Concrete maintenance basics

Concrete maintenance basics

As concrete ages, many factors play a role in the internal breakdown of the molecular bond. As everything in our universe decays, it breaks apart at the molecular level, and concrete is no different.

Our driveways and patios are subject to wind, rain, and freezing, and all the chemicals that are carried by our cars, etc.

You can protect your property against the environment and time with a few easy steps. With several maintenance techniques, a poured concrete structure open to the elements will remain intact for decades.

Cleaning Concrete

Using a pressure washer is one fact about cleaning concrete that is often misunderstood. Many homeowners rent or purchase pressure washing equipment, planning to clean the algae or stains from the concrete.

The process is repeated over and over again with the same effect. You must pressure rewash every six months as the washed surface gets dirty.

This is a case of wasted money and time when the best solution for cleaning dirty concrete is to pressure wash, etch, and stain it, sealing it forever from invasive chemicals, nature, and erosion.

After a good pressure washing from a quality pressure washer, allow it to dry for 24 hours before proceeding with the acid etching. Using an etching formula like phosphoric acid is a safe alternative to muriatic acid and is less toxic to handle.

With a pair of rubber gloves on, mix the etcher as directed and scrub onto the concrete using a stiff-bristled brush.

Staining concrete floor

Measure the area you wish to stain to know how much you’ll need. A textured look will require less stain than complete coverage. Mainly, if you use a combination of shades, you’ll need far less of each shade than you would of just one solid color.

Clean the area with a degreaser, paying particular attention to stains. You want the concrete to look even before you start the etching.

Wash it with the power washer, but be careful not to wash it too hard or close as it will leave a mark on the surface. The more powerful ones might even remove concrete depending on the pressure washer.

Then it’s left to dry, and the next day, sweep away the trash that might be there.

Mask the surrounding areas you don’t wish to stain.

To prevent the leaching of salts from the ground into the concrete, which will discolor your stain, use an efflorescence blocker. It’s designed to avoid efflorescence and alkali from rising to the surface within the concrete, giving extra protection from stains.

Apply it with the garden sprayer, then brush it with the broom. Then, you can let it dry for an hour. This is the last step before you can start with the staining.

Spray on the stain by doing it in layers. After one layer is done, let it dry before doing another one. For the look of stone, each layer should be thicker in some areas and thinner in others.

Different shades of stain will give the effect of different kinds of stone.

This is where you can let your imagination shine; even patterns are possible if you want to do them with concrete stencils. Drying time between layers could be as much as twenty-four hours, and the more coats you spray, the longer it will take to dry.

After letting the stain dry for twenty-four hours, apply the sealer with a thin-nap paint roller.

If the concrete is new, it should be at least 28 days old before staining.

Staining and polishing concrete floors can create many kind of expensive looking end results

Concrete seal coating

The concrete seal coat is a protective paint or stain applied to the concrete, changing its upper layer into a protective composite coating. Typically, the concrete coat is colored, changing the appearance of the concrete, but clear coats can also be used. Even the clear coat can change the outlook.

The coating can be good to spread with a thin-nap paint roller. Depending on the layer, it has a high viscosity, so it can almost be like laying water on the ground. Remember not to spread with a dry roller, as it’s supposed to be a coating.

Aggregates like sand or fine gravel can be added to the mix, providing a firm anti-slip surface concrete sealer, even when wet. Quartz sand is white and might fit well with most coatings.

Epoxy semi-gloss concrete stain can be added to interior concrete slabs for oil-free and stain-proof finishes perfect for mechanic shops, just like in world-class car showrooms worldwide.

Clear coats and other concrete stains are easy to apply. Using a heavy nap roller cover and paint roller, spread on the concrete sealer just like you would paint a wall.

Keep paint lines down by continually keeping plenty of paint on the roller (AKA loading the roller) and reworking areas. A second coat is often needed on porous concrete.

The key to a good finish is using enough coating and going systematically from one end to another. It’s good to check when the coating is workable and plan accordingly.

Stay away from fixing coating on the floor for some time, as it has probably started to harden, and it will just leave an uglier surface (bubble gum-like).

Yearly Maintenance

If you want to keep your concrete looking great, regular maintenance is key. One way to achieve this is by cleaning it once a year using an oxygenated bleach product.

However, if you notice any stains that have peeled up, discolored, blistered, or flaked, you’ll need to do some extra work. Start by pressure washing the affected area and giving it at least 48 hours to dry out before reapplying the stain.

Additionally, investing in a high-quality coating can help make your concrete easier to clean and maintain. Just be sure to steer clear of any harmful chemicals that could damage the surface.

Conclusion

Although concrete is a durable material that can withstand the test of time, it is essential to take proper care of it to keep it looking its best.

Over time, concrete can become dirty and develop a dull, gray appearance, which can diminish its overall appeal. Fortunately, there are several ways to enhance the appearance of concrete, depending on the level of maintenance that you are willing to invest.

Staining and sealing are two popular methods that can keep concrete looking fresh and new. If you are looking for a more robust solution, you might consider epoxy or polyurethane coatings.

These coatings offer different benefits, but they may require more professional work to achieve optimal results. Overall, maintaining the appearance of concrete is essential to ensure its longevity and preserve its aesthetic appeal.