The amazing beauty of a decorative concrete floor is something for the eye to behold! A nagging question that always seems to come up is “How long will it maintain its elegance?” This is a question that so many times does not get addressed in the sales presentation or even discussed at the time of completion. Let me share some wisdom in this area…
Without exception every decorative concrete floor has a protective sealer or a sacrificial wear surface and must be cleaned and cared for just like any other flooring material. Without this protective surface and regular TLC the floor color would be exposed to everyday grit and grime which would be ground into the floor by constant foot traffic.
This blog will not address the process of resealing a decorative floor once it has been damaged but I will discuss the best practices regarding regular cleaning and preventative maintenance. (I’ll address that in a later blog.)
Keeping a decorative concrete floor clean on a regular basis is a relatively simple process but I would recommend you first visit with the contractor who installed your floor to obtain written maintenance instructions for the specific products and colors used for your floor. The last thing you need is to have a problem with the floor and then have the contractor pin the problem back on you for not maintaining the floor correctly. This important discussion should take place initially at the sales presentation and again at completion of the job…not when there is a problem.
To start with-most decorative concrete floor systems should be allowed to cure for 14 days from time of final installation for the new flooring system to fully cure before application of maintenance products.
Let’s look at the daily maintenance practices:
Wipe up spills immediately with a clean damp cloth. Allowing spills to remain can present not only a slip hazard but may eventually it may stain your floor. Clean up animal urine as quickly as possible even if you installed a highly chemical resistant finish.
Dust mop regularly with a microfiber mop to maintain a dust-free, slip resistant surface. Surface grit of any kind will act as an abrasive just as if you had sprinkled “Comet” or other abrasive cleanser on the surface that may damage the finish.
Damp mop as necessary with a microfiber mop and clean water. If a cleaner is necessary use a neutral pH degreaser following the manufacturer’s instructions. Never use acidic or caustic cleaners (Ammonia, Bleach, Pine Sol, etc.) as they will slowly eat away your finish. Never use hot water as it may leach into your coating and cause whitening to occur. Warm is good.
Removal of gum or other heavy debris should come off during normal cleaning. If it doesn’t come off, carefully lift the material off with a razor blade but avoid scraping and gouging the sealer coat. If necessary, a blue utility pad works for gently removing any remaining marks or residue.
Here’s a few handy tips for keeping your new decorative concrete floor looking good that most people don’t know about.
- Use felt pads or sliding casters under furniture or equipment legs to prevent scratching the finish . Place throw rugs, fabric or 100% rubber backed mats in areas where you have heavy furniture or equipment.
- Place door mats outside entrances to reduce tracking in unwanted debris and contaminants. I also like to see fabric walk-off mats placed just as you step onto the floor. Avoid plastic or acrylic backed mats as they contain plasticizers that will try to bond with your coating or cause discoloration.
- Never apply tape to your decorative floor. The adhesive resins will eventually migrate into the finish and could possibly pull the finish and stain off the floor. Use the blue painters tape if your absolutely have to and remove ASAP.
Bottom Line Advice:
Care for your decorative concrete floor as you would any other stone, tile, or hardwood floor. With proper care and maintenance, your new decorative concrete floor can last a lifetime. Enjoy!!
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