Top tooling tips

If you asked a plumber or electrician to fix an issue in your home and they turned up with one screwdriver, would you trust them to carry out the work?  Selecting the right tool for the job is the key to success, whether you’re a plumber fixing a pipe or a contractor preparing a floor. Here Dave Bigham, global director of training at surface preparation expert National Flooring Equipment, answers three commonly asked questions about surface preparation equipment tooling.

Just like plumbers and electricians have a toolbox full of equipment that will help them complete their job quickly, safely and efficiently, contractors have a wide range of tools at their disposal that will help them successfully remove and prepare flooring.

To ensure contractors find the right ones for each application, here are some of our top tips based on frequently asked questions from customers.

How much tooling do I need?

You never know what’s going to happen, so preparation is key. Last minute tooling orders increase costs, time, and budgets for the project.

From past experience, decide how many square feet you can get out of your tooling with your machine and the average square foot you work on to decide what will last. Keeping spare sets of tools can help you prepare for the unexpected. For instance, you could hit a deadhead in the concrete and break off a segment. You don’t want to be on a jobsite and discover that you can’t work because you don’t have the tools. It’s better to have a little left over than run out near the end of a job and panic about how you’re going to get more.

Metal bond diamond vs PCD

Before initial surface preparation, contractors should assess the concrete they are due to prepare before choosing a grinding tool.

If you’re working on concrete that’s never been touched before, you don’t need PCDs. Use diamond tooling to get the required concrete surface profile (CSP) that you’re looking for. If you’re on a job with a coating, adhesive or thin set mortar that is well bonded to the ground, you should consider using less aggressive PCDs remove the material. Typically, if you’ve just got sealer on the concrete, a metal bond diamond will work. PCDs are more expensive, so if you’re finding that the metal bond diamond is removing material, it is the more cost-effective option.

How long will my diamond tooling last?

There is no definitive answer to tooling lifespan — in reality, job conditions dictate how long tooling lasts. However, we can estimate based on the tooling and equipment. For example, when using a GP500 or GP700 grinder with increased head pressure, we estimate, on average, diamonds to wear down after 8,000 to 10,000 square feet. Smaller machines have smaller tooling and less head pressure, so would last around 2,500 square feet on average. If you’re not matching your diamonds to the hardness of your concrete, that number will decrease.

A customer working on an indoor concrete slab experienced expected wear on diamonds. When they used the same tooling on an outdoor patio on the same site, the diamonds disappeared rapidly. In this case, the materials used to create a non-slip surface outside wore the diamonds down quickly.

There’s no one size fits all to tooling — take the time to select tooling based on the flooring application, chosen machinery and job site conditions. Once they’ve established these parameters, build a toolbox that’ll ensure surface preparation success.

Looking for more personalised advice on tooling or other surface preparation tips? Consult with our team by visiting


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