Acid Etching vs. Grinding Concrete – Which Is the Best?


Are you planning to install a new concrete floor or slab with a beautiful stain and epoxy finish? Well, to make your concrete flooring last longer, it is important to prep your floor correctly. Preparation includes roughening the concrete surface to open pores and create a firm bond between the floor coating and the concrete. This process is known as profiling.

As a premier concrete and building material delivery company, our team knows the ins and outs of which processes work best with each type of project. Selecting the method of profiling your concrete is an important step in finalizing your project.

You can get profiling done in two ways: grinding or acid etching the concrete. This article focuses on why profiling the surface of your concrete is essential, how both the above methods work, and which one is the best option for you.

Why Is Profiling the Concrete Surface Necessary to Apply Stain or Finish?

One of the main reasons for poor flooring is insufficient preparation. For any treatment to stick on your old or new flooring, the concrete needs to have open pores to allow the stain, epoxy, finish, or paint to soak and bond in an ideal texture.

It’s crucial to maintain the right degree of roughness, which should be similar to 60-120 grit sandpaper. Any variation to the specific range would either leave groves on the final product or damage it easily.

How Does Grinding Concrete Work?

The grinding process involves removing the top layer of your concrete to create the right profile for stains and finishes to settle in. An industrial grinder equipped with diamond grinding pads, floor buffer, power wash, and dust shroud is used to clean and degrease the concrete surface.

The grinder is then set to travel across the entire flooring space, cleaning all surfaces before applying any coating. Grinding is safe and effective, yet may leave uneven areas and gauge marks if not done correctly. Your best bet to ensure an adequate seal is to seek professional assistance with grinding.

How Does Acid Etching Concrete Work?

Acid etching involves the application of acidic material like muriatic acid to make the concrete surface porous. The diluted acid is sprayed across the surface and is allowed to settle for a brief period of time. In the meantime, the acid reacts with the concrete to create small pores and prepare the floor for the final stain or paint.

Acid etching is ideal for small spaces or a DIY project where you don’t have access to an industrial grinder. However, the method is not as effective as grinding and comes with increased risk from dealing with corrosive chemicals.

Which Method Should You Choose?

Each of the above methods has its own set of pros and cons. Selecting the best method for your project depends on your individual needs and interests. If you want to handle the project yourself, acid etching is much quicker and convenient to manage. For most other projects, concrete grinding is effective in producing the best results.

If you are looking for concrete delivery near you, make sure to check out Bayshore Materials Inc. for the complete range of quality concrete services. For any further inquiries, give us a call at (707) 644-0859.