All types of flooring require some form of maintenance, even the concrete for your garage floor.
In comparison to hardwood and carpeted floors, concrete is relatively easy to care of, but it does demand regular attention. One crucial factor that determines floor maintenance needs is the amount of traffic it gets.
The garage floor endures a lot of abuse, wearing and tearing, from heavy vehicles to foot traffic. For this reason, most garages (if not all) have a concrete floor thanks to its durability. This doesn’t mean there will be zero maintenance.
Concrete floors will require,
- filling (cracks)
This type of protection will make your garage floors more durable and resistant to staining, abrasion and chemicals. In fact they will look good as new, all the time!
Here are several suggestions for the best way to maintain your concrete floor and keep it in top condition.
Cleaning and Prepping the Garage Floor
Before thinking about starting maintenance on the concrete surface, it’s essential to thoroughly prepare the floor.
Begin with clearing out all your belongings and sweeping the floors. If you are going to apply any type of sealant or coating you will need a clean surface to ensure a firm bond between the floor and the product.
So the methods of cleaning the concrete will be different depending on the TYPE of floor sealing you’re planning and how dirty the floor actually is.
The easiest and least expensive cleaning method is using a:
- Deck brush,
- High-pressure hose
Give it a good scrub and rinse it off with the hose.
Most concrete is quite porous, and grime and dirt get deeply embedded over time, especially if the floor hadn’t been regularly cleaned. This is where the pressure washer comes in. They are time-saving and usually have the option of adding a degreaser to the water to achieve better cleaning results.
As the final step, you can opt for an etchant, a strong acid used particularly for hard cleaning. It’s easily available in a local retail or hardware stores. Be sure to wear protective clothing, footwear and a mask when using it, as well as ensure proper garage ventilation.
After pouring it, the etchant will start to bubble, and by scrubbing it off with a stiff brush you’ll be able to remove oil and grease stains. Rinse it afterwards and let it dry for 24 hours.
Choosing the Best Concrete Floor Sealer
Once your concrete floors are immaculately clean, you need to choose long-lasting concrete sealers to ensure their durability and resistance. Your first step is to get familiar with the existing types in order to choose the best one for your project.
Floor sealants are divided into two groups: topical and penetrating.
Topical sealers give the surface a protective layer, and in most cases, they will be enough for light to moderate the traffic garage area. The cheapest kind, the acrylic sealer, will require two coats; it will give you a wet, glossy look and will need to be reapplied every 18 to 24 months to achieve the best end results.
Penetrating sealers, the epoxy sealer is more expensive, but also more durable and resistant to abrasion and vehicle fluid damage. However, it needs an additional slip-resistant coating as it is very slick when applied.
Polyurethane topical sealers are the least common, more expensive than the epoxy ones and need a primer before application, but they offer higher durability and a longer lifespan.
Penetrating sealers are specific as they bond with free lime in the concrete and form a protective calcium silicate layer that prevents any kind of liquid from passing through, and only one coat will suffice.
Applying and Maintaining the Sealer
Applying the floor sealant of your choice is basically like a painting.
TIP 1 You should start from the farthest corner of your garage and work your way out towards the entrance.
TIP 2 Apply a thick coat and let it dry even longer than recommended. In this way, you’ll enable a firm bond to form between the floor and the sealer, which will prevent any future stripping when you come in with hot tyres after a long drive.
TIP 3 In order to maintain your sealant, regularly clean up any gasoline, oil or grease spills as soon as they happen. If necessary, reapply the sealant to problem areas, even if it means resealing the whole floor over again.
In ideal conditions, a garage floor sealant should deliver durability and enhanced looks. If applied correctly and maintained consistently, high-quality sealers can significantly increase the lifespan of your concrete garage floor.