Why is acid etching not ok for epoxy floor preparation?

Acid Etching vs the longevity of concrete epoxy flooring depends on;
How well, the prepared concrete surface has been done before applying an epoxy coating.

Epoxy flooring and concrete sealers adhere best to clean surface, free from contaminants and laitance.

Acid wash vs diamond grinding is a subject of much debate when it comes to preparing concrete for epoxy floor covering.

Also, correct concrete preparation includes opening the pores of the concrete to ensure a bond forms between the exposed concrete and the coloured epoxy coating.

Number one reason for floor failure is insufficient preparation, leading to a weak bond and a peeling off the concrete epoxy coating.

There are two methods of epoxy concrete floor preparation used all over Melbourne;

1) Concrete Grinding
2) Shot blasting

What is acid etching concrete

Acid etching or acid washing is the process of applying hydrochloric/muriatic or buffered phosphoric acid to the slab.

Followed by cleaning and rinsing the concrete with water after the etching reaction has completed.

Also, The water then neutralises the acid wash solution to a degree.

However, for years, this has been a standard method of concrete preparation used by all residential floor, commercial flooring, and industrial epoxy floor contractors.

In other words, the acid wash would eat through and remove the top surface of the concrete, achieving the same results as grinding.

Meanwhile, today Epoxy Flooring Melbourne manufacturers no longer recommend acid etching for a multitude of reasons.

Acid Etching vs Concrete Grinding

First of all, When it comes to epoxy floor coatings, grinding or shot blasting the floor generally the best choice of action.

For example, Grinding provides more control over the surface and the professional preparing your floor can get the exact texture they need.

The essential texture when it comes to applying a floor coating as the proper texture can be the difference between a bond that lasts a lifetime and one that fails shortly after installation.

At Vision Seal, we always start by grinding your surface down to a clean, well-profiled surface ideal for coating adhesion.

Why does acid washing not work like concrete grinding?

In our experience, the answer simply is no.

While acid wash in Melbourne can be better than no preparation to profile the concrete, it merely doesn’t work as well as diamond grinding.

For example, Acid wash works by reacting with the free lime in concrete.

If the concrete has a layer of oil or grime, the acid will not be enough. If not appropriately removed, this can interfere with the adhesion of the concrete surface coating.

Therefore, The etching process can leave behind a wet concrete dust film that might clog the concrete pores if not thoroughly cleaned off; this can again lead to epoxy floor coating failure.

Additionally, if you do not remove all traces of acid, it can damage paving stones, landscapes, grass, etc.

When concrete is acid-washed too much

If the concrete is over-etched, the pores will be over-exposed.

Over etching, concrete floors will lead to injecting water and moisture in the slab when rinsing the acid off.

As a comparison diamond grinding will get rid of excess laitance (a grainy compound on the surface area) that the acid wash doesn’t remove.

Concrete slabs vary in types, composition, hardness levels and texture – meaning there isn’t a one size fits all solution.

When using acid in Melbourne, the results can be unpredictable and unreliable, even when it’s done by an experienced professional.

The surface can end up uneven, over-etched or under-etched.

Professional Melbourne flooring installer can utilise a variety of grinding heads designed to account for variations in concrete surfaces.

Concrete grinding ensures that you get a proper surface profile and an epoxy floor coating that lasts a lifetime.

Tips before you think to acid wash concrete

If you are going to hire a contractor to install your epoxy flooring, make sure they diamond grind the concrete.

An epoxy flooring contractor that acid etches the concrete may be cutting corners to cut expenses and will most likely not offer a high-quality floor finish.

Next for DIY installation and you are confident with your capabilities, you should rent the proper grinding equipment necessary for the job.

You will need to think about how to know you have the right texture and how you control the dust.

Why diamond grinding concrete floors for epoxy coatings?

Whichever technique you choose, if not done correctly, your finish is destined to fail.

Proper preparation is vital when preparing your floor for a new epoxy coating.

Finding a team of professionals may seem more expensive upfront, but it can often save you a lot of money in the long run.

Many DIY projects fail in a short period, leading property owners to call professionals to do the job correctly.

In result, this leads to you paying for the flooring solution you want three times.

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