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ProCoat Systems SLC—Surface Prepping Methods for Contaminated Concrete Prior to the Application of Waterproofing Materials, Part 2

Filed under: Articles — procoat @ 12:00 pm June 25, 2016

Waterproofing MaterialsContinuing our topic from last time, here are the pros and cons of the other three common surface prep methods performed on contaminated concrete prior to the application of new roller applied waterproofing materials in Salt Lake City.


Scarifying is performed using rotary impact tools deploying cutters with teeth assembled on tempered steel rods arranged in a drum configuration. The tool is held at a right angle to

the concrete surface. As the drum rotates, the cutters strike the surface, pulverizing it a few mils deep. Scarifying units range from hand-held tools suitable for vertical and overhead application to larger walk-behind units for covering horizontal surfaces. These tools will also chew away embrittled prior coatings and can be used to knock down high spots without a loss of profile.

These tools can also be used to remove brittle coatings up to 1/8” thick, and deteriorated or contaminated concrete, and high spots up to 3/4 inch in height or depth. Scarifying is also the best surface prep method for profiling concrete surfaces for accepting coatings above 40 mils in thickness, self-leveling systems, broadcast systems, and thin overlays.

The downside to this method is again the mess it creates and the additional need for a fresh epoxy or concrete overlay on the roughened surface ahead of putting down specific products, like deck coatings.


Scabblers are piston-driven chippers powered by compressed air where the cutting heads are placed at a right angle to the surface. Hand-held versions of this tool for vertical and overhead surface prep are sometimes called “needle guns.”

Large walk-behind scabblers can be used for concrete decks and other horizontal surfaces. Brittle coatings up to 1/4 inch? thick can be removed and high or contaminated concrete up to 3/4 inch thick be removed with this method.

By far the biggest drawback of walk behind scabblers, along with the mess they leave behind, is the micro-fracturing of the surface they can cause.

Water Jet

Water Jets, using pressures varying from 5,000 to 45,000 psi are remarkably capable and fast for scouring water-soluble contaminants, counteracting salt efflorescence, and blasting away old coatings up to 1 inch?? thickness.

Water jetting is generally limited to outside use and in built up areas, and is considered undesirable due to the mist, noise, and drainage issues it can cause. Water jetted concrete surfaces intended for waterproofing materials application also have to thoroughly dry and usually require a base coat prior to application of the new decking material.

As you can see, there are many ways to prepare the concrete surface for applying waterproofing materials in Salt Lake City. Some ways are better than others, but also can be limited by the job scenario. If you ever have a technical question about waterproofing materials, feel free to contact our Salt Lake City contractor desk today at 801-410-4345 to discuss your project specs and let us help you determine the best course of action for a successful waterproofing project.