Dust from crushed or ground concrete contains a hazardous particle known as crystalline silica. This particle is especially hazardous to those working in concrete surface preparation and everyday concrete worksites. Many workers in these industries risk exposure to silica on a daily basis, whether by simple proximity to a project or by grinding concrete themselves.

In addition to protective measures for preventing inhalation of crystalline silica—typically regular airflow from fans and ventilation as well as face masks—the best way to combat this dangerous particle is by performing good quality housekeeping at the facility or worksite. Concrete dust hygiene starts with an efficient dust extractor or vacuum.

At Runyon Surface Prep, we offer a wide selection of equipment fit for various concrete dust extraction needs. In this post, we’ve highlighted the primary factors you should consider when searching for a solution to the nuisance of concrete dust in your projects.  

How Much Use Will You Get Out of Your Extractor?

Because concrete dust extraction is such a high demand solution, there are various makes and models that can adhere to just about any situation. Knowing—or at least having an idea of—how often you will use the machine is among the most important matters. Not only is it a big deal to have a vacuum that’s worth your investment, but you’ll likely want one that can handle the workload.

Typical Specs for Light to Heavy Use Dust Extractors and Vacuums

Light Use: Light use concrete vacuums are usually between 35” and 45” in height, easy to transport, and range between 115 and 240 volts. Because of their size, they also make for an easier material disposal. However, if you’re doing continuous dust extraction, we recommend going with a higher-powered dust collector that has greater material capacity and a stronger motor.

Medium Use: If you’re preparing a concrete surface, odds are you won’t need the dust collector all day. But you may need it for a more extensive upkeep than the light use vacuums can provide. Your best bet is with a powerful single-phase dust extractor like the Husqvarna S 36. Collectors like these are made to meet strict industry demands while also portable (a net weight of around 200lbs) and easy to operate.

Heavy Use: For greater volumes of dust and extensive-to-continuous use, you may want a high-power dust extractor that’s engineered for serious power, high-volume containment, and longevity. Often engineered with three-phase power, their design is built for circumstances which call for constant dust upkeep. Note that they will also need access to the right electrical hookups as they typically don’t use everyday residential outlets. That’s, of course, if you go with an electrically-powered extractor – which brings us to the next factor. 

Are You Indoors or Outdoors Most Often?

Some machines are better made for indoor use than for outdoor use. If your projects typically bring you onto exterior spaces of a property, you may want to go with a propane powered dust extractor. These machines are both powerful and efficient, and they also are able to be moved without the constraints of an electric cord. Of course, if you’re indoors, you may want to consider an electric dust extractor. These are generally lighter in weight (sometimes 50-100lbs lighter) and safer for workers to use in an enclosed space.

HEPA Filters and Filtering Systems

Trapping harmful particles like crystalline silica is vital for worker safety. So, engineers got together and developed HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters long ago and they’re still used today. These filters theoretically remove dust at a minimum of 99.97% efficiency.

That said, you’re working with large volumes of dust, make sure the filter on your extractor is an HEPA filter. Additionally, many of these machines will come with a convenient cleaning system or a self-cleaning filter system to help you maintain their longevity and keep the area clean from harmful dusts.

Wet and Dry Capabilities

Another important element: liquid. Some concrete surface professionals prefer wet polishing over dry polishing, for example, and will want a dust extractor capable of wet and dry suction modes. If you don’t foresee yourself needing suction for liquid materials or wet concrete, a simple-use dry vac is a perfectly fine option as well.

Though, for professionals working with a wide range of projects, we highly recommend you find a vacuum that can withstand both wet and dry materials. Look for the “water lift” capabilities on your search to help you determine the wet vac best suited for your demands.

Concrete Equipment for Purchase or Rent

At Runyon Surface Prep, we offer dust extractors ranging from light, intermittent use capabilities to continuous, heavy use capabilities. Check out our own line of vacuums as well as the wide range of other brands we distribute. We also have an extensive list of surface prep equipment like floor grinders, scarifiers, trowels, and more. Give us a call or contact us online to learn more.