Shot Blasting vs. Scarifying vs. Grinding Concrete Surfaces

When working with concrete, it’s hard to overestimate the importance of surfacing it correctly. A concrete floor can last for centuries, so it’s important to do the surfacing job right. The three big surfacing methods — shot blasting, grinding, and scarifying — all have an important place in surfacing concrete. However, they are not interchangeable. Here’s a breakdown of when to shot blast or scarify or grind a surface.

When to Use a Scarifier

A scarifier is a machine that tears up the surface of the concrete. It includes a cutting tool that rotates at high speeds, cutting the top level of the concrete. Some models can remove as much as a quarter-inch of concrete at once. Scarifiers are a useful tool for removing resin-based finishes or preparing a very rough surface for further treatment. They can also be effective in removing trip hazards. Since scarifying so thoroughly cuts concrete, it is often followed by an additional finish. Scarifying is typically followed by shot blasting to clear chips and cracks in the concrete. This smooths the finish and creates a final, more even surface.

When to Use a Shotblaster

A shotblaster is a machine that directs a high-speed stream of fine, abrasive material against the concrete. This material wears away at the concrete, evening out rough surfaces or removing coatings on the concrete. Shotblasting is more cost-effective than other options. The shot blasting method is generally faster than other ways of surfacing concrete. It also leads to a dry, clean surface that is immediately ready to receive a coating. However, shot blasting creates a relatively rough surface compared to diamond grinding, and it’s not as aggressive as scarifying. It also carries the risk of leaving lines on the floor, and it may even crack concrete if done incorrectly. Shotblasting is ideal for preparing rough floors that are
intended to receive a thick coating.

When to Use a Grinder

Grinders are machines that spin diamond tooling at high speeds to wear down or grind concrete. Heavy-duty grinders can reduce high spots and help even out floors, while fine-detail grinders can polish floors to a smooth finish. Grinders take more time to use effectively than shotblasters. The tooling or diamonds for grinding are more expensive which makes grinding a more expensive procedure than shot blasting. On the other hand, grinders produce a smoother finish that is ideal for interior spaces. Ground concrete can accept a lighter finish or remain unfinished. Grinders are also ideal for removing coatings without risking damage to the concrete itself. 

BW Manufacturing for Concrete Surface Preparation Equipment

There are many choices when it comes to concrete surface prep equipment. Each type of surfacer has its place: scarifying is for initial leveling or stripping, shot blasting to even out rough surfaces, and grinding for smoothing or polishing. At BW Manufacturing we are always redesigning new accessories for existing concrete equipment to increase utilization for use on the next generation of flooring materials. Our dedicated team strives to be, not only knowledgeable about the shot blasting equipment that we sell but also understand our customer’s needs and requirements. 

Interested in Our Products or Have a Question? Our team is ready to work with you.

Get in touch with us today!

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