Polished concrete is a popular favorite among flooring contractors and clients alike for its durability and beauty. Contrary to popular belief, however, polished concrete is not a completely “maintenance-free” flooring solution. Regular, low-maintenance steps must be taken to ensure a polished floor maintains its finished look; otherwise, stains, salt etching and regular wear-and-tear from foot traffic can dull the shine and diminish floor quality over time.
From scrubbers to burnishers, floor pads and cleaners, Runyon carries a wide array of maintenance products that help clean and properly restore polished concrete, manufactured by the best in the business, including Clarke, Aztec, 3M, Twister, Ameripolish, Procoso, Scotchguard and more. In addition, we’ve developed this easy three-stage process for proper concrete flooring maintenance.
Stage 1: Restore
Any spill left on polished concrete can stain the surface. A properly applied stain protector can remedy this. If a citric, acidic or caustic liquid is allowed to sit on polished concrete, it can etch the surface, and the answer for etching is restoration.
Concrete is easy to restore using prep equipment and a combination of the following:
- Diamond-impregnated pads: mechanically clean, remove scratches, stains and sealers, and maintain floors using floor pads with billions of microscopic diamonds that will also polish the floor, keeping the natural shine and gloss and leave a clean surface. The condition of the floor determines grit size. For instance, coarse and medium grits are more aggressive, so they can lighten the floor and may remove dyes.
- Stripping agents: usually water-based, stripping agents remove sealers
- Specially formulated cleaners: made to rejuvenate, these cleaners remove dirt, retain color and return floors to a shiny finish. They also help prevent any damage done by working with stain protectors.
Stage 2: Protect
Before the actual polishing process is complete, contractors will apply a crucial step for effective protection: a stain protector or resister, guard protector, densifiers or sealer product that sits on top of the floor surface, formulated to:
- protect polished, dyed concrete from oil and water-based stains and acidic etching agents
- deliver exceptional shine
- improve surface performance
- resist the effects of traffic wear and weathering
Using stain protectors, resisters, densifiers, dyes and stains manufactured by Ameripolish, Prosoco, Scofield, Convergent, Dayton Superior and others, you can be sure your polished concrete floors will get the perfect color you want, while retaining that color through years of cleaning, scrubbing and traffic. Eventually, however, these products will wear off, due to foot traffic – which necessitates a third stage in overall polished floor maintenance.
Stage 3: Maintain
Polished concrete floors are inherently sustainable and very durable. They clean easily and have low-impact maintenance requirements, eliminating the need for waxing or stripping chemicals, which is also easy on the environment. The frequency of maintenance depends on the amount and type of traffic the floor must sustain over time.
A common question arises when choosing cleaning products that are safe to use on polished floors. It is easy to assume standard cleaners are appropriate, when really they can etch the concrete and ruin the finish. Instead, we suggest using products:
- specially formulated for polished floor cleaning
- void of citric, caustic or acidic components
- pH-neutral balanced
Once a polished floor’s shine diminishes or the floor is etched by a stain after the polishing process is complete, we recommend guard products be reapplied periodically. The application schedule is determined by the frequency of use and type of traffic.
We encourage contractors to suggest a robust maintenance schedule for polished concrete floors to their customers after a polishing job is complete. Runyon Surface Prep also creates custom maintenance posters on request. Find out how to have a poster made and learn more about the importance of polished concrete maintenance in our blog post and video, Keep Your Polished Floors Looking Shiny and New.
This article is adapted from, “Polished Floor Maintenance Made Easy with a Three-Stage Plan,” originally published in Concrete Décor and written by Runyon Surface Prep Rental and Supply.