Cleaning Concrete: How to Care for Your Decorative Surface

How to clean your indoor or outdoor decorative concrete to maintain its appearance.

cleaning concreteWhen you have a beautiful decorative concrete surface, caring for it properly will extend its beauty. This pool deck surface was installed by SUNDEK of Austin at a community pool deck in Lakeway, TX.

While preventative measures such as installing a high-quality sealer are key to making sure your decorative concrete surface looks fantastic for as long as possible, it’s also important to keep up with regular maintenance. Here, we cover how to care for your decorative concrete.

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Taking care of your decorative concrete surface

A high-quality decorative concrete coating should be easy to maintain, but it still needs some regular maintenance to prolong its appearance. Here are some steps you can take to keep your surface looking great:

  • Remove dust and debris on a regular basis.
  • Wipe up chemical and any liquid spills as soon as you can.
  • Have a high-quality sealer applied to your surface. Check its effectiveness and reseal when necessary. (Learn about the importance of sealers.)
  • Apply floor wax to repel stains (applies to indoor surfaces).
  • Add felt pads or sliding casters to parts of your furniture that touch the ground to prevent scratching (for indoor surfaces).
  • Give your surface a basic clean a few times a year. How often you need to do this depends on whether your surface is indoors or outdoors and how often it gets used.

How to clean your decorative concrete surface

To prevent dirt and grime from getting stuck to your surface, you’ll need to give your concrete a basic clean at least a few times a year. Here’s an outline of steps to take to keep your surface looking great:

  • Blow off or sweep off debris such as dust, dirt, leaves, etc, so it doesn’t sit on your surface for long periods of time.
  • Wash off the surface with clean water. For outdoor surfaces, use a garden hose with a high-pressure nozzle or, alternatively, a power washer. (Important note about using a power washer: be sure to use the right settings. If it’s too strong, you may etch the surface.) For indoor surfaces you can use a mop and warm water.
  • Address stains by scrubbing. Using the right tool is key so you don’t inadvertently scratch the concrete. You can typically use a striff-bristle brush for outdoor surfaces; and something non-abrasive such as a sponge or wash cloth for indoor surfaces. You may need to use a cleaning product for especially stubborn stains. See below for information about what cleaning products you can use.

Can I clean my decorative concrete myself?

Yes. As long as you use the right materials and the willingness to put in the time to do it right, you can clean your floors yourself.

What type of equipment will I need?

Here’s a list of tools you’ll need to give your surface a basic clean:

For outdoor surfaces:

  • Hose with high-pressure nozzle or power washer
  • Scrub brush
  • Concrete cleaner formulated for your surface

For indoor surfaces:

  • Mop and bucket
  • Non-abrasive sponge or mop
  • Concrete cleaner formulated for your surface

Which cleaning products are okay to use on decorative concrete?

Typically, you’ll only need to use cleaning products for stains that are hard to remove. Here’s what know before applying anything to your surface:

  • The cleaning product must formulated for the type of decorative concrete surface you have (for example, a cleaner for a knockdown surface won’t necessarily be the best product to address a stain on an interior floor).
  • Using the wrong product may results in etching or discoloring the surface.
  • Specific stains need specific cleaners. Citrus based cleaners, for example, are good to get at grease stains while diluted muriatic acid gets rid of rust. Our maintenance guide covers various stains in detail.
  • Our eco-friendly acid wash is good for stains that are hard to remove. Contact us for more info.

If you’re not sure which cleaner is right for your surface, always consult with a professional contractor who installs and maintains decorative concrete surface.

Removing stains from decorative concrete

While a high-quality sealer will deter staining, you may still have spots you need to address.

Power washing (for outdoor surfaces) or scrubbing diligently with a gentle cloth (for indoor surfaces) is the first thing you should try when addressing a stain. If that doesn’t remove the stain adequately, try a non-abrasive cleaning solution that’s formulated for your surface type. See the information above about cleaners for more information.

If you’re still not completely sure what to use, contact the contractor who installed your surface or a reputable contractor such as SUNDEK of Austin.

Our Maintenance Guide includes info about removing stains.

If cleaning your decorative concrete doesn’t work

Your surface may have reached a point when it doesn’t look good anymore, and no amount of cleaning will get it looking the way you want. Fortunately, there are other options:

  • Concrete resurfacing gives you a surface that looks brand new without having to tear everything out and start from scratch. With concrete resurfacing, a contractor applies a coating right onto your existing surface. They can customize it with colors and textures so it fits the style you’re going for.
  • Concrete staining enables you to bring color to an existing concrete surface. With the different types of staining available, there are many colors to choose from, making just about any style possible.

Find a decorative concrete contractor in the Austin area

We work in all the major cities in the area including Austin, Bastrop, Cedar Park, Dripping Springs, Georgetown, Lakeway, Marble Falls, Pflugerville, Round Rock, San Marcos, Spicewood, and the surrounding areas.

Call us: (512) 928-8000
Email us: [email protected]
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