Concrete floors are becoming increasingly popular for interiors, particularly residences that are going for a loft-like industrial look. Painted concrete floors are also popular for outdoor patios at bars, restaurants and venues, and used for commercial spaces. Painted concrete floors are fairly easy to maintain, but you must take care not to expose the surface of the floor to any chemicals or products that could harm the integrity of the surface or the sealant.
Cleaning Painted Concrete Floors
Concrete floors have become extremely popular because of their highly durable nature, and their exceptional ease in terms of maintenance. Whether or not you have elected to paint your concrete floor, the floor surface is strong, sturdy and not vulnerable to water damage or rot the way that a wood floor will be.
Painted concrete floors present a unique maintenance problem, though. Although painting and sealing the surface helps to prevent the paint from chipping and can add warmth and color to your space, you need to make sure that what you are using as concrete floor cleaner doesn't damage the cement paint or sealant.
Cleaning painted concrete floors is a two-pronged process. Before using any kind of clean, you must sweep the surface of the floor and clear it of any dust, debris, dirt particles and other crumbs that could scratch the concrete surface.
How to Clean Painted Concrete Floors
Begin by sweeping the surface of the concrete floors with a soft-bristle broom. This should help you clear away any large pieces of debris. Next, go over the entire surface of the painted concrete floor with a microfiber cloth or other dust-catching cloth that could get any stray bits of dust and hair that your broom may have missed. After cleaning with a microfiber cloth, run a vacuum over the surface of the floor to gather the very last bits of invisible dirt and grit.
Next, you need to wet-clean the painted concrete floor surface. This is where things can get tricky. Commercial concrete floor cleaner is widely available at hardware and home improvement stores, but not all formulas are made to safely treat painted floors. For painted concrete floors, avoid any kind of cleanser that has highly acidic ingredients or elements like bleach or ammonia. These can etch into the floors and damage the paint job.
Instead, choose a mild cleanser — or better yet, create your own with a mix of Castile soap and hot water. You can also use dish detergent in a bucket of warm water. Soak a mop in this cleansing solution and wring it out until it is damp. Run the damp mop over the painted concrete floor, taking care not to let moisture pool on the surface. Rinse with clear, clean water and allow to thoroughly dry, particularly in the corners.
Maintaining Painted Concrete Floors
Painted concrete floors should be resealed every few years to keep the paint from chipping, fading and dissolving. While concrete itself is durable, paint can chip when heavyweight is being borne by the floors, or when furniture is dragged across it again and again. It's important to see that you don't cause chips in the paint. For this reason, it is advisable to repaint and reseal every few years.
Avoid heavy exposure to acid. Cleaning concrete floors with vinegar is possible, as long as the vinegar is sufficiently diluted. Vinegar not only cleans and disinfects surfaces, but it can also halt the growth of mildew and prevent mildew from forming and growing in the first place.
Sweeping concrete floors daily is an excellent way to keep dust from building up and collecting on the floors and in corners. It also prevents the buildup of the kind of dirt and grit that can scratch the surface of a concrete floor and damage the integrity of the paint.
Ashley Friedman is a freelance writer with experience working in the home, design and interiors space.