others when removing wood, mastic, etc. Besides this, you should also consider the hardness of the surface. In grinding, for example, softer concrete calls for harder tooling, while harder concrete requires softer tooling. Phipps carries Husqvarna Redi-Lock diamond segments and other tooling with a variety of grits.
3) What's the size of the project?
Grinding a three hundred square foot mechanical room is a very different animal than working on a much larger warehouse. You can immediately narrow down your options just by looking at the project's physical size. Likewise, a good understanding of how cramped or open the space is will help you make the right choice.
These questions come to a head at a larger question: what equipment do I need to use?
That is to say, all these questions help you answer the question of equipment. For instance, repurposing a historic building with tight spaces and heavily damaged surfaces may require smaller, more heavy-hitting equipment. A large, open showroom, on the other hand, will need larger equipment to get the work done quickly.
If you can answer all the above questions, our reps can more easily help you identify the right equipment to ensure success on your next project.
Each of the above questions—and many related ones—merit their own discussion.
That's why we're starting a blog series devoted exclusively to the subject of surface prep. We'll take apart the different factors contractors need to consider when planning a surface prep job so you can get work done with confidence.