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Five Common Misconceptions about Concrete Floor Maintenance

Five Common Misconceptions about Concrete Floor Maintenance
Following its debut at the World of Concrete show, IICRC debunks commonly held falsehoods about cleaning concrete floors

Earlier this month, IICRC made its first appearance at the World of Concrete show in Las Vegas, and the experience was an all-out success. Because concrete affects many of our inter-related industries, the show provided great networking opportunities with those in the maintenance, drying, inspection, indoor air quality, standards certification and academia fields.

In fact, IICRC Hard Surface Division Vice Chair, Claudia Lezell, was asked to present at the Strategic Development Council Technology Forum #37 regarding the important role the Institute plays in concrete standards and maintenance.

Recognizing IICRC’s activity in this area, we’ve teamed up with concrete floor maintenance expert Jim Cuviello, founding member of the Concrete Polishing Association of America and owner of Cuviello Concrete and Terrazzo Polishing, to dispel five commonly held misconceptions about concrete floor maintenance:

•    Misconception 1: You don’t need chemicals to maintain concrete floors. No hard flooring surface cleans itself, including concrete. Chemicals are used to breakdown, remove and clean dirt and debris. Concrete is exposed to the same dirt and debris as any other flooring, so it should be maintained in a similar manner.

•    Misconception 2: All concrete walking surfaces are created equal. Concrete is either coated or polished. Maintenance of coated concrete will come down to the maintenance of the coating. For example, epoxies, urethanes and acrylics will have their own criteria associated with them.  Polished concrete is maintained with abrasives. While much of the daily maintenance will be similar to other hard floor surfaces, you need to consider the coating before developing a comprehensive maintenance program.

•    Misconception 3: Cleaning staff know how to clean concrete floors. Depending on who handles cleaning and maintenance responsibilities, there’s a good chance that someone with little to no experience is cleaning concrete floors, including professional cleaning staff. Before you let anyone clean your floors, make sure they have the knowledge and expertise for the job.

•    Misconception 4: Concrete floors will last just as long without any cleaning or maintenance. If the concrete is coated, the longevity of the floor is dependent on the quality of the coating and how it is maintained. If the concrete is mechanically polished, the longevity is dependent on the methods and how well those methods were executed during the process of polishing. A properly polished concrete floor with bonded abrasives will have reduced maintenance and longer time period in between restorative procedures than traditional flooring surfaces.

•    Misconception 5: Soil loads and the type of soil do not impact how a concrete floor is cleaned. A concrete floor is no different than any other hard floor surface. The amount of soil and the type of soil will dictate the frequency of and the type of cleaning procedures.

“The maintenance of architectural concrete floors is no different than any other hard floor surface,” said Cuviello. “The foundation of any hard floor maintenance is the same. There are only slight variations in products used from one material to another.”

*PHOTO: Paul Pleshek, IICRC Hard Surface Inspection Division Vice Chair; Claudio Manissero, Strategic Development Council Board Member; and Claudia Lezell, IICRC Hard Surface Division Vice Chair at the 2015 World of Concrete show.

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