Wet polishing is the oldest known method of concrete surface prep, dating back to the early 1900s. It wasn’t until the 1990s that dry polishing was introduced to the industry, and it happened by accident. A polishing contractor left his new crew to do a job, assuming they understood the polishing process. When he returned, he found they were polishing without water. Happy with the results, dry polishing became his go-to method, and it eventually spread throughout the industry.

However, wet polishing wasn’t left in the lurch. In fact, there are many who would argue wet polishing is still the most effective and beneficial method. In this post, we’ll walk you through the advantages of mechanical wet polishing and what Runyon Surface Prep is doing to dismantle any disadvantages you may find while using this method.

6 Advantages of the Wet Polishing Method

Wet polishing can bring numerous benefits to your surface prep process. For businesses and contractors alike, concerns over safety compliance, efficiency, and equipment wear and tear can all be resolved by choosing the wet polishing approach over dry polishing. Specifically, wet polishing can benefit surface prep in the following ways:

  1. Wet polishing is 100% dust-free, which eliminates OSHA compliance issues. In other words, hazardous dust like crystalline silica is much less of a threat to workers’ health when using the wet polishing approach. Note, however, that choosing the wet polishing method doesn’t necessarily mean the worker is exempt from taking safety measures. Especially when mechanical grinding and polishing, it’s still recommended that you use the proper protective eyewear and masks to prevent harmful exposure.
  2. The water used in mechanical wet polishing cools the diamond tooling, acting as a lubricant to reduce friction. The water also helps clean the abrasives. 
  3. It is not uncommon for dry polishing to cause overheating in the process and subsequently melting the resin and resulting in a glaze. Wet polishing occurs at a lower temperature, preventing melted resin and increasing the life of your tools.
  4. Wet polishing decreases pitting in the floor (which dry polishing will increase) and could result in a grouting step.  
  5. Wet polishing also doesn’t create surface abrasion. 
  6. Because it’s the oldest form of polishing, there are over a hundred years of documentation and expert guidance available if you choose this route for polishing concrete.

How Runyon Surface Prep Combats Industry Concerns Around Wet Polishing

Of course, no concrete polishing method is perfect. Some surface prep industry concerns related to wet polishing include longer clean-up times, slurry management, and water wastefulness. But Runyon has taken steps to combat these issues, resulting in an easier process and ultimately optimized concrete surface preparation.

  • Slurry Solutions and Management. As OSHA’s new standard for silica exposure in 2017, there has been a rise in wet polishing and, consequently, a rise in the need for slurry solutions. Runyon combats hazardous concrete slurry using slurry solution products like SlurrySep, which allows you to separate the solids from the water, creating a sludge that can be disposed of as solid, construction waste material.
  • Prosoco First Cut with Densifier. This product helps harden the surface while suspending slurry to keep tools clean. It also minimizes scratches created during lower grit diamond tooling steps and is ideal for power trowel polishing.
  • High Gloss. There are some who say wet polishing does not create the same high shine and gloss that dry polishing accomplishes. But with Runyon tooling, you can reach a very high gloss with maximum surface refinement.

Runyon Wet Polishing Diamond Tooling

Runyon Surface Prep carries a range of diamond tooling at various grits and pads to meet the needs of your project. The Runyon Wet Slick polishing pads, for example, are ideal for wet polishing. With a long lifespan and serious flexibility, the Runyon Wet Slick pads pair well with a heavy grinder or power trowel machine. And, thanks to their unique design, water and debris easily passes through the pad channels. Runyon’s range of tooling includes:

  • Metals (Wet or dry): 4-Seg (16 or 30 grit) OR 8-Seg + 10-seg (30,70, or 120 grit)
  • Coppers (Wet or Dry): 30 – 800 grit
  • Resin (Dry): SP3 Pads or Race Resins (800 – 3,000 grit) 

Concrete Surface Prep Equipment and Solutions Fit for Your Project

Every freshly polished concrete surface is unique and requires the right balance of skill and preparation. Runyon Surface Prep provides businesses and contractors with surface prep equipment and solutions for a variety of concrete surface needs. From ride-on trowels and handheld grinders to epoxy resin, polyurethane, and polyaspartic coatings, we have the resources necessary to make your job easier and more efficient. We also offer equipment rental options.

Our offices are located in Carmel, Indiana and Rancho Cordova, California. We care for our customers like family, meaning that you can rest assured we’ll get you the supplies and equipment you need – wherever you may be! Contact us today to learn more.