The best way to grind down concrete for any given project will depend on the amount of concrete you need to grind as well as the surface texture you want to leave behind. Some projects may require a simple walk-behind floor grinder with a modest tooling grit while others may need the abrasive removal power of a concrete scarifier.

Runyon Surface Prep is a leading concrete equipment rental and purchase facility. We carry a variety of tools designed for concrete surface removal. This post is intended to highlight how best to grind your surface depending on the penetration and finishing demands of the project.

Grinding Down Coated & Finished Concrete

There are a few ways you can grind down and remove layers of concrete coating and sealers.  

  1. Floor grinder: to strip the topmost coat, whether that’s an epoxy overlay or a layer of paint.
  2. Concrete scarifier: to remove concrete coats with the purpose of also leveling or texturizing
  3. Shot blaster: to remove deeper layers of surface coats or otherwise covered concrete

There are also chemicals you can use to remove the concrete coating, though that would involve a different approach not covered in this blog post.

Preparing for a New Coat

Some concrete professionals grind surfaces to prepare them for a new coat. The roughness or texture of the surface will determine its compatibility for coating, as measured by concrete surface profile (CSP). If you plan to use a basic sealer, you’ll want a CSP of 1 to 2 (0 to 0.75mm).

To leave a rougher texture for a higher CSP, use a concrete scarifier. For a lower texture CSP, a planetary floor grinder with diamond tooling will do fine.

Leveling Out Concrete

Public municipalities and commercial building owners alike know the struggle of maintaining pathway compliance for the public. When walkways have a discontinuity (or uneven concrete slabs) of more than one-half inch (vertically), the United States federal government requires repair or leveling.

What’s the most efficient way to make a compliant walkway? With a concrete shaver. Runyon currently carries Von Arx concrete shavers, in propane or electric options. Using a rotating drum cutter, shavers remove layers of concrete with accurate precision, making unlevel slabs level again.

If you don’t have a shaver, we offer them for rent. Alternatively, minor bumps or very fine discontinuities can be ground down with a traditional floor grinder.

General Polishing

If you’re simply looking for a good polish, you have two options equipment-wise: a floor grinder or a power trowel adapted for diamond tool polishing.

Floor Grinder

Planetary floor grinders vary in power and coverage. They also vary in power type, available in propane and electric versions. Floor grinders are a contractor’s best friend as they make both a great long-term investment for the everyday surface prepper or a great one-off rental tool for the concrete construction worker looking for a quick polish.

Power Trowel

Traditionally used for troweling concrete and removing moisture for best curing, innovative engineers have now made it possible for power trowels to also polish concrete for very basic top-layer grinds. Ride-on power trowels may be fitted with RSP’s magnetic preload system, which allows for an easy tooling switch-out for varying grits.

Grinders, Shavers, Shot Blasters – For Rent or Purchase

Runyon Surface Prep provides a wide range of concrete surface equipment for rent or purchase. We aim to establish long-term partnerships with businesses of all sizes, improving their project efficiency and getting them what they need when they need it.

If you’re looking to rent a concrete floor grinder for polishing, simply give us a call or inquire online and we’ll help set up an order for you.