While no flooring material is absolutely maintenance-free, decorative concrete is getting dangerously close. When compared to other types of flooring like carpet or wood, concrete floors are relatively easy to care for. Still, they need regular attention, which mostly depends on the amount of traffic they get. The maintenance of a concrete floor in a busy commercial or retail environment will differ from taking care of a residential home floor.
Concrete floors in homes
Unlike public buildings, concrete floors in homes receive only light foot traffic. With occasional sweeping and damp mopping, they can look good as new for many years. Still, the material is susceptible to stains, chemicals and abrasion. Using quality film-forming sealers and floor wax will protect your concrete floor even longer.
Floor designs with saw-cut patterns are attractive, but the narrow cuts in its surface can trap dirt. Unless the floor surface is polished, you need to apply a coat of a floor sealer. This touch will not improve the appearance of your floor, but also prolong its life. Floor wax comes on top of the sealer. It protects the surface against stains, dirt and abrasion. If the finish starts to wear off, you can easy apply it again. As a perfect choice for pet owners, concrete floors won’t trap pet hairs and dander, making cleaning after your pets easy.
Taking care of polished concrete
Polished concrete floors are among the most durable flooring choices. Densification and polishing processes make them easier to maintain than other types of decorative concrete floors. They require no sealers or waxing, as you can keep them shiny for years with only basic cleaning. However, not every part of your home receives the same amount of traffic. You can restore the shine in areas like entrances and foyers by using a neutral cleaner. Manufacturers offer special cleaners and conditioners for polished concrete that not only clean the surface, but also leave a dirt-resistant film.
TIP: if you want to restore the floor shine quickly, just buff the surface with a commercial polishing compound. The areas that need more touch-up can be lightly re-polished with a fine-grit abrasive.
Concrete floor dyes are designed to penetrate deeply into the surface to create long-lasting and even color, resistant to flaking or fading. Unfortunately, acid stains react chemically with the concrete and may cause color variations. Even non-acidic spills can be absorbed into the concrete unless the surface is protected with quality paint primers and epoxy paints. Applying premium protective paints, which are significantly more resistant than ordinary paints, will give your floor the long-term durability and beauty that it needs.
Repairing small blemishes
Eventually, your concrete floor will experience minor cracks, scratches or gouges. If the damage is superficial, it can be easily fixed with proper patching material. On the other hand, if the cracks are deeper, the floor has to be resurfaced with an overlay. There is a different solution, too. Instead of trying to hide them, you can highlight existing floor cracks and make them a part of unique organic floor design. Minor cracks can even accentuate the rustic flavor of the room, if that is your idea.
Among many benefits of decorative concrete floors, the versatility and the ease of care are their best selling points. However, as no material is perfect, those require occasional maintenance that goes from simple mopping and sweeping to applying a coat of sealer or floor wax. Properly finished, your concrete floor can last for many years.