How to choose the right concrete grinder to rent
United Rentals offers a wide variety of concrete grinders, planers and scarifiers for rent. Concrete grinders and concrete scarifiers — also known as planers, milling machines and rotary cutters — will grind away concrete and leave it smooth and prepped for coating. Whether you are removing glue layers or trip hazards, smoothing rough textures or repairing weather damage, our walk-behind concrete equipment will suit your residential DIY jobs and large construction sites.
Concrete scarifiers can remove your unwanted concrete quickly and efficiently, pummeling up to a quarter-inch of concrete in one pass. Concrete grinders range from single-head to heavy-duty dual-head machines for smoothing surfaces and preparing concrete for coating. We also have optional vacuum attachments for clean-up.
Expand the sections below for information on choosing the right concrete grinder for your next project.
Concrete grinders (sometimes called concrete sanders) remove material up to 1/8 of an inch below a concrete surface per pass. Rent a concrete grinder if you need to remove surface materials such as paint, epoxies, stains and other coatings. A concrete scarifier, aka concrete planer or milling machine, removes up to 1/4 of an inch per pass. It is often used to level concrete and asphalt, remove trip hazards on sidewalks, create sidewalk grooves and remove heavy-duty overlays and hard industrial coatings.
Handheld or walk-behind grinder
Handheld concrete grinders are useful for getting into tight corners or preparing surfaces close to walls. A walk-behind grinder rental works well for projects that require more aggressive grinding, polishing or leveling.
Single disc, dual disc, planetary or edge grinder
Single disc grinders are the narrowest grinders, which makes them good for small spaces. They are best for small or residential jobs covering less than 1,000 square feet. Dual disc grinders are commercial grade machines good for jobs larger than 1,000 square feet. They come in electric models for indoor use and propane- and gas-powered models for outdoor use.
Planetary grinders, which have three discs, can be used for large grinding jobs but are more often used to polish concrete floors. Edge grinders are designed to work in the small spaces next to walls, which regular grinders can’t reach because of their dust shrouds.
In low-rpm machines, the disc spins between 250 and 600 times per minute. They are best for surface cleaning. Turbo grinders have discs that spin at between 1,000 and 1,500 rpm and are better when you need to cut deeper into the concrete and get to exposed aggregate. A turbo grinder is more of a pro tool, not for the average do-it-yourselfer.
Silicon carbide grinding wheels remove flaking paint, adhesive and foam carpet backing. Diamond grinding wheels can remove stains in concrete and can also handle tougher jobs.
“Bond” refers to how the diamond crystals are held in the wheel. Choose soft, medium or hard depending on the abrasiveness of the concrete you’re working with. Choose a hard-bond diamond accessory for the most abrasive concrete (concrete with high sand content). Concrete with a lot of river rock is less abrasive.
Grinding wheels are available in a range of grits. Lower grits are for more aggressive concrete removal. Medium grits are for general purpose work. Higher grits are for concrete polishing. When polishing concrete, start with a low grit (18 is the lowest) and work up to a high grit (over 200).