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Acid etching vs grinding concrete

Last Updated: 02/11/2023

When it comes to creating a new concrete floor or slab, there are many decisions to make, including choosing the right stain finish or paint. But before you make any of those decisions, you'll need to roughen the surface of your concrete. This is an essential step in the process because your concrete flooring needs to be porous for any treatment to stick. This means it needs to absorb the stain, epoxy, or paint that you apply to it. If the surface is not porous, the treatment will slide off, turn blotchy, or become damaged quickly. There are two main ways to roughen concrete: grinding and etching.

Grinding is the traditional and effective method of preparing concrete for stains and finishes. To complete the job, a concrete contractor will use a grinder with diamond grinding pads, a floor buffer, and a power washer. The process is simple: after cleaning and degreasing the concrete surface, the grinder traverses all residue, and the whole space is cleaned before applying the stain, epoxy, or finish. The results are often the best when using this method and it is also safer than other methods. However, it can be difficult to acquire all the tools necessary to complete the job, so hiring a professional concrete contractor such as GWC Decorative Concrete may be more efficient.

Acid etching is another method of roughening concrete. This method involves applying an acidic material to the surface of the floor. The most common acid used for this purpose is lactic acid. The acid is diluted and then spread across the floor with a sprayer. It is then allowed to sit for 2-15 minutes, during which time it reacts to create small holes in the surface. After neutralizing and washing off the acidity, a sealant or epoxy can be successfully applied before a stain or paint. This method is ideal for smaller spaces or for DIYers who don't have access to the necessary equipment. However, the results are not as successful as those achieved by grinding and acid is a dangerous substance that can lead to injury and environmental concerns.

In conclusion, the method you choose will depend on your specific needs and intentions. If you intend to tackle the project yourself, acid etching will be quicker and easier to handle. For all other purposes, concrete grinding will produce the best results. If you're looking for a concrete contractor in the Seattle area, be sure to read reviews to find out why clients love our work. Don't hesitate to contact us with any questions or inquiries!

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