How to Remove Pebble Finish from Concrete

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It is rather nice when you build yourself a new concrete walkway, especially when you've just purchased a new home. If it features the exposed aggregate finish, you can also enjoy the view of pebbles gathered on the surface.

But what if this isn't what you prefer? Maybe you just bought a new house with a pebble finish on the concrete walkway, or you simply got tired of the way it looks. Worry no more, as these can be handled rather easily.

Even though it once looked like you're having a resort in your own front yard, removing pebble finish from concrete is a process that can be done in a few fairly involved steps.

Let's first introduce you to what it actually is, so you'll better understand the whole process and how to remove pebble finish from concrete.

What's It All About?

The pebbles you're actually trying to get rid of are a part of a specific type of flooring mix. This is also sometimes referred to as epoxy gravel coating and, just like the name implies, consists of pea-sized pebbles and epoxy.

Epoxy is a type of resin commonly used in various fields for its strong protective properties. It consists of various reactive diluents, hardeners, epoxy monomers, and chemical additives.

Mixed in with the epoxy are pea-sized pebbles. Together they make for a rather attractive coating that's also very durable and will cover your concrete from weather and everyday wear and tear.

Frankly speaking, removing this type of coating is not that easy, but isn't impossible to pull off. The epoxy can be broken down by applying an epoxy solvent. This chemical is very efficient at thinning the epoxy, so once the pebbles are loose you can remove and cart them away with the remaining epoxy.

Once the process is complete, you'll be left with a nice clean slate of concrete for all your future front yard endeavors.

Now, let's take a look at the process by breaking it down into several easy and simple steps.

Step 1 - Clean It Up

First off, you need to clean up your work area thoroughly, as is the case with most construction challenges. Take a good push broom with stiff bristles and sweep the area you're about to work on. You simply must get rid of all the clogged debris, dirt, and loose gravel.

Step 2 - Safety Measures

No construction work can be done without taking some measures of precaution, because your safety always comes first.

Choose clothing that will cover as much of your skin area as possible, because you will be handling potentially harmful chemicals. Also, you need to protect your face with a mask and safety goggles. Don't forget to put on a pair of rubber gloves.


Step 3- Use the Solvent

This is probably the most important step in the process. How to remove pebble finish from concrete, along with the epoxy? You will need an ordinary chemical sprayer, to be filled with an epoxy solvent of your choice. Use one that's specially designed for the removal of epoxy floor coatings.

Before you start spraying, make sure that you give the handle of the sprayer a few pumps, because that will lead to increased pressure. Once all these preparations are done, spray the solvent over your designated area of pebble removal. The entire area of epoxy gravel coating needs to be covered with a moderate layer of epoxy solvent.

Step 4 - The Breakdown

This is the most passive part in the process of removal of pebbles from your front yard concrete, but nevertheless, it is still a very important one.

The entire area of epoxy floor coating, now covered in epoxy solvent, needs a layer of black plastic. You will only need one sheet. The edges of the plastic sheet must be weighed down with heavy objects, such as bricks.

This needs to be done because it will allow the solvent to sit in place and penetrate the strong epoxy coating much more efficiently. You should let everything stay like that overnight. At the end of this step, the epoxy coating will be broken down completely.

Step 5 - The Removal

How to remove pebble finish from concrete? The first thing you need to do here is remove the black plastic sheet from the previous step. The epoxy coating and the pebbles will now be loose, so you should use a shovel and remove them completely from the concrete surface underneath.

During this part of the process, you will probably realize that some of the gravel sections are still stuck to the concrete desk. You can use a floor scraper to jar and get rid of those.

It's quite important to note that sometimes you may have to repeat the previous step and this step. This is because the solvent may only be successful at removing a single layer of epoxy coating. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you've removed all the pebbles and epoxy coating. Note that this shouldn't take much more than two applications of epoxy solvent.

This is the end of the tedious part but you're still not done yet, as there's one final step before you can get your nice and clean slate of concrete decks.

Step 6 - The Final Cleanup

Just like all other sorts of construction endeavors, you will need to clean up after your work is done. The concrete will probably be covered in the remains of epoxy and epoxy solvent, which you'll have to wash away. The easiest thing to do is to take a pressure washer and rinse it all away with cold water.

Once you're done with pressure washing the concrete deck, leave it to air dry before venturing into any other construction works in the area.

Conclusion

Now that you're familiar with the guidelines on how to remove pebble finish from concrete, let's get down to work and make that front yard shine like brand new.


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