By Paul De Vizard Submitted On August 03, 2010
Concrete is strong and durable, and has been a popular choice for builders for centuries. It does, however, require a little care and attention to keep it looking its best. Regardless of whether it is strictly functional or highly decorative, there are ways to make maintenance easier.
Decorative concrete is often topped with a sealer. Occasionally, this sealer needs to be removed and reapplied. The most popular method is to use chemicals to strip the sealer. You need to tailor the stripper to the kind of sealer that was applied. Acrylic sealers are thinner and removal is easier than epoxy or polyurethane sealers. Your local hardware store can advise you on the specific brands for the sealer you need to remove. You can also use mechanical methods, such as grinding and shot blasting, to strip sealers.
Many do-it-yourselfers (and even some professionals) are horrified to find that new concrete is showing a discoloration. If it is not too severe, you can
- use hot water and a stiff brush to
- scrub it a few times. If this fails to achieve results, you can
- use a mild (between 1 and 3%) muriatic acid solution. Don’t overdo it, since the acid can remove the pavement. Working in small sections,
- soak the area with water and let it dry. Then
- clean with the acid,
- rinse it thoroughly no more than fifteen minutes after application, and
- repeat if necessary.
Stains and odors caused by pet urine often respond well to one of the oxidation or enzymatic cleansers. These are designed to break down starches, proteins, and hydrocarbons. You do not need to apply water to use them. Simply apply and let them work for the time recommended by the manufacturer of your specific brand, which varies from several days to a couple of weeks. It may require more than one application to remove the stain.
- Degreasers are often used for removing grease and oil stains on driveways and garage floors. These are high alkaline cleansers that help break down oily stains. Most are sold in concentrated form, which can be
- used full strength for set in stains or
- diluted for new ones.
- scrub, and then
- wait several hours.
- Use a shop vacuum or rags to pull the stain out,
- rinse well, and
- repeat if necessary.
To remove stains caused by hard water or salt, acid bases cleansers are often used. Different brands are available that contain varying acid levels. Each type will have specific instructions for use, such as whether or not scrubbing is required. You may need to apply a neutralizer after using certain types. Always wear protective clothing and eyewear when using acid based cleansers.
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