Often in Nutech guides you’ll read that one of the steps in surface preparation is liquid etching or acid etching. But what does that mean and why is it important?
Acid etching is the preparation step of applying a liquid acid, creating an etch where the liquid reacts with the concrete surface.
Etching (or washing) concrete with a liquid etch solution opens the pores of the concrete to prepare the surface for the next treatment. This allows the coating to better penetrate and adhere to the surface, providing a better, longer lasting finish. This step is recommended for garages, driveways, foot paths, patios and almost all concrete floors.
Liquid etching of concrete is just one way of prepping a surface. Other ways include shot or sand blasting, but this requires special equipment and qualified contractors. Acid etching is the best method of concrete preparation available on the DIY market.
Acid etching can be tough not only on concrete, but also on the surrounding environment. If used incorrectly, it can be harmful to pets, plants and people, with dangerous fumes that can cause skin irritation and respiratory issues. However, not all acid etches are the same, and there are some that are much safer to use.
Environmentally Friendly Acid Etching
Nutech’s Nu-EcoSafe Etch is a water-based compound that is gentle on flora and fauna, but still hard on concrete. Nu-EcoSafe Etch offers the following:
- Easy clean up with running water
- Non-ozone depleting
- Suitable for treating vertical and horizontal surfaces
- Contains no TAPs or HAPs (Toxic/Hazardous Air Pollutants)
- No muriatic acid
- Low odour
Prior to using an acid etching product like Nu-EcoSafe Etch, it is best to have a clean surface. If the concrete is contaminated with grease or oil, degreasing prior to etching is suggested otherwise the concrete will not etch evenly or adequately. A suitable degreaser like Nu-EcoSafe Degreaser is recommended as this is also a water-based product that is more environmentally friendly that its competitors. Several applications may be required to ensure a clean finish.
Acid etching is a vital part of the preparation process to ensure a perfect finish. Always consult the technical data sheets to ensure you use the correct mixing ratio for your concrete surface.