Concrete is durable, but it still needs maintenance. Fortunately, compared to other materials, this maintenance is relatively easy and infrequent. Much of it is within the realm of the homeowner, business owner, or on-site maintenance. Other aspects of this maintenance, however, may require a return visit by the contractor.
Decorative concrete should be sealed with a high quality, decorative sealer appropriate for the application. This is the first line of defense. The right sealers will protect to concrete against stains, liquid penetration, dirt or dust, and some surface wear. Check the product literature to ensure your selected sealer(s) offer the protections your application require. Decorative sealers can also improve appearance by deepening color and adding gloss. For interior concrete, a sacrificial layer such as a wax or acrylic floor finish can be used to extend the protection and lifespan of the sealer. Protecting this sealer is necessary to protecting the concrete.
Most regular maintenance will consist of simple cleaning. Just sweeping or mopping the surface with a neutral-pH cleaner will remove dirt and grit that can act as an abrasive and compromise the sealer. It is also important to clean up any spilled acidic liquids, oil, or grease as soon as possible. If allowed to sit, spilled wine for example, could etch through the sealer and stain the surface. Regular cleanings will extend the lifespan of the sealer, thereby extending the lifespan of the concrete and maintaining a fresh, beautiful appearance.
Periodically, resealing will be necessary. Typically an application of sealer will last a couple years but interior surfaces can have this interval extended with application and reapplication of a sacrificial layer. Lifespan depends on the sealer of choice, proper application technique, maintenance, and traffic levels. Sealer deterioration becomes apparent when appearance begins to deteriorate, with color and luster dulling. Water will also stop beading on the surface. To test this, pour roughly two ounces of water on the surface in various places. Where the water is readily absorbed, the sealer has deteriorated.
Resealing is best left to the professionals. For best results, the new coat of sealer should be compatible with the old and proper surface preparation techniques need to be adhered to. Should sealers not be matched or the surface not be properly prepared, the new coat of sealer could delaminate and fail to protect the concrete. For best results and greatest convenience, it is a good idea to have the original contractor return to assess and reseal on a periodic basis.
For an overview of Brickform interior sealers, click here. For exterior sealers, click here. Always make sure to read the appropriate product literature for maintenance instructions.