Concrete Preparation and Floor Removal - Overview

Concrete – one of the most versatile products ever created and utilised heavily as both a primary floor surface and also as the main substrate for the application of flooring compounds.

In both cases, the quality of the finished surface is directly related to the quality of the concrete preparation techniques used. In the case of newly laid concrete, a mechanically weak surface layer with high water content forms during the drying out period (known as laitance) which must be removed prior to polishing the concrete or applying a surface coating. For existing concrete, any failed coating or contaminants (e.g. greases, oils, and other solids) should also be removed prior to the application of a new coating.

Roads, bridges & walkways are also places where concrete is found as a primary surface. Rough, uneven surfaces can be dangerous, leading to trips & falls. Concrete preparation techniques can also be applied here to provide a smooth, safe environment to pedestrians.

Concrete Shot Blasting

SPE International produce a large range of walk behind Shot Blasting Machines; from the smallest SPE 9ES with a 9″ profile width up to the Super 20ES with a wide 20″ profile designed for the most demanding and toughest jobs.

Shot blasting is the preferred method of preparing large area floor surfaces and those where the finish of the floor surface must be cleaned and textured to establish the best adhesive properties; blasting also has the advantage of re-texturing any existing profile.

The actual process of blast cleaning involves tiny steel balls (shot) being thrown at the surface to be cleaned via a high velocity rotating blast wheel. By varying the speed of the blasting machine, the rate of flow of shot & the size of the shot, differing surface textures can be achieved. This process conditions the floor surface, leaving a profile that allows coatings to gain both physical and chemical adhesion.

All of our shot blasting machines utilise dust free technology, where both spent abrasive and contaminants are vacuumed up into a recovery unit; a totally enclosed process which is environmentally friendly, efficient and also very cost effective.

Concrete Planing / Scarifying

Planer / Scarifier machines use steel or carbide tipped cutters connected to a high speed rotating drum to fracture the old, contaminated floor thus abrading the concrete surface.

This abrasion leads to a rougher surface than shot blasting, but through the use of varying cutters the smoothness of finish can be controlled. However, there are many instances where a scarified finish is preferred to that of shot blasting. For instance, removal of rubber deposits from airport runways via scarification leaves a cleaned surface with anti-skid properties.

Further for thick, tough, durable surface coatings, a scarified finish provides a greater surface area for surface adhesion. Scarifying is also preferred over shot blasting when removing rubbery or sticky surfaces, or when the surface is quite thick. All our planer / scarifiers can be utilised with vacuums to remove contaminants & debris in a totally enclosed, environmentally friendly process.

Concrete Grinding and Polishing

Concrete grinding is a surface preparation technique that is sometimes overlooked, many contractors concentrating on grinding as a polishing process. Whilst polishing is an important process, grinding as a surface preparation technique has a wide and versatile application.

SPE International and Innovatech Products produce many types of grinding and polishing machines – from small to the large SPE DFG 700 Triple Head Planetary Floor Grinder depending upon the task in hand. As well as grinding the surface, the DFG equipment range can be quickly fitted with various tools for removing, for example, waterproof membranes, elastomeric coatings and heavily built up adhesives. Diamond grinding plates are easily fitted for the light preparation of surfaces for thin coating applications and are available for both hard and soft surfaces. Specialist PCD tools can be used for the rapid removal of adhesive, coatings and failed latex from a hard substrate.

Concrete grinders are also the ideal choice for repairing imperfections in concrete floors, slabs and walkways; gently evening out any imperfections to leave a smooth finish. Grinding concrete surfaces may be a slower process than shot blasting or scarifying techniques, but is the only option when either a polished finish or a micro-fine substrate is required for a surface coating.

Floor Surface Removal

Many concrete surface preparation projects involve the removal of floor surfaces prior to treatment of the substrate and application of a new surface. What is important is that as much floor surface and adhesive compound be removed as quickly as possible in a single pass.

Power scrapers – such as the SPE MS range of surface removal tools – significantly decrease labour cost when removing sheet vinyl, linoleum, cork, bonded carpet, woodblock, tiles, debonded membranes, sports surfaces and failed latex. Designed with a strong, solid high performance chassis, the MS 230 and MS 330 forward as much power to the floor scraper blade as possible for optimum performance.

For larger projects, and those where as much versatility and power is required ( for example when removing tough ceramic tiled surfaces ), the Innovatech designed Terminator range of sit and ride floor scrapers are truly leaders in the field. Available in 2 battery powered electric and a propane powered option, the Terminators are designed to deliver as much power as possible to the forward scraping or chisel tool allowing the removal of carpet and tile at astonishing rates. All can fit through a standard doorway width.

Further, the 2 battery powered models of Terminator floor removal systems yield zero emissions allowing them to be used indoors without harming people in close proximity via exhaust or noise pollution. With no cable attachment, they are the optimum floor scraper solution.