Monthly Focus

Profiles - What to expect

A profile is a surface ‘texture’ that can be specified by a flooring material manufacturer to ensure adhesion of its finished system. If the surface is not prepared correctly, the floor will not realise its life expectancy and the applied material is likely to de-bond and lift. A profile can also be the finished surface e.g. in the case of anti-slip or when grinding and polishing a floor.

Different flooring applications require different degrees and types of profiling.

There are four main methods of preparing the surface to create the profile; multi-stripping, shotblasting, planing and grinding. The equipment and accessories selected determines the finished result.

If there is a thick floor covering to remove the first stage is usually multi-stripping. This process is effective on: sheet vinyl and tiles, ceramic and quarry tiles, asphalt and bitumous materials, latex and levelling compounds, flexible membranes, thermoplastic line markings, bonded carpet and tiles, elastometric coatings, adhesives, screeds and synthetic resins.

Multi-stripping is usually followed by shotblasting, planing or grinding to create the finished profile.



In the correct conditions Shotblasting delivers exceptional production rates, making it one of the most cost-effective methods of preparation. It can be applied to any hard composition surface that does not exhibit multiple layers of materials or contaminants.  i.e. Concrete, Steel, Terrazzo.

The type and size of the machine will determine production rates achievable and, together with the grade or mixed grade/s of steel abrasive or ‘shot’, the degree of profiling. Different profiles can be achieved from general surface cleaning through to those suitable for application of coatings, sealants, self levelling systems or screeds.

It is important to note that Shotblasting cannot be applied to wet or damp surfaces*, where there is oil present, if the surface is uneven or tamped (although inclines are fine), on soft compositions including sticky adhesives or where the material to be removed is more than 2mm thick.


Planing removes multiple layers (in excess of 2mm thickness) i.e. latex, screeds, adhesives, contaminants and thermoplastic compositions. It also reduces levels more efficiently than any other method.

The finished profile is dependent on the size of machine selected and the flails or picks attached to the drum. There are four types of flails; TCT, Milling, Beam and Star:

TCT flails create a deep grooved profile and are used to clean and texture concrete, asphalt and stone and to remove screeds and coatings.

Milling flails create a gentle profile, with less impact on the background surface and are particularly effective in removing thermoplastic lines markings and bitumous and rubber deposits.

Beam flails are less aggressive and gently clean surfaces without damage to concrete. They also remove soft compositions and finally, Star flails are used for removing ice deposits.

Planing can be applied in damp conditions. It is important to note that if the surface is too hard the machine can ‘bounce’ across the surface, rather than cutting into it.

The resulting profile will be rippled, so is unsuitable for applying a coating. It is suitable for screeds or to achieve anti-slip properties.



Grinding produces a flat, level and smooth profile and can be followed by polishing to create a low maintenance surface.

It is used for removing paint, coatings, thin adhesives, latex and levelling compounds. It is also used to smooth and clean concrete, asphalt, stone and terrazzo.

Instead of the application of a flooring system, grinding and polishing can achieve the finished polished result on terrazzo, granite, marble, concrete and resin decorative surfaces.

Grinding won’t work on deep/tamped concrete or if the surface is uneven, the high spots will be ground and the lower ones largely ignored. It also won’t remove self levelers or screeds that are in excess of 5mm and definitely won’t remove vinyl or carpet! Wet grinding can be carried out for polishing operations.

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