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Whether you're planning on tearing up your basement floor to build an elaborate new man cave or you just need to smooth out some uneven patches of concrete on your garage floor, either way, you need somewhere to hammer hard liquor in peace.
So what's the ideal power tool you likely already own that you can use to successfully to complete such a task? An angle grinder of course. Using an angle grinder to create a smooth polished looking finish on concrete flooring can be achieved with a decent degree of tenacity and a few supplementary accessories.
Honestly, this job will be a cakewalk for you. All you really need is several hours of your precious free time that is rapidly disappearing, a few essential attachments for your angle grinder, a wet/dry vacuum with a bit of oomph, and a couple of crucial PPE items to help keep you upright.
So in other words, if you have everything that's deemed imperative to conduct this job safely and effectively, you'll be able to transform that shitshow of a concrete floor of yours into something sensationally smooth. Either way, continue reading and we'll fill in the blanks for you to pragmatically remodel your concrete floor like a pro.
Let's start by saying that an angle grinder isn't the only tool you can use to smooth out or cut concrete with, but it is the most practical and cost-effective option for DIYers. If your sole occupation doesn't revolve around you lugging bags of cement around a building site on a daily basis, you might be unaware of what tools of this age-old trade are necessary.
Now while that trusty angle grinder of yours can be utilized to cut through dense compound materials like metal or concrete, it can only do so if you're using the right wheel. There are two different wheels typically used to cut and smooth out concrete.
For cutting concrete, you should make use of a diamond blade that can be used for both wet and dry cutting of concrete. A diamond blade is an exceedingly versatile asset to have at your disposal as it can slice and dice everything from stone to granite, brickwork, and even tile.
When attempting to exploit your angle grinder to manipulate such a robust surface as concrete, you need to first fit a diamond cup wheel. This type of grinding wheel vigorously removes deteriorated paintwork, degrading wallpaper material, glues, epoxy resins, and other surface coatings you like (metaphorically) banished to the shadowland.
So yeah, it's safe to say that when it comes to assaulting unsightly concrete you'd like to smooth out or even butcher with the right blade, an angle grinder is perfect.
The most preferable way to smooth a rough concrete surface would be by utilizing a wet angle grinder. This tool helps streamline the entire process and also drastically reduces the potentially harmful effects of airborne particles like silica dust.
If you're unaware of the hazardous impact silica dust could have on your health if sufficient safety precautions are not administered, you might be rather shocked. It's estimated that in Australia alone, over 230 per year develop lung cancer due to silica dust exposure.
While there are risks associated with grinding and cutting concrete, these risks can be effectively eliminated if you take safety seriously and wear the recommended PPE gear.
In the construction industry, you conduct what is known as a JSA or JHA before you commence any job. This is really just a risk assessment that helps you analyze the task at hand before you actually start. Ultimately, this procedure is undertaken to merely act as a (safety) refresher for operators in the industry they are already qualified in, but, it's also deemed a legal document.
Now while you don't have to roll out the same kind of draconian safeguards for your one-man (or woman) DIY operation, it does give you an idea of the kinds of preventive measures that have implemented to protect workers in recent times.
Alright, on that note, before you even consider firing the angle grinder to pound the pavement, you should assess what inventory you already have and what's missing for you to complete this job constructively, and more to the point, safely.
On that note, here are a few essential, and even non-essential, but highly beneficial items you will require to effectively smooth concrete.
Okay, so let's assume you've got every mandatory piece of equipment to productively smooth out this problematic concrete surface in question.
The process I'll explain here will presume that you are removing everything from deteriorated paint and epoxy, to even old degraded Thinset or remaining residue after you've removed some vinyl tile.
Here's a step-by-step process for conducting this job in the most efficient manner:
You'll probably have to continually keep emptying the waste materials that the wet/dry vac collects throughout this entire operation as the average vacuum only has around 6-gallon capacity. This sort of inconvenience can be avoided by utilizing a wet angle grinder/polisher, although, if this a one-time job, I'd recommend you either stick with the method mentioned and suck it up (literally) or hire a wet angle grinder. Buying a tool like a wet angle grinder you'll probably use once, isn't very fiscally friendly.
Well, that's pretty much it. You can now get to cleaning and degreasing the slab and once you've finished playing Mrs. Doubtfire, you can apply any coats you desire.
As you're likely already aware, concrete is an extremely durable substance that provides a level of longevity that hardwood or even tile tends to lack. For this very reason, concrete is a brilliant choice for both floor and wall surface finishes. You can also finish concrete so that it showcases a fantastic wet look with either a low gloss or high gloss acrylic concrete sealer.
But, over time, and with enough wear and tear, your concrete will begin to look like Nick Nolte after a 4-day bender with Charlie Sheen as his wingman. If you're now facing this predicament with your patio, thankfully, you can redeem your now FUBAR patio surface and turn back the hands of time to restore your patio to it's once former glory.
How do you achieve this you ask? The better alternative when it comes to transforming your tired old concrete patio is to resurface it. You can attain an outstanding finished surface for your aged patio by using some basic materials and household tools.
Now, for this job to go smoothly (get it), you'll need a few things. Some of these items you might have to buy, others you'll hopefully already have, and few you'll be able to hire.
So, presuming you have all that is necessary, you can start the process by following the detailed steps outlined below.
Well, that's about the gist of it. Just repeat the procedure as advised until you've covered the concrete surface area appropriately.
This kind of job does have a bit of prep involved with it, but once you get going and get into the swing of things, you should likely be able to complete this in a day or two.
So hopefully you've gained some valuable new insight on the correct method on how to use an angle grinder to smooth concrete surfaces. With the right tools and personal protective equipment, you'll be able to smooth and finish any unsightly looking concrete surface with a bit of practice and perseverance.
For you to achieve absolute DIY grandeur in the concrete resurfacing department, you'll simply have to test your patience until you possess the adequate skills. Keep in mind that if this is your first time attempting a resurfacing or smoothing job around the home, that concreting is an actual trade that individuals have spent years mastering their craft in.
So, work safely and efficiently, and don't be afraid to ask for help from a beer buddy that you could probably compensate with more beer for services rendered.
My name is Michael McDonnell, and I’m the creator of The Tool Scout. I’m a mechanical engineer by trade with over 20 years of experience in the construction industry. I started The Tool Scout because I love talking about everything DIY related and figured I could help others with the decision-making process when it comes to selecting the right tools for the right job.
Apart from being a blue-collar kinda guy on a relatively noble quest to help others, I’m also a serial entrepreneur and an obvious lifelong Lakers fan. 🏀