Everyone assumes that concrete is bomb proof, rock hard or indestructible and that they are zero maintenance. There's a little hyperbole at play here with many websites stating that concrete floors and or polished concrete do not require waxing (acrylic sealer) and are resistant to pretty much anything.
The truth is concrete is a naturally porous surface, some 15-20% of the slab is air pockets and capillaries form during curing. Polished concrete floors require both chemical densification and sealing for any degree of stain resistance.
We would however agree that concrete flooring is indeed very tough and low maintenance, but without correct sealing, it is incredibly easily to stain with oil based contaminants or etch with low pH or acidic solutions. So it essential the concrete surface is adequately sealed and cleaned regularly.
The most common cause of wear and tear on both diamond polished concrete and sealed concrete is dirt particles, grime, grit and other contaminants spread by foot traffic.
Wear of this type is mostly commonly seen on neglected polished floors or those without a maintenance or regular cleaning process carried out. A little bit of extra care and attention will protect your investment, keep the floor surface free of grim build up and maintain that high gloss finish.
Silica based debris is essentially a cheap abrasive that gradually wears down the exposed concrete or sealer. Abrasive contaminants will over time break down the polish and produce a patchy looking shine that looks dirty even after cleaning.
The first step of correct housekeeping for concrete floors is the use of boundary mats at external doors. Wiping your feet on a door mat will dramatically reduce the dirt brought onto the surface of the entire floor.
You can generally use cleaning products designed for natural stone such as marble or limestone, as these are usually a very gentle product.
Whilst more gentle than many supermarket sourced cleaners, they still have enough oil and grease removing properties.
The number one rule for cleaning a polished floor, concrete surfaces or a polished concrete floor is to only use a pH neutral cleaner.
Concrete is a calcium based product which means it is easily damaged by either a acidic and alkaline cleaning solution. Think concrete, think neutral pH cleaners.
You can generally use cleaning products designed for natural stone such as marble or limestone, as these are usually a very gentle product. Whilst more gentle than many supermarket sourced cleaners, they still have enough oil and grease removing properties.
The number two rule is to remove spills, grime, dust and dirt particles on a regular basis, ideally as part of daily dust mopping routine. By using a dry dust mop like an flat anti-static mop you can quickly remove light debris from the entire floor.
Alternatively dust particles can be removed with a vacuum as long the machine you use only has soft brushes, nothing abrasive.
Rule number three is daily cleaning. I know that sounds like a lot of work, but dust mopping little but often makes a huge difference and really increases the longevity of your polished surfaces.
All are simple steps towards reducing the chances of spills becoming stains and potentially ruining the flooring, forcing a re polish.
There are four main ways of sealing a concrete floor.
The first is through the use of a cure and seal product, an acrylic coating which is applied on freshly installed concrete by the concrete contractor, usually straight after the final pass of a power trowel. This kind of concrete floor is known as sealed concrete; not polished concrete.
Second is a silicate densifier, some of these reactive products are used on a fresh concrete install others require the concrete to cure for at least 28 days. Densifiers work by converting soft porous calcium hydroxide into the much tougher, less porous calcium silicate hydrate. This kind can be part of a diamond polishing system or a standalone sealer solution.
Third is through the use of a solvent impregnating sealer such as our PROseal which applied to densified polished concrete surface after the final pass of diamond polishing pads. This kind of sealer penetrates into the floor's surface to create a water repellant barrier and is often almost invisible with no noticeable colouring. Ideal for true polished concrete floors.
Fourth is with a topical coating such as our ceramic enhanced solvent sealer PROguard. These sealers offer a greater degree of acid, chemical, oil, salt and water resistance than the previous sealing solutions. A solvent topical coating will often enhance the natural colours of the polished concrete floor. This type of concrete sealer is ideal for a residential or a commercial concrete floor.
Both of our cleaning solutions will work out of a trigger spray in conjunction with a flat microfibre mop, in a bucket with a damp mop.
Or correctly dosed with clean water in the solution tank of an automatic floor scrubber with a nonabrasive pad fitted in commercial settings.
Remember rule number one; think concrete, think neutral pH cleaners. We have two such cleaning products available.
PROcare is a mild detergent ideal for cleaning polished concrete sealed with either an impregnating sealer or a topical coating. This is a pH neutral cleaner is mixed with warm water and suitable for all water safe flooring materials including floors with underfloor heating, includes gentle surfactants for effective removal of dust particles. Also works well on resin or stone polished floors for residential and commercial applications.
MICROcare is also a pH neutral floor cleaner and maintainer for concrete floors and our to clean polished concrete with a topical sealer applied. MICROcare is highly concentrated and diluted with clean water and includes everything PROcare offers, but with the addition of sealer maintaining properties that fill small pores and areas subjected to foot traffic.
Both of our cleaning solutions will work out of a trigger spray in conjunction with a flat microfibre mop, in a bucket with a damp mop. Or correctly dosed with clean water in the solution tank of an automatic floor scrubber with a nonabrasive pad fitted in commercial settings.
Alternatively you can use a pH neutral cleaner designed for natural stone or calcium based surfaces like limestone, travertine or marble. Stone cleaning products will still maintain your polished concrete effectively with either a wet mop or microfibre pad and remove soiling and other debris from the floor's surface.
In general the equipment needed for cleaning concrete floors is very basic. The majority of your cleaning tasks for residential sized polished concrete floors can be carried our with a microfibre flat mop. A wet mop and dry dust mop is highly recommended.
The dry mop should be used regularly to remove dust and when soiled with dirt from your floors, simply pop the flat mop into your washing machine.
The damp microfiber pad should be used with ph neutral cleaners to remove any dirt and grime from spills that cannot be removed with the dry microfibre. Having a quick damp mop over of your floor will certainly help maintenance and prolong the life of your floors and reduce the need for re polishing.
For larger floors such as commercial and industrial floors, maintenance should be carried out with a floor scrubber drier machine fitted with a soft non woven pad and neutral pH cleaner. This type of pad is ideal for floors which are sealed with a topical coating.
For diamond polished concrete floors sealed with an impregnating sealant, the use of a diamond non woven pad such as a green HTC Twister pad are recommended to increase floor shine and to remove dirt residue.
Please not the use of this type pad will increase the gloss levels of your floor over time. Your maintenance plan may need to alternate this pad with a non abrasive cleaning pad to prevent too great an increase in shine.
To remove a stain, ensure you have cleaned the affected area with the appropriate cleaning product. Then mix up a little talcum powder with water to form a putty.
Apply this putty to the stain. Cover the putty with cling film. Pierce the cling film 1-2 times and allow the putty to dry out overnight.
Stains can be troublesome to remove from polished concrete floors. Stains will generally appear darker than the concrete, an etch will look lighter.
To remove a stain, ensure you have cleaned the affected area with the appropriate cleaning product. Then mix up a little talcum powder with water to form a putty. Apply this putty to the stain. Cover the putty with cling film. Pierce the cling film 1-2 times and allow the putty to dry out overnight.
If all does to plan, the putty will draw out the stain light a poultice. Repeat as necessary.
An etch in your polished concrete floors will require re polishing to bring back the shine in that area.
Clean floor with dry microfibre flatmop
If dirt and grime remains dilute pH neutral cleaning product and spray over floor surface
Remove cleaning product with a damp flatmop
Allow floors to dry completely before use