I prefer this method over chemical removal because it's cleaner, faster, and it bears an improved floor profile for whatever coating will follow.
Mechanical removal involves the use of machines and power tools to strip the concrete. A diamond floor grinder is the quickest and easiest way. It does, however, create alot of dust. They can be connected to a vacuum to capture most of the dust or connected to a water hose for wet grinding. They are ideal for garages where dust isn't a big deal and clean up can be done by hosing it out. A hand held grinder is necessary to get the corners and along the walls.
Another machine for stripping epoxy is a shotblaster. This machine shoots tiny metal beads at the floor. It's similar to sandblasting, but the beads are retrieved and reused. A vacuum is connected and captures almost all of the dust and it comes with a magnet on wheels to pick up loose beads. Shotblasting is a fairly clean and quick method of removal. The disadvantage is that these machines can be hard to find and much more expensive to rent compared to grinders.
Chemical strippers to remove epoxy paint can be found at most home improvement stores. The disadvantage is the messiness and toxicity. You must have your skin protected and have good ventilation. The advantage is no dust. You want to do small areas at a time. Let the stripper soften the epoxy and then scrape it up with a trowel and dispose of it properly. Compared to mechanical removal, it's a lengthy process and can really stink the place up.
There are soy based strippers that are low odor and non-toxic but will still do the job. They work slower than other strippers, but the key is to let the stripper do the work, not you. The ideal method for using soy strippers is to spread it accross the floor, then cover it with plastic sheeting to keep it from drying. Let it sit for several hours or overnight. Then pull the sheeting back a little bit at a time and scrape up the epoxy. You can reuse it once or twice if you didn't have enough to cover the entire floor.
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