Concrete Floor Stains: Clean & Seal

Concrete floor stains will lengthen the life of your concrete floors. Read on for more general information on this subject.

Hard floors are any type of floor that is made from natural stone or clay. This can include concrete, marble, ceramic tile, or other natural stone. They are among the most durable of all hard floors, but they still require some care and maintenance.

Concrete floors are most often found in utility areas, basements, or areas that receive a great deal of traffic from heavy equipment, such as a garage. Some concrete floors are covered or painted. If they are not covered, or painted, they should be sealed.

Floors should be sealed when they are new as spills can cause permanent stains. However, the concrete does have to be cured, dry, and clean before it can be sealed. According to the American Concrete Institute, poured concrete should cure for at least 28 days at temperatures of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Before cleaning and sealing a concrete floor, you will need to get repair compound, a mop, a broom, a dustpan, a buffer with a scrubber attachment, heavy latex gloves, protective goggles, an appropriate floor sealer, detergents, a stain remover, and a wet vacuum or a wet mop and a bucket with a wringer.

Make sure the floor is free of hollow areas, small holes, or voids. If there are any, fill it with a repair compound, level it off and allow it to harden and dry. Sand down any protrusions or rough areas so that the concrete is level.

Begin by sweeping the floor and then damp-mopping it. Some experts suggest cleaning it with clear water and a hot solution of a few ounces of washing soda or a half ounce of tri-sodium phosphate per gallon of water. Allow the floor to thoroughly dry before sealing.

There are several different types of sealers""and technology has been improving the quality of them dramatically in the past several years. The most common types are epoxies, urethanes, and water-based epoxies. High solid epoxies are environmentally-friendly and last for a longer time than most epoxies. Water-based epoxies are convenient and tend to have better adhesion. They are typically used in areas with light to moderate industrial use. Urethanes are ideal for heavy foot or vehicle traffic as they retain a high quality color and gloss for a long time in all environments.

Wear heavy latex utility gloves and protective goggles to protect yourself from the chemicals. Put the sealer you will be using into a bucket and then dip the waxing mop into the bucket. Use the mop to spread the sealer evenly on the floor. Allow it air dry before walking on it.

There are some types of sealer that can be put into a superflo style pump and can be sprayed directly on instead of mopped. Be sure to check the instructions on the sealer before you purchase it.

If you are re-sealing a floor, you will first need to scrub the floor with a mild detergent, using the scrubber attachment on a buffer. Remove any stains on the floor. Rinse the floor thoroughly and remove all water and residue with a wet vacuum or mop and wringer. Let the floor air dry. Reapply the sealer with either the waxing mop or the pump, as above. Remove the scrubbing attachment from the buffer. Clean it, and hang it to dry.

Rinse all wet and waxing mops and hang them to dry.

Most thin coats of sealant will dry within 24 to 48 hours. Be sure to test the floor to be sure the sealant was applied evenly and that there was no shrinking or peeling.

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