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DIY vs. Professional Surface Preparation

In both commercial and residential applications, the successful installation and durability of concrete finishes such as coatings and overlays is nearly completely dependent on the level and type of preparation methods used prior to installing the floor system.

Although there are many different methods used to prepare concrete on the market, for do-it-yourself projects, these products are nowhere near as effective or able to guarantee longevity at changing the surface profile via abrasives or mechanical grinding.

Improper floor preparation leads to floor failure      

improper floor preparation

Vehicle tires can easily damage an epoxy floor placed on a badly or never prepared floor

Vehicle tires easily damage an epoxy floor place on a badly or never prepared floor

Any floor can be made beautiful with proper preparation of the surface

If a floor needs to be prepared for a product that is intended to be impact resistant, the best method of surface preparation is shot blasting. Shot blasting not only removes the surface of the concrete on a micro-level, revealing clean sound concrete, it also leaves a rough and more angular texture which is ideal for a base for high impact environments.Any floor can be made beautiful with prior preparation of the surface

For floors that need to be smoothed out, such as concrete pads (that were incorrectly placed and have trowel marks or a rough finish) grinding is the best method.

Contrary to shot blasting, grinding will smooth the surface by using a circular or multi-circular motion resulting in cutting and planing the surface. This is an ideal form of preparation for flooring systems that will be placed in thinner successive layers.

Keep in mind, when choosing a preparation method, material costs will be higher in most cases on a floor that has been shot blasted as the rough surface profile will consume more material than that of a grinded surface.

In the DIY marketplace, without the experience and necessary tools and training, the ‘do-it-yourselfer’ or homeowner is stuck with using small, nearly ineffective sanding machines vs. heavy grinding machines with a higher downforce. The downforce of a surface preparation machine is just as important as the grit of abrasive used. Lightweight machines available for rent are only for changing the surface profile of softer materials like sealers or paints. They are not designed for removing thin layers of concrete.

garage floor ottawa colour flake floor

Aside from using mechanical means for surface preparation, chemicals such as muriatic acid, can be used to prepare a concrete surface, however they require caution and the use of these acids comes with the risk of damaging surrounding areas and a failed end product if the surface is not properly neutralized after the preparation process.

If you need help with your surface preparation, contact us today and avoid a DIY disaster!

Please reference the chart below to see the differences of DIY vs professional surface preparation:

professional installation diy floor coating chart

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