Can You Sand Concrete? How to Sand It Sander or by Hand

Published on: June 14, 2022
Written by Eric Devin / Fact-checked by David Rowan

Concrete can be sanded for a variety of purposes. By reducing rough edges, sanding concrete enhances its look and makes it safer. It’s an effective method for removing paint and stains from concrete. Smoothing the surface after fixing cracks or chips is also a vital step.

Although concrete is extremely difficult to sand, there are various options available, including orbital sanders, concrete grinders, and even portable sanding pads. Whatever technique you select, make sure to use necessary safety precautions such as wearing a respirator and goggles, as well as covering any exposed skin.

how can you sand concrete

Why Should You Sand Concrete?

While sanding concrete may appear to be a time-consuming task, there are numerous compelling reasons to do so. Sanding concrete can improve its overall look, make it safer, and guarantee that repairs are completed smoothly.

What Type of Sander is Best to Use When Sanding Concrete?

The best type of sander to use when sanding concrete is a floor grinder or a concrete sander. These types of sanders are specifically designed to sand concrete surfaces and have the power and durability to handle the rough surface of the concrete. They can also be equipped with diamond-tipped blades or abrasive discs to effectively remove coatings and smooth out rough spots. It’s important to choose the right grit of sandpaper or abrasive discs for the job, as well as use a dust collection system to keep the work area clean.

Benefits of Sanding Concrete

Enhance Appearance

Patios, countertops, and driveways are all locations where aesthetics are quite essential.

Sanding concrete may greatly enhance the look of a concrete surface by removing irregularities, cleaning stains, or even changing the texture of the concrete by giving it a different finish, whether it’s floors, walls, or a kitchen countertop.

Edges That Are Hazardous Should Be Removed

Following the pouring of concrete, corners might result in hazardous edges or uneven pieces protruding from the surface. All of these things might cause injuries to people walking on the pavement or even harm tires in the event of a driveway. Sanding these areas smoothly may make a driveway, patio, walkway, or even a countertop safer and more appealing.

Remove Paint

While chemical methods for removing paint exist, such as paint strippers and cleansers, they aren’t always sufficient. Sanding comes into play when you need to remove a whole layer or two of concrete to complete a task. Sanding is a good approach to removing paint, however, depending on how much material is removed during the sanding process, the texture of the concrete may vary.

Make Repairs

To provide a smooth and consistent appearance, cracked, pocked, or chipped concrete that requires repairs is often sanded once the repairs are completed. Remember that matching the filler to the existing concrete is tricky, so you may need to paint or stain after sanding.

How to Sand It Sander/Grinder or by Hand

Sanding concrete may be done with a variety of instruments, ranging from hand sanding blocks to massive floor polishers. We’ll go through each tool in detail below so you can make the best decision for your job.

Hand Sanding Concrete

Sanding concrete by hand is possible, and the correct grit sandpaper will assist you in completing the task. Remember that if you’re sanding concrete by hand, you’ll still have to deal with the concrete dust. To keep the dust down, keep your workspace damp, and consider using a face mask or dust mask.

You may acquire low-cost hand polishing pads or use a sanding block coated with concrete sandpaper. Long strokes are used to polish the surface, with consistent pressure applied throughout the stroke. The polishing surface area will expand when the high points are removed. Continue polishing until you’ve covered the entire surface evenly.

Depending on your project’s requirements, you’ll want to select sandpaper with the appropriate grit.

Belt Sander

A belt sander is made up of two drums and a motor that spins a loop of sandpaper at high speeds. There are two types of belt sanders: stationary belt sanders that hold the material against them and portable belt sanders that the operator applies to the material. Concrete may be sanded using the latter.

For flat surfaces, a portable belt sander is an excellent choice, making it ideal for sanding down counters. It’s strong enough to remove considerable quantities of material to erase irregularities, and it can polish a countertop to a gleaming, flawless surface when used with fine-grit sandpaper. A belt sander also makes it very simple to achieve a uniform finish.

Handheld sanders aren’t suitable for bigger areas, such as a patio or garage floor, because to their tiny size.

Angle Grinder

An angle grinder is made up of a motor with a body grip, a side handle, and a circular grinding blade. Angle grinders were developed to grind down metal, but they may also be used to grind down cement. They come in sizes ranging from 4-1/2 inches to 9 inches.

Grinders may remove more material at a faster rate than standard sanders because they utilize hard discs instead of softer sandpaper. As a result, they’re great for surfaces with a lot of irregularities. When fitted with fine-grit discs, they also create a large amount of power, allowing them to polish concrete to a flawless finish. They’re also appropriate for larger projects because they can cover more land in less time.

When you have a lot of power, you have a lot of responsibility. Because an angle grinder can remove more material faster than sandpaper, it’s easy to produce gouges or uneven regions in the concrete if you don’t use it carefully.

Orbital Sander

Unlike a belt sander, which can only go forward and backward, this sort of portable sander moves in a random circular pattern, making it simpler to move in all directions. The orbital sander is therefore excellent for sanding particular surfaces, such as a countertop or a concrete bathroom floor. The orbital sander is easier to operate than other sanders because it has a wider range of motion.

Remember that not all orbital sanders are made equal. Weaker orbital sanders may not be able to make a significant dent in concrete. Choose an orbital sander with a greater power rating and enough amps to eat through concrete.

Floor Concrete Grinder

Floor concrete grinders are big, wheeled devices with a 10-inch-diameter grinding wheel. When the engine rotates the grinding or polishing pad, you control a floor grinder by pushing it from a standing position. Floor grinders are perfect for sanding big surfaces, such as a whole driveway or a large patio, because of their size. These devices are expensive to buy, however, they may be hired for a low cost.

Can You Smooth Out Concrete?

To smooth a rough concrete slab, first, sweep away any debris with a broom, then mop the filth away with a neutral cleanser and warm water. After that, you’ll want to look for any sections that have cracks or are deformed.

What Safety Precautions Should Be Taken When Sanding Concrete?

When sanding concrete, it is important to wear a dust mask or respirator to protect against inhaling concrete dust, which can be harmful if ingested or inhaled. Eye protection, such as safety goggles, should also be worn to protect against dust and debris. It is also recommended to use a dust collection system or a vacuum with a HEPA filter to collect any dust that is generated during the sanding process. Additionally, it is important to use the correct type of sandpaper or diamond abrasive pad for the specific type of concrete and the desired finish. It is also important to use the appropriate equipment for the job, and to wear safety gear like ear protection if using a power sander.

Bottom Line

There are plenty of good reasons for sanding concrete. Sanding concrete improves its appearance and makes it safer by removing sharp edges. It’s a good way to remove paint and stains from the concrete. And, it’s also a necessary step to smooth the surface after filling cracks or chips.

Although concrete is very hard, fortunately, there are several ways to sand it, ranging from orbital sanders to concrete grinders to even handheld sanding pads. Whatever method you choose, make sure to take the proper safety precautions by using a respirator and goggles and keeping exposed skin covered.

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About This Writer

author eric devin

Hi, I am Eric Devin and I am a professional interior architect. Since childhood, I've always enjoyed DIY projects! And, I have loved to solve simple household problems using essential tools and equipment. I have also acquired a lot of information about basic household tools settings by working with contractors.

Hi, I am Eric Devin and I am a professional interior architect. Since childhood, I've always enjoyed DIY projects! And, I have loved to solve simple household problems using essential tools and equipment. I have also acquired a lot of information about basic household tools settings by working with contractors.

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