Get it Right First Time –
‘This machine just isn’t up to the job!’ Is a cry that we hear all too often. Rarely there may be a fault with the machine or a problem with the site’s power source but more often than not, when we delve a little bit deeper and ask the operator to describe the job that they are trying to undertake, it is patently obvious that they have got the wrong machine altogether.
We are not decrying small machines, they do have their functions but on the whole, small machines are best suited for small jobs. We have a huge range of 110-v flooring machines that are all really reliable and robust grinders, scabblers and sanders. They will all do an excellent job in a tight confined situation or in a small area but when it comes to the big job they can be found wanting.
Sounds obvious but there are massive cost savings in getting it right first time. Getting it wrong is a nightmare. Bad quotes equals either lost quotes or loss making contracts. Avoid –
- Wrong hire charges and costs associated with exchanging machines for the right ones.
- Wrong labour charges. There’s no benefit to under-estimating or over-estimating the number of man hours on a job.
- Downtime during the swap over and if required, whilst 3-phase power is installed or if an unforeseen generator is needed.
There are three prevalent situations where this issue comes up frequently. Floor grinding, floor scabbling or planing and floor scraping or floor stripping.
Floor grinders - We have two main types of floor grinders, 110-volt and 3-phase. If you are not familiar with 3-phase power look at https://www.multi-hire.co.uk/blog/post/3-phase-or-single-phase.html We also have a few petrol driven machines but these are banned on most sites.
Generally, 110-volts will not cope with large expanses or taking a floor down by more than a millimetre or two. You will almost certainly a need 3-phase powered floor grinder or scabbler / planer. Once that bridge is crossed, the size of machine is the next issue affecting choice. We generally advise to err or the side of size rather than caution. If the machine is too big for the job it will cost marginally more and complete the job in double-quick time. Obviously access and weight restrictions need to be covered, especially door widths, lift limits or physically having to hump it upstairs. Plumping for the bigger machine will reduce the risk of having to upgrade which can be massively disruptive.
Another misnomer is assuming that a floor grinder will reduce or take a floor down a few millimetres. It will, but it may take months rather than hours. A large 3-phase floor planer such as the BEF 275 or BEF 320 is built for that job. These machines will also take down thick layers of hard screed. For thinner layers of screed (under 4 mm) consider a floor grinder fitted with PCD scraping up shoes.
To grind a huge area of decayed or damaged surface smooth or just give a good bonding key to granite like concrete will this time need a 3-phase floor grinder. We have two main categories of 3-phase grinder; ones that require a 3-phase dust control unit and others that a 100-volt CFM vacuum can cope with. Bear in mind that the 3-phase machine will need either its own socket or if there is a 63 amp socket you can use a splitter box with 2 x 32-amp outputs. The large 3-phase machines are all multi-headed meaning they will cover a greater area quicker and they will not leave the swirl marks, a feature of single headed machines. The Terrco 2000 grinder is a large 4 headed machine that can either grind or scrape up using PCD shoes. The HTC 800 is a large 3 headed grinder that is variable speed so is ideal for grinding or concrete polishing but again it needs the large 3-phase CFM dust control unit.
We have several smaller 3-phase floor grinding machines that will partner a 110-volt vacuum dust control unit. The HTC 650 is a three headed variable speed grinder that will surface grind or polish. The smaller HTC 500 is available in single speed for grinding or variable speed for concrete polishing.
A reliable workhorse is the 3-phase single headed diamond grinder the DG250 or DFG250, that is an extremely manoeuvrable and powerful floor grinder, good for small areas, confined spaces and for ripping up an unwanted surface like old or failed screed, resin or adhesive.
Floor Scrapers and Floor Strippers – The trusty push-along floor scraper such as the NFE 6280 Commander or the Wolff Turbo stripper will comfortably take up carpets and carpet tiles, LVT, Parquet and laminate. Their Nemesis however is tiles. They are not suitable for ceramic tiles or Karndean and even vinyl tiles if the you are unable to easily get the blade under the tile. They may also struggle on many sports surfaces and outdoor coatings.
That is where the ride-on floor scraper or stripper comes into its own. These machines will also tackle the same surfaces as the walk-along but at between five to ten times the rate, giving you a massive labour cost saving, especially on larger jobs.
The ride-on floor scrapers on our hire fleet are all battery powered and can easily give you between 4 – 8 hours work on an overnight charge and disproportionately more on a short top up charge.
Once again, the ride-on floor scraper is not the answer to every floor scraping or stripping job. The biggest downside is their size, all weigh just under or over a tonne in weight so consideration of site access, weight limits and door width has to be covered beforehand. Clearly these machines cannot be ‘chucked in the back of a van’ but fortunately we can deliver throughout most of the UK on a trailer or, possibly by pallet to remote destinations.
We have three of the National Flooring Equipment (NFE) models on our hire fleet. Please click on the link for more information on each one or look at our videos section to see these machines in action.
In summary, as part of our service we will gladly give advice and make suggestions based on any information you can give us. Useful information includes –
- How big an area
- What’s down that needs to come up?
- How well stuck?
- What’s going down after prep?
Pictures by email or WhatsApp are worth a thousand words.