Why You Should Acid Etch Your Concrete Flooring
Photo by Tina Dawson on Unsplash
Coating concrete floors is a hefty task that takes several steps to accomplish properly. Before you begin applying an epoxy coat or paint, you should prepare the floor first. Acid etching concrete is the perfect way to prepare the surface of your flooring to prevent any chipping or peeling. If you don’t properly prime and prepare your concrete flooring, your new coating can deteriorate quickly, and you’ll spend more time and money fixing every new problem. With acid etching done first, however, your DIY concrete flooring project will come out perfectly.
Acid etching concrete is the process of using harsh chemicals to remove the top surface of your concrete flooring. This helps to expose the flooring’s pores, preparing the surface for new applications. Acid etching is the method of choice for DIY projects that involve new installations in a small- to medium-sized room. Additionally, the alkalinity of the concrete becomes neutralized under the acid wash, creating a stronger bond with any new coating. Acid etching is necessary to ensure a strong bond and a long-lasting coating.
When you decide to acid etch your concrete, you’ll have a few options of acid available on the market. The type of acid you’ll want to choose will depend on your budget, the condition of the concrete, and the coating you’re planning to use. There are four common types of acid you can use in your etching.
Muriatic acid is the most popular acid as it’s highly effective. It has a high iron content, resulting in a yellow hue. If your concrete has rust or excess mortar, muriatic acid is the best option to remove it. However, be careful as the acid can also destroy fabrics and corrode many metals. It’s important with any kind of acid to use proper safety equipment, but this is especially true with muriatic acid. Gloves and proper clothing can prevent the acid from burning your skin, and masks combined with proper ventilation are required to avoid breathing in the noxious fumes the acid can cause.
Hydrochloric acid is a refined version of muriatic acid. It’s found in stomach acid and is a powerful tool in processing steel, manufacturing batteries, and treating swimming pools. Because it shares the same powerful qualities as muriatic acid, a similar level of protection should be employed to avoid injury or damages when acid etching with hydrochloric acid.
Phosphoric acid is weaker than muriatic or hydrochloric acid, but it’s still a good option. It’s a common acid found in many household cleaning detergents and is used as a food additive. Its weaker properties make it safer to handle and easier to work with. However, phosphoric acid isn’t as effective as other acid options. It is also not as readily available to the general public and will often cost you more money.
Citric acid is a good option if you’re looking for the safest acid to work with. Because it’s found in citrus fruit and is often used in manufacturing food, citric acid poses the least amount of threat to your health as you work with it. However, it’s more costly. Additionally, citric acid is weak and requires a longer reaction time to work properly. If you do choose to use citric acid for your concrete flooring, make sure you give yourself enough time while etching for the acid to work.
Photo by Tomas Anton on Unsplash
The first step in acid etching your concrete floor is safety and preparation. You should always make sure you have all the proper safety equipment, including rubber gloves, rubber boots, safety glasses, and respirators to help protect you against the fumes.
Then, you need to clean your concrete flooring to ensure all levels of the surface are etched properly. If you don’t sweep, clean, and rinse off the flooring, your acid etching won’t be effective. And without an effective etch, your coating is more likely to peel or crack.
Using the proper safety equipment, you then mix your acid etching solution and apply it to the surface. With the acid etching process, you simply spray your solution and wait as the acid reacts. It’s important to keep the surface of your floor wet, applying water wherever it starts to dry. You’ll be able to visibly tell once the acid has finished its job.
Once the acid has been neutralized, it’s time to rinse away the solution and check for completion. You’ll need a balanced PH on your concrete floor to ensure a proper coating, so dampen a small section and check that the PH is neutral at 0.7 before you begin applying your coating.
There are other ways you can prepare your concrete flooring for DIY work, but acid etching is one of the most effective methods. Grinding is another common method. However, accessing a powerful and effective grinder isn’t always easy or cheap. Acid etching saves you money and doesn’t require as much physical labor to work. Acid etching is a powerful tool that will help prepare your concrete floors for whatever work you intend for them.
If you’re thinking about upgrading your garage, basement, or other concrete flooring, look to Epoxy-Coat for all your DIY needs. Our epoxy kits are designed for the DIYer looking to spruce up their home without breaking their bank. The kits are easy to use and come with full instructions and guidelines. You can shop for your perfect kit online or call us at 1-800-841-5580 for assistance with your project. Acid etching concrete is only step one in the process, and our epoxy DIY kits will provide you with everything you need to make your floors look and feel amazing.
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