Stoops Freightliner Mastic Removal

We have seven effective methods to remove concrete build-up and residue. These methods cater to various project requirements and surface conditions, ensuring optimal outcomes for any flooring. 

Each floor brings with it a unique set of challenges based on several determining factors:

  • Condition of the floor
  • Type of surface residue
  • Concrete profile
  • Square footage of the job
  • Desired finished floor
  • Budget

After this initial assessment, contractors can choose the most suitable solution among the different methods for surface preparation, each offering specific benefits and specialties for tackling residue build-up. 

7 Effective Methods to Remove Concrete Build-up

Below is an overview of the seven most effective methods.

1. Grinding

Grinding can remove almost any coating or mastic–especially epoxy and glue. It’s best suited for large areas and purely polished concrete jobs, though due to diamond technology, it tends to be more costly. 

Grinding options include conventional segments or metal-bonded diamonds for brittle adhesives, carbides for tacky adhesives, and PCDs (polycrystalline diamonds) for thicker residues or epoxy coatings.

HTC and Husqvarna grinders are best for achieving a smooth and polished concrete surface.

2. Shot Blasting

Shot blasting cleans off thin coatings and paints over large square footage. It’s the best method for jobs requiring a concrete overlay application first. 

While it can weaken or uneven the concrete surface, shot blasting remains a moderate-cost, dust-free method that provides an accurate blast pattern and a wide selection of abrasives.

3. Shaving

Shaving is ideal for removing epoxy, mastics, and paint, especially on uneven or failed concrete overlays. It achieves a moderately smooth surface profile, cuts deeper in one pass, and is more costly due to diamond technology. 

Shaving can create evenly spaced grooves for traction or level and flatten the surface.

Shavers and shot blasters: Designed for precise and effective removal of coatings and residues, including Contec shaver pads.

4. Buffing with a swing machine

Buffing with a swing machine removes glue and thin-set, working efficiently over rough surfaces. It is economical and best for smaller areas, achieving a smoother surface profile with options like a 15-inch hex pin head or heavy-duty wire brush.

Clarke swing machines: Excellent for smaller areas or where detailed work is needed.

5. Applying Chemicals

Applying Chemicals like Prosoco Cleaner Degreaser, Wax & Cure, Cure & Seal, and Oil & Grease Stain Remover can prepare the floor for hardening, densifying, and decorative applications. 

These poultice cleaners pull contaminants from the substrate and remove high-solid cures and seals, laitance, grease, grime, and oil, preventing old coatings from blocking treatment penetration.

6. Scarifying

Scarifying, a planer, milling machine, rotary cutter, or surface prep machine leaves a clean, textured, and roughened finish. It can groove to create nonslip surfaces and allow drainage, making it ideal for aggressive surface planing and removing 1/8″ per pass, up to 1/2″. This method suits various environments, including pedestrian, car, or soft-wheel traffic areas.

Walk-behind and self-propelled floor surface scarifiers: Perfect for removing thicker layers and creating a textured finish.

7. Scabbling

Scabbling uses compressed air to hammer piston-mounted bits into the concrete surface. It roughens more than grinding or scarifying and is ideal for aggressive removal of concrete at 1/4″ per pass, up to 1″. 

Suitable for heavy industrial traffic areas, scabbling prepares the surface for new concrete or epoxy mortar overlays and can break up tile.

EDCO concrete floor removal surface scabblers: Ideal for aggressive surface cleaning and preparation.

How to Remove Blast Mastic

Removing mastic requires methods that penetrate its strong bonding properties without damaging the underlying surface. Grinding and shaving are preferred for effectively removing mastic while preparing the surface for new installations or treatments.

Key Removal Methods: Grinding, Shaving

Mastic is an adhesive with super-strong bonding properties commonly used for setting tile. Builders also use mastic to seal windows, walls, and ceilings. Mastic is named after the mastic tree and is derived from its resin droplets. However, mastic can also be manufactured synthetically, which is generally less expensive.

  • Available in thin liquid, thick glue, or paste form
  • Typically applied with a caulking gun for construction use
  • Used to join panels of concrete or asphalt
  • Quickly forms a permanent bond for a variety of materials
  • Works best on hard, non-porous surfaces
  • Known for heat resistance and durability
  • Can seep into cracks and crevices, causing discoloration and general weakening

How to Remove Thinset

Thinset removal can be challenging due to its adhesive strength and potential for brittleness. Shot blasting and buffing effectively remove thinset, preparing the surface for new flooring or coatings.

Key Removal Methods: Shot blasting, Buffing with a Swing Machine

Thinset is an adhesive mortar made with cement and sand often used to apply tile to floors, walls, and countertops. It gets its name because a relatively thin layer of compound, typically less than 1/4 inch (about 0.5 cm), is used to bind objects together.

  • Available in powdered or premixed form
  • Typically applied with a notched trowel
  • Can be applied directly to the subsurface
  • Provides faster cure and dry times
  • Easier to use than mortar bed applications
  • Can be a brittle compound that tends to crack if the area shifts
  • Can be treated to increase flexibility, often with an acrylic compound additive

How to Remove Epoxy Coatings

Removing epoxy coatings requires methods that effectively break down this tough bond without damaging the underlying surface. Grinding and shaving are preferred for thoroughly removing epoxy coatings and preparing the surface for new treatments or finishes.

Key Removal Methods: Grinding, Shaving

Epoxy coatings, including epoxy paints, are known for their durable and protective qualities, creating a hard, resilient surface on concrete floors and other structures. These coatings comprise epoxy resin and a hardener, creating a chemical bond that cures a tough, long-lasting finish.

Epoxy also serves as a superior adhesive with high-level bonding power. It is used to secure different types of metal, plastic, or wood, forming a hard layer of protection. Epoxy comprises petroleum products, with polyepoxide providing bonding strength and epichlorohydrin protecting against humidity, moisture, and temperature shock

  • Uses a two-component system that requires mixing for activation 
  • Fast drying, strong bonds
  • Creates an attractive layer of floor protection that lasts for many years
  • Virtually indestructible

How to Remove Glue

Glue removal strategies vary depending on the glue type and the floor material. Buffing and chemical application are effective for breaking down and removing the glue, ensuring a clean and prepared surface for subsequent flooring applications.

Key Removal Methods: Buffing with a Swing Machine, Applying Chemicals

Glue, used to install hardwood, bamboo, vinyl floors, and carpets, can be made from various components, including modified silicone polymers (MS+), polyurethanes, and acrylics.

  • MS+ products generally form a mechanical bond with wood and a chemical bond with concrete, are unaffected by water, typically zero-VOC, and are eco-friendly
  • Polyurethanes form a chemical bond with wood and a mechanical bond with concrete – a strong, elastic bond that is also unaffected by water
  • Low VOC and generally contains solvents
  • Acrylic adhesives usually consist of polyvinyl acetate emulsions; the polymers fuse, creating what’s called a “particle entanglement” or matrix
  • Highly susceptible to moisture and usually requires a flashing-off period prior to floor installation

How Do You Remove Old Carpet Glue from Concrete?

Removing old carpet glue from concrete can be tricky, as the glue is designed to be durable and long-lasting. Mechanical methods like grinding or buffing and chemical treatments can effectively dissolve or scrape away the adhesive. 

Before you begin, assess the glue’s composition (whether water-based or solvent-based) to choose the most effective removal method. 

Chemical removers designed for carpet glue can soften and break down the adhesive, making it easier to scrape off. Grinding or buffing can physically remove the residue, leaving a clean and smooth surface.

Machines that Remove Glue

Specialized machines like floor grinders, scarifiers, and swing machines are highly effective for efficiently removing glue from large areas. These machines are designed to tackle different types of adhesives and can remove glue quickly and thoroughly. 

Grinders are ideal for hard, stubborn adhesives, while swing machines with buffing heads can remove softer, more pliable glues. Choosing the right machine will depend on the glue’s characteristics and the condition of the underlying surface.

Concrete Build-up Remover

A concrete residue remover is a product or method used to clean unwanted residues from concrete surfaces. These can range from chemical solvents and cleaners designed to break down specific types of residue to mechanical methods like grinding, shot blasting, and scarifying, which physically remove the material from the concrete’s surface. 

The choice of remover will depend on the type of residue. Chemical removers are often used for substances like oil or grease, and mechanical methods are preferred for thicker, more adherent materials like epoxy or mastic.

Embrace the efficiency and effectiveness of high-quality equipment in transforming old, residue-laden floors into pristine surfaces ready for new installation or finish. With Runyon Surface Prep, you can access industry-leading technology and expertise and complete your projects to the highest standards.