How To Apply Concrete Etching Fluid

Posted in Firwood Hints and Tips by Firwood Paints on February 9th 2016

Preperation Prior to Applying Concrete Floor Paint

In order to make the most out of your selected concrete floor paint, coating or finishing, it is extremely important that you carry out the necessary preparation of the substrate itself. If you fail to prepare the floor in the correct manner, it is likely that you will end up with a failed project – that means wasted time, wasted energy and wasted money.

Most concrete floors will have suffered some damage over the years, but fortunately there is a solution which more and more people are using in order to start their floor refurbishment. Firwood 2709 Concrete Etching Fluid can be used for the pre-treatment of concrete floors to remove laitance.

Before You Begin Refurbishing Your Cement Floors…

Laitance can be extremely damaging to the quality of the finished floor. Laitance is a fine combination of cement and aggregate fines which forms on top of any old cement surface. If you're unsure whether your floor is suffering from laitance, all you need to do is scrape a coin across the surface of the cement.

If a fine, powdery film is removed by the coin, then surface laitance is present and needs to be dealt with before you start to apply concrete floor paints.

Choosing The Correct Concrete Etching Fluid

Applying the right kind of etching fluid is absolutely essential for your project's success. Not only will it work to neutralise excessive amounts of alkalinity in newly applied concrete (new concrete needs to be at least 4 weeks old before etching fluid is applied), but it will also create a key on extremely smooth concrete surfaces.

Before you start to use your chosen fluid, you need to make certain that you are effectively protected and that correct PPE is worn at all times! For more information, see the Material Safety Data Sheet. Always read and follow the manufacturer's application instructions for the highest-quality finish and the safest application process.

How To Apply Concrete Etching Fluids!

1. Before you apply your CEF, you need to make absolutely certain that your surface is clear of all dust, dirt, grease, oil and any other contaminants. We've already covered removing laitance, but even these simple contaminants, if not cleaned, will seriously impact the quality of the finished product.

We recommend using Firwood 110 – Cleaning And Degreasing Fluid for the very best results.

2. Take the time to pre-wet the concrete with clean water. Ensure that the entire surface area is uniformly wet, without any puddles or standing water.

3. After ensuring that the surface is completely covered, begin to uniformly apply the acid-etching fluid over the surface. We recommend using a traditional sprinkling can or an acid-tolerant pump unit for the highest-quality results.

4. During the application process, remember to scrub the acidic solution into the concrete using a stiff-bristle brush.

5. Leave the acid solution on the concrete until it stops bubbling, which should normally take between 2-10 minutes depending on the surface area and level of alkalinity.

6. As soon as the bubbling ceases, flush the surface with plenty of water to remove any and all traces of the acid solution.

7. Etching should produce a concrete surface which is clean and has a slightly roughened profile. If the surface isn't as rough as you need it to be, then you can repeat the process.

8. Remember to check to pH level of the rinse water on the still-wet surface with pH paper. Ideally, you'd like your rinse water to be around the 7.0 pH, but a pH range is between 6.0 and 9.0 is acceptable for most coatings. For those pH ratings which fall below 6.0, that means that residual acid still remains. In that case, the surface needs to be rinsed again and the run-off water retested.

9. When the concrete is thoroughly dry and prior to painting brush and vacuum the surface to remove any traces of laitance or other residue.

Choose Firwood, For High-Quality Concrete Floor Paints And Etching!

If you're looking for industry-leading concrete floor paints or etching solutions, get in touch with our professional team today on 01204 525231. Alternatively, you can email any questions or concerns to, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can!

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