Concrete grinding for beginners

Concrete grinding for beginners

Concrete is undoubtedly a durable building material. However, the constant exposure of concrete surfaces to wear and tear by climate changes and weather elements will eventually cause them to become brittle and crumble in places.

Concrete grinding is the method used to repair or correct problems with concrete surfaces. Problems like unlevel concrete that has become a tripping hazard, uneven or cracked sidewalks, surface defects in concrete slabs, patios, and outdoor pavilions. Grinding can also help water drainage from concrete surfaces and uneven connections between slabs or tiles.

This method is also used to improve or correct concrete surfaces for a more aesthetically pleasing appearance. Not only concrete walks and driveways, but rendered walls need fixing from time to time. The loose mortar is removed and the concrete surface can be ground so the next rendering will adhere well.

Concrete damage will only get worse

Imperfections and damages to concrete will only get worse over time and must be addressed in a timely manner. Tripping and slipping hazards are just a potential lawsuit in the making. Owners of concrete in need of repair are rightly concerned about their liability should someone be hurt by their faulty concrete.

Therefore, they must be proactive about correcting any defects. Concrete grinding of high spots can remove the cracks and uneven textures that are tripping hazards. Grinding out dips and small imperfections in concrete surfaces can reduce incidents of holding water that lead to slippery conditions causing falls.

Hiring concrete grinding contractors can save money and time

Hiring an experienced professional who has all the necessary specialized equipment needed for grinding and resealing concrete is the best solution for correcting problems and making concrete slab flooring look fantastic and new. Many pros will come out and offer free estimates so an informed choice of which concrete grinding company to hire can be made.

I’m not saying this only to promote contractors. Sometimes the grinding job needs specialized tools that can be expensive to rent. Those tools can also be difficult to use for inexperienced users and even dangerous.

The easy way to make a decision is to ask for estimates from multiple contractors. Then compare the price to what it would cost to rent or buy those tools yourself. You can also add some value to your own time.

If the damage is small and you own the handtools already, I’ll explain how to DIY as well.

How to grind concrete with angle grinder

There are different models of grinding equipment for different types of problems or upgrades to be made. All concrete grinders utilize an abrasive of some type for grinding and polishing. Diamond grinding is the usual method for removing surface layers and prepping the newly exposed surface for resurfacing coatings or sealers.

Diamond grinding wheels can be bought for angle grinder which is cheap home tool. It’s not optimal, but you can fix small things if you don’t want to rent proper concrete grinding tools that you can use with construction vacuum.

There is also silicon carbide grinding wheels and diamond pads for the angle grinder. Diamond pads are usually used for polishing concrete. Smaller hand-held grinders are used on concrete countertops and smaller tile surfaces.

In most of our home uses, the diamond grinding wheel is the way to go for handheld tools. It can level the concrete easily and it will also remove the loose concrete. While using the diamond wheel, you have to be careful so that you won’t remove too much concrete.

Protecting yourself before you start

Concrete grinding produces a lot of dust which unfortunately contains respirable crystalline silica or RCS. Such particles are extremely harmful to the lungs when breathed in and can cause a condition called silicosis.

Professional grinders not only wear dust masks but use equipment fitted with a local-exhaust ventilation system (LEV) which greatly reduces the worker’s exposure to concrete dust and reduces the time necessary for clean up. People should stay away from the work area until the grinding project is finished to avoid exposure to RCSs.

You also need to protect your eyes and ears as the loose concrete can shoot fast from the wheel. Ear protection is always useful in this kind of job, as the noise is damaging.

Using concrete grinding machine

This is actually quite simple after you have proper protection. Word of warning is that without a vacuum attached, it will produce lots of dust so don’t have cars or anything else nearby.

Most common tool in every household is angle grinder. For that reason, I’ll explain how to grind concrete with angle grinder first. Word of warning, it will produce lots of dust.

Turn the angle grinder on and gently start to grind the unlevel edge, you will need a diamond wheel for it. You will notice that if you push a lot, the diamond wheel will eat into the concrete very fast. Move the angle grinder from side to side so you will grind out concrete equally. This is very dusty so you will have to take breaks to let the dust settle.

If you’ve rented a proper handheld concrete grinding machine, you can work more smoothly. It has a bigger concrete grinding disc than an angle grinder. You can use it moving it side to side like an angle grinder or making small circles with it.

How much will a concrete grinder remove will depend on the disc and the force used. Doing the small circles while you grind will help you to avoid making new edges with the tool.

If you’re resurfacing the floor, you can even go through all of the driveways with it. Still, I’d recommend using bigger grinding tools for that kind of job, but it is possible. Just a lot of work depending on the size of the project.

Floor grinding machine with vacuum would be best for big surfaces

Resurfacing and sealing

After you’re done grinding, the look is not always pleasant. If there’s rebar near surface level, it might need to be cut and patched. If the concrete surface doesn’t look good it might need patching and resurfacing as well.

When grinders work to polish an existing floor and make it look new again after it is cleaned they will apply a modern sealer that will last far longer than those used on floors 20 or more years ago when the process was in its infancy. Polishing is a great alternative to periodically recoat a floor surface. The sealer will last much longer and the floor is very attractive.


When a concrete structure has a substructure problem like indentations, roughness, cracks, out of level, etc., concrete grinding is the procedure needed to correct the problem. It will also improve the concrete’s overall performance and appearance.

Polishing floors in public spaces and warehouse environments will protect the surface and make it more abrasion-resistant as well as increase its light reflection and aesthetic appearance. Used for concrete repair, protection, and restoration, concrete grinding done by a professional rejuvenates old concrete and is a very affordable way to enhance its appearance and safety.

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