The Daily Grind: Choosing The Right Concrete Grinder For Preparing Concrete Floors For Coatings

Preparing, grinding and polishing a concrete floor before coating it with a paint or vinyl coatings can be a messy and time-consuming business at the best of times, and whether you need to prepare the concrete floor of a single-car garage or a sprawling goods warehouse, choosing the right grinder for the job will make your preparations much easier and quicker.

However, a wide variety of different concrete grinders are available, and choosing the right model for your needs can be difficult without a little research and forward planning. If you need to prepare a concrete floor for coating, ask yourself the following questions, and keep your answers in mind as you shop around for a new grinder. This will ensure that the grinder you choose is perfectly suited to your preparation needs.

How large is the concrete floor you intend to coat?

Concrete floor grinders come in three basic types: small handheld grinders, larger walk-behind grinders and ride-on grinders, the largest and most powerful concrete grinders available. Naturally, the larger and more powerful the grinder you choose, the more expensive it will be to buy or hire, so you shouldn't choose a grinder that is either too larger or too small for your needs.

If you only need to prepare the concrete floor of a single, relatively small room for coatings (such as the floor of a garage or large shed), a handheld grinder should be sufficient, and can help you complete the job in under a day. However, you may wish to choose a walk-behind grinder if you have extra cash to spare, as these grinders are considerably easier to use, not to mention easier on your knees.

If you need to prepare the concrete floor of a larger industrial or commercial building, walk-behind or ride-on grinders are generally the best option. While they are more expensive to buy and hire, choosing a handheld grinder for larger jobs often turns out to be more expensive, as the job will take considerably longer (increasing labour costs) and you will need to replace the grinder's grinding discs at more frequent intervals as they wear out. The cost of numerous replacement discs can quickly add up, especially if you choose diamond grinding discs.

Should I choose a single or multi-disc grinder?

On the subject of grinding discs, you will need to decide how many grinding discs your chosen grinder should use to prepare your floor. Single-disc grinders tend to be cheaper, and are more than capable of smoothing out minor imperfections and stress cracks in a newly laid concrete floor. However, the operator using your single-disc grinder will need to be somewhat skilled, as improper use of a single-disc grinder can lead to uneven floors.

Multi-disc grinders are more expensive, but the increase grinding area provided by multiple discs makes it much easier to achieve a level finish to your floor, making them a better choice for amateur users. Spreading wear and tear across multiple discs also allows each disc to be used for longer before it needs to be replaced, saving you time and money if you have a particularly large floor that needs grinding.

Should I choose a grinder with a built-in dust vacuum?

Grinding a concrete floor to prepare it for coatings creates a lot of concrete dust, a messy and potentially harmful substance that can cause seirous health problems if inhaled. Minimising the amount of dust created by your grinding project is therefore essential. 

Many professional concrete contractors use 'wet grinding' practises to minimise dust problems; wetting the concrete before it is ground causes the dust to clump instead of releasing it into the air. Wet grinding can be impractical for certain jobs, however, so if you intend to grind dry concrete, you should choose a grinder with a built-in vacuum that will suck up the vast majority of the dust as it is created. These vacuums are particularly useful if you are working indoors, where airborne concrete dust can be particularly hazardous.

For more information, contact companies that specialise in construction products.