How to maintain polished concrete floors

By Published On: October 26th, 2017
PMac polished concrete floor at Dorset Point

Polished concrete maintenance guidelines

Polished concrete floors are probably one of the easiest and most cost-effective flooring options, in terms of maintenance. A polished concrete floor does not require any cyclical waxing or polishing like stone, vinyl or wooden floors do. They will not wear down with traffic and they are extremely scratch resistant and durable.

Keep your concrete floor looking fabulous

A polished concrete floor is not a totally maintenance-free option, of course, and does require some care and attention to help retain its fabulous lustre and colour. We haven’t come across a self-cleaning floor system yet; if we do we will be sure to let you know!

So here are a few tips on how to keep your polished concrete floor looking fabulous, retain its gloss and extend its lifespan.

Use entrance mats

As with the maintenance of all floor surfaces, ensure you have entrance mats positioned on both the inside and outside of your door. This helps eliminate dust particles and grime getting onto your floor.

Mop regularly

Dust mop your polished concrete floor daily (maybe more often in a heavy traffic commercial setting). This will remove any dust or grime particles that can abrade your floor and cause it to lose its shine and clarity over time. We recommend dust mopping with a microfiber cloth or pad. This suspends the dust particles and removes them from the surface.

Wet mop your floors as needed in the residential setting and at least daily for a commercial floor.

Use a pH neutral soap

Always use hot, soapy water when mopping your floors. Ensure you use a pH neutral soap; we recommend our own Stone Soap. There are other pH neutral soaps on the market, however, so just check the label. Avoid any detergents that contain bleach, citrus, vinegar, pine, etc…  These are acidic and will dull and etch your concrete floor over time.

Use clean water and a clean mop

Always use clean hot water and a clean mop. Change your water frequently and rinse your mop well. We recommend drying the floor with a clean white cloth as you go, this will avoid leaving streak marks on your floor. The pH neutral soap actually suspends the dirt particles in your mop, so it’s important to rinse frequently with clean water. Otherwise, you are just moving the dirt around on your floor and this will take away its sheen.

For commercial settings

For larger commercial floors, we recommend you use a scrubber dryer with a pH neutral soap daily.

To bring up the shine in commercial settings, use a non-abrasive pad (white or red) daily on a high-speed buffer. It is really important to use non-aggressive pads as anything more severe will abrade your surface. An aggressive pad can actually re-open the pores in your concrete floor, and this will deteriorate your floor very rapidly.

The concrete polishing process actually closes the pores in the floor, which enhances its defense against staining.  To really bring up the shine on a highly polished floor, you could burnish it with non-abrasive pads. This is a super high-speed buff and will really bring up the clarity in your floor. Burnishing also closes the pores, hence adding all the time to its resistance.

Dorset Point commercial polished concrete floor P Mac

Frequent buffing will also remove any acidic etch marks over time. Twister pads containing fine diamonds are also highly recommended on polished concrete floors in the commercial setting.

Take your time (but not too much)

It is important to give your soap cleaner enough time to work into the dirt and work its magic. However, don’t allow it to dry on your floor as this will make it harder to remove and leave a film or scum on your floor. For this reason, we advise cleaning your floors in sections, this also allows you to dry as you go. Think of it in the same way you would clean windows, you wouldn’t soap all your windows in the one go and then go back and rinse and polish.

No matter however careful you are with allowing the soap to dwell for just the correct amount of time and rinsing your mop and changing your water frequently, it is pretty hard to avoid a build-up of detergent on your floor over time. This is what gives it that dull appearance. To remove excess product, we advise you could mop your floor with boiling hot water (no soap) or agitate with a soft bristle brush and the boiling hot water when needed.

Clean up spills

The concrete polishing process gradually closes the pores in the concrete, this is what gives a polished concrete floor that extra durability. The higher the shine, the more the pores are closed helping prevent spills seeping into the floor. However, it is imperative you wipe up any spills as quickly as possible. Don’t cry over your spilt milk, just wipe it up because if left it will penetrate into the concrete and give you a nasty dull patch. You’ll have to be even quicker off the mark with acidic spills such as wine or citric acid.

Have a seal applied

For this reason, we also recommend you ensure your polished concrete floor is sealed. An impregnating seal will give you time to wipe up a spill before it gets the chance to seep into your floor and cause staining. A seal will give your floor a very high gloss look, but will repel acidic spills. Read about sealing stone and concrete floors

Seals need to be replenished every few years as they can break down with UV light, wear and tear and overuse of detergent. Seals need to be replenished more frequently than an impregnating seal; the seal will wear where traffic is heaviest, often known as cow-pathing. You will notice a shiny seal around the edge of the floors, but it will be much duller in the centre where people walk. Coatings can also scratch, if heavy machinery or furniture is dragged across the coating it can rip. It’s important this is repaired because if water penetrates the coating will start to delaminate.

Impregnating seals last different times depending on usage and spillages. Foot traffic will not damage these but acidic products will. The easy test is to pour water on your floor, if it penetrates quickly it will need to be re sealed. Impregnating seals work best on polished surfaces.

Call in the experts

If your floor does get dull or stained over time, don’t panic because it’s easy to remedy. Just call in the pros! We can come in and strip off the old seals and detergent from the floor, polish out the stains and re-apply the seal. This process will bring your floor back to looking as good as it did when first installed, and will help to greatly extend its lifespan. Easy!

Read more about our Polished Concrete Services and the finishes that can be achieved

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