Removing epoxy coatings from concrete is common practice in the epoxy flooring business. But although common, it never easy, and can often be a big gamble when estimating time and material.
Epoxy coating removal is a necessary step when polishing concrete, or when a failed coating needs to be removed. However, although saying “removing epoxy” is easy, the actual process is much more difficult.
The most important thing to look for when assessing a demo floor job, is how thick the existing coating is. Epoxy thickness is measured in mils. And the more mils of epoxy on the floors, the more difficult it will be to remove that epoxy.
But for reference, a 20-30 mils of epoxy is about as thick as a credit card. So if you’re able to remove some coating during your site visit, compare it to your credit card to determine how thick the existing floor is. But keep in mind that the floor temperature needs to be considered. So when visiting potential job opportunities, be sure to bring your industrial infrared thermometer to gauge the temperature for the floor.
After you’ve determined how thick the floor is, you’ll need to assess what type of prep work you’ll need to perform. Diamond grinders are going to be the best method to remove coatings. But there are varying grades of aggressiveness. Think of it like sand paper. Typically the lower grit level is going to be the most aggressive diamond grinder. And the more aggressive the diamond grinder, the easier it will be to remove that coating.
However, there will be a compromise if you amp up the aggressiveness. The problem with getting too aggressive with the prep work is that it can cause too much damage to the concrete. And if there is too much damage caused to the concrete, then that will require more material to repair that area.
So determining how much prep work depends on how much material you plan on putting on top of the concrete. If the concrete gets really chewed up, then the site owner will want to apply a slurry system that will infill the grooves so that they reach the peaks of the concrete.
But if the customer is only looking for a thin film flooring system, then the prep will either need to be ver minimal. Or, the estimator will need to factor in additional cost to install a floor system that has enough body to resurface the area.
And as long as these methods are considered, the customer can expect satisfaction at the end of the job, knowing that the job was completed with his finished floor in mind.