Maintaining the shine on your polished concrete floors
Finished Concrete Floors contain reactive sites where calcium hydroxide has been exposed even after the initial finishing. Calcium hydroxide is produced during the concrete hydration process and migrates to the surface of the slab throughout its life.
(*Image courtesy of Oh Yeah Floors – Brisbane. A local Polished concrete flooring contractor)
The calcium hydroxide, if not treated, reacts with carbon dioxide to chemically form calcium carbonate, dust, even after densifying and finishing the floor.
New sites are exposed through abrasion normal foot traffic from rocks embedded in shoes, scraping, dropping hard materials, scratching, etc. on the finished concrete floor surface. These new reactive sites need to be treated.
(*Image courtesy of Polished Off Vic)
Concrete throughout its life has a pH range of 10–12. Most cleaners on the market are considered neutral, which means they are in the 6 – 8 pH range. This is considered acidic when the surface has a higher pH range.
We recommend a cleaner that includes silicates to react with those sites. C2 MaintenanceTM was developed with a lithium silicate along with neutral pH of 10 to address both situations.
Visually, you cannot see what is happening on the floor. Concrete floors provide numerous advantages, but to maximize the benefit an understanding of the substrate and what it takes is the best way to start.
First of all, when a finished concrete surface was decided to be used it provided an immediate savings over the use of floor coverings, not only from a installed cost perspective, but environmental value.
First you need to understand concrete is a reactive material. It has a pH of 10–12. Normal cleaning materials are closer to neutral.
Applying a lower pH material will chemically affect the surface and appearance. Even after the initial application of liquid hardeners and protective coatings, the concrete remains reactive. The reactive sites begin with concrete hydration and generate calcium hydroxide, which is a reactive material. Liquid hardeners react with the calcium hydroxide to make calcium silicate hydrate that is the hard part of concrete. Calcium hydroxide is a very reactive material and if you don’t treat it with liquid hardener then it will react with carbon dioxide and produce calcium carbonate, or dust.
The polished concrete process provides a series of scratches to the surface in ascending order of fineness till the remaining pattern is uniform and invisible to the naked eye. This is much like sanding wood. You use progressively finer sand paper to make it smoother.
When someone introduces new scratches to the floor a reactive site of calcium hydroxide is revealed and makes the surface appear dull. The “shine” produced by polishing is valued as spectral gloss. Introducing new scratches that are not polished changes the refraction of light and appears as dullness.
The C2 MaintenanceTM was developed with a lithium silicate that reacts with those exposed sites converting them to calcium silicate hydrate and sealing the site. The protective sealer C2 SealTM creates a microfilm on the concrete surface. It is breathable and will allow water to pass both ways through it.
However, standing water should not be allowed for the first 72 hours after installation. If water does stand you need to remove it from the surface immediately. You will see a dark wet spot under the sealer. If it should appear white other action will be required. Otherwise, in 30 minutes to an hour it should disappear.
Other liquids will not penetrate the sealer because of their molecular size. However, if they are left to sit on the surface for some time they may penetrate and will require corrective action.
We recommend during the first 2 weeks of operation, surface is cleaned every day with auto- scrubber using C2 MaintenanceTM diluted solution of 120 ml / 10 L of water. If whiting does appear, contact your applicator that will need to burnish the floor.
What will affect the floor?
As we described concrete floor is a reactive surface. Acidic fluids; pickle juice, vinegar, milk, fruit juices, soft drinks, etc.; oils; olive oil, grease, vegetable oil, etc.; water; mineral deposits, spotting, etc.; deicers, rocks from parking lot via shoes or wheels on carts or tires, etc. These substances do present problems, but mostly can be mitigated by good housekeeping procedures.
At Pyrafloor Polished Concrete we cover a lot more topics in regards to cleaning of polished concrete floors and maintaining polished concrete floors.
If you’d like to find out more or receive a copy of our Complete Maintenance Program for Finished Polished Concrete Floors, contact one of the Pyrafloor Polished Concrete Training team today.
Ph, 1800 422 992