The wet polishing method has been around for over a century. Concrete surface professionals use wet polishing to prevent the surface from overheating and add a measure of safety from hazardous silica dust. Wet polishing can also reduce unnecessary friction on diamond tooling and increase equipment longevity.
It wasn’t until the late 20th century that the wet polishing method took a backseat to dry polishing. In part, this is because modern machines in concrete industries are better able to handle a dry abrasion. That said, the benefits of wet polishing remain true today and many operators still prefer it when given the choice.
This post will cover four reasons why you should consider the wet polishing approach in your 2022 surface prep projects.
#1 Wet Polishing Provides Better Crystalline Silica Safety
Crystalline silica is a mineral found in concrete. When concrete equipment grinds or chips away at concrete surfaces in the dry polishing method, it releases silica particles into the air. Inhaled silica particles can lead to long-term health issues, including lung diseases.
While silica safety measures have taken great leaps in recent years, and concrete dust collection has improved, wet polishing provides a safe alternative method that interrupts silica dust at its source. Rather than forcing silica dust up into the air as dry abrasion does, wet abrasion from adding water to the surface will cause the silica to liquefy and prevent it from suspension.
Of course, wet polishing isn’t perfect. The method produces what professionals know as concrete slurry, a liquid residue that must be properly disposed of after polishing. We’ll cover slurry management shortly.
#2 Diamond Tooling Longevity
For the everyday surface prepper, going through diamond tooling can be a hassle. Not only does water in the wet polishing method prevent tools from overheating, but the lack of friction in wet polishing actually keeps tooling in good shape for longer than with dry polishing.
Does Wet Polishing Require Certain Pads & What Grit Should I Use?
Your tooling is depending on factors like power, environment, and project goals. If you’re looking for a smoother gloss when wet polishing—just like with dry polishing—you’ll need a higher grit. There are also diamond tooling products designed specifically for wet polishing.
#3 An Abundance of Resources for Amateurs
The longstanding tradition of wet polishing, having a 70+ year head-start on dry polishing, means there are a ton of resources available for best practices. That said, the differences between dry and wet polishing aren’t so vast that you need a guidebook to navigate them. If you’ve dry polished before, adapting to wet polishing should be a breeze for you. You’ll simply need to learn how to manage the mess.
#4 Slurry Management Gets Easier Every Year
The slurry maintenance process may be a turnoff for some contractors who aren’t familiar with up-to-date housekeeping measures. After all, who wants to take care of a muddy concrete puddle? Well, these days there are products designed to complement the wet polishing process for optimal efficiency and cleanliness.
That includes wet vacuums with pre-separators to help with concrete-slurry separation. There’s also the help from solidification agents, which are slurry management solutions that separate water from slurry and make for easier disposal through a watering bag.
Why Should I Care About Slurry Management?
Slurry with high pH levels (above 12.5) can be corrosive. You should take adequate measures when disposing slurry so as not to damage your environment. Not only is this important for the sake of environmental care, but it’s also mandated by federal law under the Clean Water Act.
Runyon Surface Prep – Everything You Need to Remove, Install, Polish, & Finish
Runyon Surface Prep provides wet and dry polishing equipment to concrete surface professionals on an international scale. We aim to be your one-stop shop for all things surface prep. That includes abrasive machines like floor grinders, scarifiers, and shot blasters, as well as simple accessories like hoses and tooling.
So, whether you’re a contractor hoping to expand your capabilities or a rental company with the need for a larger catalog, we’ve got a solution fit for your surface prep needs.
Check out our products or connect with us online to learn more.