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How to Care for Your Concrete Flooring
Maintenance for Concrete Flooring
Any type of flooring, including low-maintenance decorative concrete, requires proper maintenance to keep it looking great.
Needs vary between residential and commercial concrete floors, as well as among the varying concrete flooring finishes. Homeowners looking to protect their finish from abrasions, chemicals, and stain, should apply a film-forming sealer topped with finish or wax.
Caring for Stained Concrete
Like all concrete finishes, stained concrete is easier to care for than just about any flooring type, since it has no crevices or fibers to trap dirt. Both interior and exterior stained concrete need a sealant, and the exterior sealant needs to be replaced about once a year, depending on the severity of the weather in your area.
In addition to the sealant, you need to keep the surface clean with regular cleaning. How often? That depends on how much foot traffic your floors receive. In a residential setting, once or twice a week is fine, with more frequent cleaning in high traffic areas, such as the living room and kitchen.
Cleaning interior stained concrete floors requires a dry dust mop, augmented with the occasional wet mop using a neutral-pH cleaner. To remove stains, use a stronger soap, or add ammonia to your cleaning solution.
If the floor’s surface becomes dull, waxing should bring back that shine. Talk to the concrete contractor who performed the initial work for recommendations on the right products to use.
Keep exterior concrete floors clean with a broom and a quick spray with the hose. If you’re dealing with a lot of dried on dirt, you can use a mop or brush plus a mild cleaner.
Caring for Polished Concrete
Lack of proper care and maintenance causes polished concrete floors to lose their distinctive shine.
These floors do not require sealants or waxing. However, a daily dust mop gets rid of the tiny grit that, over time, abrades polished concrete. You also need to regularly clean with a wet mop, using a neutral floor cleaner. When mopping, apply your cleaning agent, and then let it sit for a bit to break up the dirt, but not so long that it becomes dry. Work in small areas, completely finishing one before moving to the next.
Practice basic, everyday maintenance. For example, when spills occur, clean them as quickly as possible. Even concrete absorbs stains. As always, talk to your installer for cleaning recommendations.
Caring for Acid Stained Floors
Keeping an acid stained floor clean rarely requires more than a dry mop, or a wet mop with plain water. For occasional deep cleaning, add an organic degreaser to your water. Never use a steam mop on acid stained concrete, or any floor finished with floor wax and polish.
Four times per year, thoroughly clean and dry your floors and then wax. You may need to do this more often if you have large dogs. Avoid linoleum wax products, and clean spills as quickly as possible. If wax turns milky, use an acrylic floor wax stripper (talk to your contractor for product recommendations).
If your acid stained concrete floor doesn’t have a wax sealer and instead has a Polyurethane or Acrylic Urethane finish, avoid harsh chemicals when mopping. A simple solution of water and mild dishwashing soap keeps your floor clean. The lifespan of these sealants is between five and 10 years. When you notice it surface starts looking worn, lightly sand and then reapply the sealer.
Caring for Stamped Concrete Flooring
Properly installed and maintained stamped concrete flooring lasts for decades, even outside. If the surface includes a color hardener, it’s even stronger, since this improves its resistance to both abrasions and penetration.
A good contractor also applies numerous coats of protective sealant, further blocking dirt, water, and other staining materials. It also enhances the color and protects it from fading.
Interior surfaces need regular sweeping with a dust mop, as well as the occasional wet mop. Ask your contractor to recommend the right cleaning agents. In addition, waxing the floor every few months helps protect the surface and prevent wear due to regular traffic.
Exterior floors need to be swept regularly to prevent abrasions and stains, as well as the occasional spray with the hose. Do not use deicing salts, or park cars that regularly drive over salted roads on stamped concrete.
For both interior and exterior stamped concrete floors, reapplying the sealant every year or so keeps it looking great. Ask your contractor for recommendations.
Concrete Flooring General Maintenance Tips
Floors with saw-cut patterns trap dirt. Either avoid these, or take special care in cleaning. For all concrete floor types, protect heavy traffic areas with area rugs and floor mats.
For non-polished floors, a quality sealer is vital as both protection and to improve appearance. In addition, waxing the floors every few months keeps them looking great. Though concrete floors are pet-friendly since they don’t trap dander or fur, if you have large dogs you probably need to wax every two months instead of three.
Finally, ask your contractor about the best maintenance methods and cleaners for your floors.