Have you ever heard concrete referred to as the Cinderella of all flooring materials? It made sense until somebody decided it was time for this stunning and luxurious flooring solution to rise from the ashes—with a few modern beauty treatments, of course.
No longer thought of as just a sub-floor material, concrete floors have evolved.
We see polished concrete floors in a growing number of commercial and residential buildings. People like the clean and professional yet luxurious look.
In today's post, the focus is on how to maintain polished concrete floors. While these floors don't require waxing, stripping, or annual sealing like other concrete flooring types, they can quickly lose their signature shine without proper maintenance.
Sharing our step-by-step guide to polished concrete floor care with your customers will not only save them time, but it should also help them save money. If you're preparing for a concrete restoration project, you'll find helpful tips for after-care.
Daily Care for Polished Concrete Floors
Polished concrete floors are not difficult to maintain. If treated right, they're a relatively low-maintenance flooring option. However, low-maintenance doesn't translate to neglect.
Paying attention to simple daily housekeeping ensures your customer's concrete floors maintain their stunning shine. Here are the dailies:
1. Dust Mop
Whether you're working with a residential or commercial customer, floors attract grime and dust particles. Grime left on a polished concrete floor reduces the floor's ability to resist surface abrasion wear.
Dirt sitting on the floor's surface eventually seeps into the pores, where it eats away the polish, dimming clarity and shine. Frequent dust mopping with a microfiber pad is the best way to remove dust and grime from a concrete floor.
2. Install Walk-Off Mats
Encourage clients to install mats or grating at the entry points of their buildings. Walk-off mats reduce the amount of debris tracked into a building from outside. This is critical in colder climates, mainly where people apply de-icing salt because salt has a significantly negative impact on polished concrete.
Daily cleaning of mats is critical to maintain concrete flooring. Regular cleaning minimizes debris on the floor, and it helps preserve the integrity of the mats—once saturated with salt and other debris, they won't function efficiently.
3. Address Stains Immediately
Clean liquid spills on polished concrete as soon as possible. Otherwise, spills have an opportunity to penetrate the concrete. Please pay particular attention to reactive substances as they can quickly launch a chemical attack on the flooring.
Polished concrete floors need a gentle cleaning approach. A mop, bucket, water, and mild cleaner will suffice. Never use bleach, ammonia, or a highly acidic substance as a cleaning solution.
Not missing the dailies helps ensure longevity and lasting shine. Continue reading to learn about weekly concrete floor maintenance.
Weekly Polished Concrete Floor Care
Dust or dry mopping keeps the grime from accumulating, but it's not enough to preserve concrete floors' integrity and stunning shine. Following these tips weekly goes a long way toward prolonging polished concrete floors' life and surface finish.
1. Wet Mop
Floors in commercial buildings do better when cleaning staff use an automatic floor scrubber. They should take care to use a nonabrasive pad as well.
Residential polished concrete floors do fine with a bucket of water and a mop. The homeowner or cleaning service should use clean water to wash the floors and consistently change the dirty water. It's necessary to avoid introducing contaminants to a freshly cleaned surface.
2. Use a pH Neutral Floor Cleaner
Water alone will likely leave dirt on the floor. Over the long-term, accumulated grime wears down the luster of polished concrete. It can also cause damage—we already mentioned how dust and dirt penetrate the floor's surface.
Using a pH neutral cleaner helps prevent a chemical reaction with the concrete material. Acidic cleaners and polished concrete do not mix well together. Bleach, ammonia, vinegar, citrus, and everybody's favorite pine-based cleaner (we're not mentioning names) can penetrate and eat away the pores of a concrete floor.
For commercial applications, we suggest a neutral cleaner and polisher like Enviro-Pro EP512. Focus NC 111 is an excellent neutral cleaner with deodorant.
Residential clients may not have access to or need a commercial cleaning product. They can make a DIY neutral cleaner or request their cleaning service use a store-bought neutral cleaner.
Best Techniques to Clean Polished Concrete
There is an art to cleaning any floor, but even more so when you want to maintain polished concrete correctly. These tips should make maintenance more manageable and more long-lasting.
1. Clean in Sections
Whether it's a commercial location or the floor in someone's basement, it's not wise to rush through the cleaning process. Don't slop the cleaner on a large area of the flooring. Doing so allows the cleaning solution to dry on the floor, which leaves a grime-loving residue.
Professional floor cleaners know to work in sections. Follow their lead and apply cleaner to one corner and then move to another area. After applying cleaner in the new section, return to the first corner and wet-mop or vacuum.
2. Timing Is Everything
Another suggestion we'd like to offer is to take the time to let the cleaner work. The purpose of cleaning a concrete floor is two-fold. You not only want to lift the grime, but you also want to kill bacteria and mold.
There is a delicate balance between letting the cleaner sit for a few minutes and leaving it on the floor so long that it dries on the surface. Cleaning solution left on the concrete too long can act as a chemical peel and damage the floor's surface.
Leave the cleaner on the concrete for about 3-5 minutes. This ensures grime has time to dissolve, and the cleaner can properly eliminate bacteria and other contaminants.
Daily and weekly cleaning help maintain the function and appearance of polished concrete flooring. Customers should also know about any yearly maintenance tasks. In the next section, we'll briefly cover annual floor care.
How Often Should You Polish Concrete Floors?
One of the benefits of polished concrete is that yearly waxing and sealing isn't necessary. Of course, there's a caveat—daily and weekly floor maintenance. That doesn't mean you can't renew the shine.
Using a high-speed burnisher on a dry concrete floor before cleaning helps bring back the shine. The burnisher uses the dirt on the floor as an abrasive. You will need to use a dry mop afterward to life dirt, followed by a wet mop, removing any remaining debris, bacteria, or mold.
Most concrete floors do well if they're polished every 2-3 years using specialized polishing equipment. If the customer follows the maintenance and cleaning routines suggested in this article, they may be able to wait up to five years between floor polishings.
You Can Maintain Polished Concrete with the Best Tools
Caring for polished concrete results in a lustrous and durable floor for years to come. Helping a customer maintain polished concrete with minimum stress and fuss is part of a successful flooring business.
Curious about the difference between single vs. variable speed tools? Maybe you'd like tips on how to use one of our concrete polishers.
Contact the experts at Onfloor to request a demo or to learn more about the best tools in the industry designed to keep polished concrete floors in excellent condition.