Collecting Dust When Polishing Concrete

Concrete floors can be polished using two methods, dry or wet. Dry polishing has become the popular trend today. The dry polishing method is faster, more convenient, and it doesn’t create a slurry of a mess like wet polishing does. The downfall is that dry polishing creates a ton of dust. With all of the dust, dust control equipment is essential and mandatory to prevent dust from going airborne. (Click here for more info about wet and dry polishing.)

Air quality and safety are the most important purposes for dust collection systems, but also important is keeping the dust off of the floor so that the scratch pattern can be seen while grinding. Typically, grinders used for polishing concrete do not have an integral dust collection systems built in. This means that a separate unit will need to be purchased. There are some manufacturers that sell dust extractors that go with certain machines. However, if that’s not the case then you will have to find one that works for you on your own. But what should you look for in a dust collection system? Here are some tips on key features to look for.

First the dust is collected in a large bag or tank, which is one consideration to make when it comes to disposal. One of the most convenient systems for a one-step disposal is the Longopac, a continuous bag system. This system will save you from having to empty and dispose the contents separately like you have to with a standard dust tank. If you would rather use a dust tank it is recommended not to use over a 50 pound capacity when polishing concrete to make for an easier disposal. A tank too large can be too heavy for one person to empty on their own. Typically, handheld grinders come with a bag for dust collection and with a shroud surrounding the cup wheel to create suction of the airborne dust from the grinding process. This dust can be disposed of separately.

So what about the filtering system? The majority of dust extractors have the ability to capture 99% of any type of airborne particles. It is also important to look into the kind of filtering system that the machine uses. Today, HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters are being used more often than in the past, some projects even require only HEPA filters to be used. Typically, you will find that manufacturers have HEPA filters available as options for their systems. Besides the type of filter it is, it is a good idea to look for a filter housing that is easily accessible so that filter is able to be easily replaced.

Next we will look at the power requirements, which is another consideration to make when choosing a dust extractor. Usually it’s recommended to match the dust collectors voltage with the the voltage of the grinder that’s being used. For example, some machines run on 480 volt three phase power while others run on 230 volt three phase power. Running all of the equipment on the same voltage will help to prevent problems in the field. There are some manufacturers that offer power-pass through options so that the grinder can be run right from the vacuum. Doing this prevents having to run more than one power cable long distances.

Lastly, how efficient is the machine? A good way to measure efficiency is to look at the airflow rate of the dust collector, which is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). You want a high CFM rating. The rates will vary depending on the size of the machine. Larger units provide greater airflow capacities. A lot more dust is created by larger production machines, because of this the CFM of the system needs to be able to keep up. On the opposite hand, smaller polishers and grinders have lower CFM airflows. Manufacturers sometimes rate their systems with a 2-inch hose or a 3-inch hose connection, so it depends mostly on the need of the grinding equipment. A higher CFM makes it possible to run a longer hose length and still effectively collect dust. (Click here for a list of concrete polishing equipment needs.)

There are so many creative and custom options for finishing concrete, but first and foremost important is the concrete itself. At Custom Concrete Creations we have state of the art equipment and a properly trained team with years of experience. Custom Concrete Creations is a premier contractor serving the Omaha area as well at the Midwest. Give us a call or send us an email for your custom concrete finishing needs today!