Concrete is known for its many benefits in and around the home. Concrete can be used in driveways, patios, construction, indoor floors, and even countertops. Why use concrete in your home? Because it is durable, versatile, and comes with easy maintenance.
While low maintenance does not mean “no” maintenance, concrete is much easier to care for compared to asphalt or marble. For example, a quality concrete driveway can last over 30 years.
In this article, we’re going to provide all of the easy tips and tricks to keep your concrete looking like new for years.
Before we get started on our how to guide, you might be wondering about some of the basics of concrete.
Popular belief equates concrete and cement as the same material. This is false. Residential concrete is a mixture of three parts. Cement is actually one of parts that makes the finished product. The other components of concrete are water and some type of aggregate such as rock or sand. These three parts are mixed and poured.
We generally recommend leaving concrete pouring to the professionals. Pouring concrete requires several steps and the right equipment. (Read these tips to learn how to hire the best concrete contractor for your needs.)
Before the concrete is poured, the site needs preparation. The area should be cleared of grass, trees, or anything that could cause the concrete to be unstable. A sub based is then laid before the concrete is placed. Metal or wooden stakes are placed to help the concrete settle evenly. Once the concrete is poured, it is finished and allow to harden. Properly placed concrete needs several days to harden correctly. For indoor concrete, light foot traffic should be good after 3 or 4 days. For concrete driveways, give it about a week before driving directly on it.
But after the concrete is set, don’t worry. Even the busiest homeowners can easily maintain concrete.
Indoor Concrete Maintenance
Concrete Floors Maintenance
There are many ways to use concrete indoors. From floors to countertops, decorative concrete is becoming a huge trend among designers and homeowners. Indoor concrete is durable, beautiful, and good for the environment.
One of the most popular applications for indoor concrete is flooring. Indoor concrete can be used in any room of the house from the kitchen to the garage. If you think concrete is a drab, boring, grey that is better suited for a industrial project, think again. Concrete can be stained in a myriad of luxurious colors and designs.
One of the first steps you should take in caring for your indoor concrete is finding a quality concrete sealer. Unless your concrete floor is polished, a sealer will protect your concrete and extend its life.
For added protection, wax your concrete with a commercial grade concrete wax. Both sealer and wax helps your concrete look like new for years. Read this how to on how you can apply concrete wax right at home. You can always call your concrete contractor if you’re not comfortable waxing your own concrete floors.
For heavy traffic areas, add a complimentary rug that will enhance your space as well as alleviate some of the wear and tear.
Did you know concrete floors are perfect for homes with furry friends? Concrete does not absorb pet hairs or odors while providing easy cleanup from pet stains. For example, if your pet leaves a messy trail of mud inside, you can use a regular mop and soap to clean up the mess. Another reason to use wax and a good sealer is that it makes scratch resistant to claws.
Regular light cleaning of your concrete floor is essential to preventing dirt from wearing down the sealer. When you do clean your concrete, stick a broom, mop, and simple cleaning solutions.
There are many types of concrete cleaners out there, but for most situations regular soap will get the job done.
Don’t used cleaners with harsh detergents or other chemicals like bleach since it can leave an unwanted residue. Also avoid cleaners with powerful or acidic chemicals. While you can use a vacuum, remove the rotating brush so there isn’t a chance of causing scratches.
Concrete Countertops Maintenance
Many homeowners are choosing concrete countertops for their home because they provide a one-of-a-kind appearance to kitchen or bathroom designs. They have a clean, polished look and can withstand the normal wear and tear of a busy household.
If you are thinking about getting concrete countertops for your home, you don’t have to worry about major cracking or extensive maintenance. While minor cracking can occur over time, this is most commonly due to natural shrinkage. Generally, these cracks do not affect the sound
When people think of concrete, they normally think of outdoor use. And for good reason, there are many applications for concrete outside of your home.
Concrete Patio Maintenance
An exciting alternative to wooden patios are concrete patios. According to a report from the National Association of Home Builders, concrete is the most popular patio material in the U.S.
Concrete patios are becoming an especially attractive option for luxury and high end homes. Why? Because they provide a wide range of design flexibility without sacrificing quality.
For concrete patio maintenance, you should clean and seal your stamped or colored concrete every couple years. The exact timing depends on how much traffic your patio sees as well as your area’s climate and how often it is exposed to water.
Before sealing your concrete patio, rinse it off to remove anything from the surface. Then use a gentle soap and clean the concrete. Rinse again with a hose or power washer on a light setting.
Let the area dry completely. Your safest bet is to wait a full 24 hours. After your concrete patio is completely dry, apply the sealer as directed. Also read the full instructions before using.
Sealer goes on best in cooler temperatures, so the upcoming fall and winter seasons are concrete sealing seasons. But remember never apply sealer when it is wet or damp. For some of the most popular questions about sealer, click here. If you want to ensure you’re using an environmentally friendly sealer, check out EPA approved and water based solution, SealGreen.
Concrete Driveway Maintenance
One of the many advantages of concrete compared to other types of driveways like asphalt is its longevity and easy maintenance. Concrete is strong enough to last up to 30 years with the right care and maintenance.
Taking care of your concrete driveway starts with quality installation. Right after your concrete is poured, your concrete contractor should provide specific instructions for care. For example, during the seven days after the project is finished, there should be no traffic on your concrete. Your concrete driveway needs to “cure” or set during this time.
If you plan to have heavy construction equipment around your home, make sure these vehicles do not drive onto your concrete driveway for at least 30 days. Ask your concrete contractor if you have any other specific questions.
Like your concrete patio, your concrete driveway should be sealed on a regular basis. The minimum time between sealing should be three to five years, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule. If you live in a snow-prone area that frequently uses salt or sand during the winter, you should seal your concrete driveway at least one to two years. Never use chemicals that thaw ice. While they can be convenient, the elements in these products erode concrete overtime. However, you can use sand when things get a little slick. When removing snow from your concrete driveway, don’t use metal shovels with sharp edges that could damage the surface.
A good sealer will help protect your concrete, but it is also good practice to remove any stain from your concrete driveway as soon as you notice it. Stains such as oil or grease can be power washed with a gentle soap.
Concrete Pools Maintenance
Concrete pools are becoming an attractive alternative to fiberglass. While they can be a more expensive option, they provide home owners will tangible value and a range of customizable options. For example, with regular pools, homeowners only have a few options when it comes to pool steps or benches. But with concrete pools, customers have free range over design. Furthermore, a concrete pool can be created to perfect match your concrete patio, making your entire background a seamless work of art.
There are some simple steps to maintain your concrete pool. Like you would with any pool, keep your pool free from debris by using a pool skimmer.
Clean the interior of the pool by using a pool brush. After this, wait about ten minutes for any debris to float to the bottom and use a pool vacuum. According to This Old House, this step should take about 30 minutes.
Always be sure to add the right amount of chemicals to your pool, and make sure the pool’s filtration system is working correctly. Buy a swimming pool water test kit to make sure your pool has the right pH level.
Concrete Garage Floor Maintenance
Concrete garage floors are a popular choice because not only are they tough, but can be stained to look like a million bucks. Another advantage to them is they are easy to main.
For an unsealed concrete floor, regularly sweep up dirt up then wash it with a regular at home cleaner. For a sealed concrete floor, you can remove issues like oil or grease by starting off with unconventional materials such as sawdust or cat littler. These types of materials absorb well. Just make sure to leave them on the stain for at least a full day.
After 24 hours, use a broom to collect the dust or kitty litter. You should then use cleaner and scrub the stain away.
Cleaning should be done whether your concrete floor is sealed or not. But if you can steal your concrete floor, it is a good idea to. A quality sealer can protect your concrete from everyday wear and tear allowing it to last longer.
Whether you have indoor or outdoor concrete, taking care of it should be an easy step in your homeowner routine.