Once you’ve made the decision to install concrete floors in your home or office space, you want to make sure that you protect your investment. With the right care and maintenance, concrete flooring can be extremely long-lasting. This one feature is a huge part of why concrete floors continue to rise in popularity, even in more practical spaces like residential buildings.
Unlike other floor coverings that have aisles worth of products available to clean them with, concrete floors don’t typically have specialized cleaners and tools. How are homeowners and store owners supposed to maintain their investment without the aid of these instrumental products?
Fortunately, caring for concrete flooring is relatively simple. It requires very few specialized products and very little time to clean the floors on a regular basis. Whether you’ve already installed your concrete floors or you’re just considering them, you should know how to properly maintain them throughout the years.
The Wrong Way to Clean Concrete
Most people are familiar with how concrete used to be cleaned in the past. They may have rented a power washer or pressure cleaner to blast away stains and discoloration. Perhaps you applied trisodium phosphate or ammonia to get rid of pesky stains that blemish the surface of the concrete on your patio or in the garage. Even muriatic acid may have made the list of necessary cleaning supplies for your concrete.
Unfortunately, not many people realize that these harsher products are only to be used on untreated concrete. You typically will not find coated concreted in a garage or on a patio unless you have a unique design scheme in mind.
Chances are that your interior concrete floors are either polished, stamped, or have some type of overlay. Because of the additional protection that these substrates offer the concrete, you won’t have to take an extremely rigorous approach to concrete cleaning. In fact, opting for harsh chemicals and abrasive cleaners can actually damage the beauty of your floor and compromise the integrity of your overlay.
The Right Way to Clean Polished Concrete
Polished concrete floors truly don’t require much in the way of maintenance to stay pristine for the years ahead. You will need to avoid extremely strong cleaners, acids, and other chemicals that can eat away at the finish you carefully selected and applied. In fact, most homeowners find that only very mild detergents will are necessary to clean their concrete floors.
Many people find that the appropriate cleaner for their polished concrete floors is already under their kitchen sink. Liquid dish soap or Castile soap are both common choices for a polished concrete floor that needs a thorough scrubbing.
Be certain to always read the instructions and recommendations listed by the manufacturer of your floor finish. They may specify certain products that should be used to clean and maintain the surface of your concrete floors. These should be a guiding force in helping you to keep your concrete looking great for the years ahead.
No matter what type of cleaner you need to use, you will need to take care to maintain your floors in the proper sequence.
Sweeping and dust mopping must always come before wet mopping your polished concrete floors. This helps to get rid of any abrasive materials that could scratch, etch, or dull the finish of your polished concrete. For some individuals, sweeping and dust mopping may be the only maintenance necessary the majority of the time.
This could be particularly true if your concrete is more highly polished. If your finish is highly polished, you will see more smudges and dust build-up than you would on a finish with a lower gloss level. As a result, it may require more frequent dusting and sweeping to maintain both the gloss level and the beautiful appearance of polished concrete.
After you’ve taken the time to carefully and thoroughly sweep the area, you can apply a mild detergent mixed with warm water to the area using a soft mop. You will use far more water than cleaner when making your cleaning solution. A couple of tablespoons of cleaner in each gallon of water should be sufficient to adequately clean your concrete floors.
Mop the way you would with any other floor surface, taking care not to saturate the floor with too much liquid. When you’re finished, you should rinse the floor using clean water and allow it to air dry before exposing it to foot traffic once more.
Because concrete is a porous surface, it is prone to more staining than other types of flooring. Be sure to clean up spills very quickly to prevent them from penetrating your polished surface and causing permanent staining. This can be done using just warm water on a damp rag, a mild spray cleaner, or the same mop solution you created earlier.
Keep in mind that you may need to reseal your concrete floors every few years to keep them in great shape if they aren’t already polished. You may also use a wax finish designed for concrete floors to help protect your finish. The proper protection and sealing can help prevent staining and discoloration from taking place. It may also be rebuffed in order to eliminate surface scratches and general wear and tear in high traffic areas.
Both of these important maintenance steps should be taken care of by a professional who is experienced with polished concrete and overlays. Without careful training and expertise, you could damage the overall appearance of your concrete flooring.
If you’re not sure how to properly maintain your polished concrete flooring, you could always contact the installer who helped to finish your property. They should be able to give you specific instructions or refer you to the manufacturer of your finish for more detailed information.
Maintaining your polished concrete floors is essential to protecting one of the largest investments you’ll ever make into a particular property. You should be sure that you know how to take care of them properly. You’ll find that it takes very little time and effort to upkeep your concrete floors, but it makes a huge difference in their longevity.