Why Acid Etching Is not OK For Preparing Concrete For Epoxy?

The longevity of a concrete floor depends on how well the prepared concrete surface before applying a coating.

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

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

Correct floor preparation includes opening the pores of the concrete to ensure a bond forms between the exposed concrete and the floor coating.

Number one reason for floor failure is insufficient floor preparation, leading to a weak bond and a peeling floor.

Floor preparation, in other words, we call it profiling. Profiling also creates a rougher surface for the coating to adhere.

There are two methods of profiling used widely.

The first is by mechanically grinding the surface and the second one being acid etching.

What is Acid etching?

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

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

In addition, The water then neutralises the acid solution to a degree, when the rinsing of acid done.

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

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

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

Old Epoxy Floor and New Epoxy floor for Alan Mance Nissan

Diamond Grinding Over Acid Etching in Melbourne

Vision Seal Experts Believe Preparation is key to getting a high floor.

First of all, When it comes to 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.

Is Acid Wash as Effective as Grinding?

In our experience, the answer simply is no.

While acid etching 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 Etching 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 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 coating failure.

Additionally, if the acid is not properly disposed of, it can damage paving stones, landscapes, grass, etc.

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

This 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 etching 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 etching 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 floor installer can utilise a variety of grinding heads designed to account for variations in concrete surfaces.

This ensures that you get a proper surface profile and a floor coating that lasts a lifetime.

Concrete Grinders Concrete Preparation

Additional tips before you think to acid wash concrete.

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

A professional 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.

For Coatings, Correct Preparation For Concrete must be followed.

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 coating.

Finding a team of professionals may seem more expensive up front, 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.

This leads to you paying for the flooring solution you want three times.

First for the DIY kit, second in the form of higher floor preparation costs for coating removal, and a third time for professional installation.