Cement flooring is one of the most durable, low-maintenance surfaces available. It's also a great choice for a variety of settings, including commercial and industrial buildings. But with any surface comes the need to clean it regularly and seal it periodically. With this article, we'll explore how to keep your cement floors looking their best. While you are reading about concrete flooring, be sure to also check out our handy guide on how to glue wood to concrete without drilling for DIY projects, etc.
Keep reading to find out more.
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Why use concrete flooring?
The following are some reasons why you might want to use concrete floors in your home.
Concrete is much more resilient than hardwood floors because it has no knots or grain direction to split or crack. However, if you drop something heavy on concrete (like a grand piano), you could easily chip the surface.
Ease of maintenance
No waxing is required. Just sweep and mop your floor with regular household cleaners. Of course, if you spill something on your concrete flooring, clean it up right away.
Cost Can Be Recovered Over Time
A square foot of poured concrete costs about one dollar. If you hire a contractor to install the floors, he or she will charge you by the square foot as well. So even though it's less expensive than wood flooring, pouring and finishing high-quality concrete floors can still be pricey. But this cost is easily recovered over time because they require very little upkeep.
Cement is a common material for a variety of applications, including sidewalks and driveways. This makes it easy to find precast slabs that have been finished to look just like tile, stone, or other materials.
With concrete flooring, you can customize the final appearance of the floor. Depending on whether it's stamped, stained, polished, pebble-dashed, or painted with an acid stain, a poured slab of concrete can look like marble, granite, travertine, wood, stone, or slate.
How to clean a cement floor
Cleaning your floors is essential for keeping them looking great and extending their life span. Regular cleaning will prevent stains from setting in and making your floors look dirty over time. Here are some tips that will help you maintain your hard-earned investment.
Sweep or vacuum regularly to keep debris from scratching the surface
If you have pets or children, it's a good idea to sweep every day. Sweeping will prevent dirt from becoming one with the floor by foot traffic and furniture moving across its surface. Take time to clean up any dust and dirt that has accumulated on your floors with a mop, broom, and dustpan.
It is very important to mop your floors regularly with water. If you use chemicals, make sure they are safe for sealed concrete. Many household cleaners contain ammonia which can harm cement surfaces over time.
Build up of grime can be removed with an acid-based cleaner
Over time, even though there is no finish on poured concrete, it can get dirty and look dull. To remove this soot, grime, dirt, paint, rust, mold, or mildew from the surface of your cement floors you can use an acid cleaner. It is important to read the manufacturer's instructions before using chemicals on the floor.
Other flooring treatments to get your concrete floor looking new
While getting a new floor will obviously be the best solution for getting that new look, most of the time, this is not possible.
With that said, there are other ways you can give your cement floors an updated look. Let’s have a look at a few of these.
Sandblasting will bring back the original color
When sandblasting, high-pressure air removes dirt, rust, paint, mold, mildew, grime, oil spills, wax residue, and even graffiti from its surface. Be sure to protect adjacent areas and make sure all dust is cleaned up before resealing. For a fresh coat of paint, you will want to sandblast the floor again to get a good bond between the material and the paint.
Protect from moisture
Moisture is your biggest enemy when it comes to pouring concrete floors. It only takes a little water to cause problems if not protected properly. Water can enter through cracks in or around walls, seep into spaces under doors, move through the soil, and accumulate on upper-level floors due to poor grading. The best way to protect your floors from moisture is by applying a sealer.
Sealer coats will protect the floor from wear and tear
Sealing your hard-earned investment with a protective coat of sealer is very important. Over time, it is common for any exposed cement to absorb water which can lead to staining, surface erosion, and weakening of the concrete. These effects can be even more pronounced if there are any cracks in the slabs.
Sealing your floors with a clear sealant or penetrating stain will not only prevent moisture damage but also provide a resistive barrier against chemicals that could leach out of adjacent products such as carpets, adhesives, carpet pads, or ceramic tiles. It will also help with abrasion resistance against pedestrians, rolling chairs, and moving furniture. If there's one thing you should remember about sealed concrete floors, it is that they need to be resealed every two years or as recommended by the manufacturer.
Can You Install Tile Directly On Concrete?
You can install tile flooring on top of concrete slabs if they are structurally sound. If your floors have any cracks, you should address the problem before applying the tile. Any hairline fractures less than 1/8″ wide or deep can be filled with an epoxy crack filler to keep moisture from seeping into the slab and causing further damage.
Concrete is a natural material. It's strong, durable, and not prone to rotting like wood or termite infestation like other building materials. However, it is still a porous substance that can absorb water under certain conditions. Because of this, there are several precautions you need to take while cleaning and maintaining your cement floors to protect them from discoloration and wear and tear.
If you have a concrete floor in your home or business, it is important to clean it regularly, especially if you plan on installing tile directly on the concrete. The best way to do this is by using an acid cleaner that can get into the pores of the surface and remove dirt, grime, rust, paint, mold, stains, and just about anything else from its structure. Sometimes, acidic cleaners are too powerful for use on delicate surfaces such as marble. In these cases, water-based cleaners will work fine.
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How To Paint Basement Floors
Painting basement floors is a great way to brighten up the place. If you have ever painted before, you know that preparation is key for any successful project.
The first step in painting concrete basement floors would be to remove everything from the floor including furniture, rugs, debris, and anything else that might be in the way.
You should also fill in any cracks or holes with epoxy crack filler to keep moisture out of the slab. Once the floor is cleared, sweep it well and patch any cracks or chips by applying epoxy putty with a putty knife. Allow this to set according to the manufacturer's instructions before priming your surface using an acid-based primer designed for the specific type of surface you are working with (vinyl, plaster, etc.).
When painting your basement floors, it's important to let the paint dry completely before replacing your furniture and rugs. This may take up to 24 hours depending on the number of coats applied. You can speed this process along by directing a fan to the floor or using an air compressor to blow hot air across the concrete until it is tacky to the touch.
Final thoughts on concrete flooring surface treatments
In conclusion, concrete flooring surface treatments are great ways to boost the look of any room in your house. With just a little bit of effort, you can have a whole new-looking living space that will impress everyone who walks into the room.