Cleaning Concrete: How to Maintain & Protect Decorative Surfaces

Take these steps to ensure that your decorative concrete surface retains its beauty and longevity.

The best way to preserve your decorative concrete is to use a high-quality sealer and keep up with regular maintenance. Below, we provide insights into cleaning and maintaining your decorative concrete surface so it looks beautiful for years to come.

With proper care, a decorative concrete surface like this SUNDEK of Pennsylvania pool deck will stay looking beautiful for years.
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How to care for your decorative concrete surface

Nothing is maintenance-free—even high-quality coatings that are known for holding up well need regular maintenance. Keeping a cleaning schedule for your surface will help maintain its beauty and durability.

  • Remove dust and debris. Frequently remove loose dirt and debris from the surface using a broom or a leaf blower. This simple step prevents buildup and maintains cleanliness.
  • Promptly address liquid and/or chemical spills. To prevent stains and/or damage, wipe away spills as soon as possible with a clean cloth or mop. Use a cleaner if necessary. (See our maintenance guide which includes information about what cleaner to use for various stains.)
  • Reapply sealer as needed. Regularly check for signs of wear or damage to your sealer and reapply when necessary. Learn more about sealer.
  • Use felt pads or sliding casters on indoor floors. To prevent scratches, attach felt pads or sliding casters to the furniture legs.
  • Perform a basic cleaning. Clean your surface a few times a year and as needed. How often you need to clean your surface depends on how it gets used and where it’s located. For example, a patio that gets used weekly needs to be cleaned more often than a laundry room floor in a guest home.

Can I clean my decorative concrete myself?

Yes! With the right tools and information, you can definitely clean your concrete patio, driveway, floor or other surface yourself. Here are the essential tools you’ll need.

  • For outdoor surfaces, you’ll need a hose or pressure washer and a scrub brush.
  • For indoor surfaces, you’ll need a mop and bucket and a non-abrasive sponge or cloth.

How to do a basic cleaning for a decorative concrete surface

Here are the general steps to clean your concrete so stays looking great for as long as possible. Details vary depending on whether you’re cleaning an indoor or outdoor surface.

Steps for cleaning outdoor concrete surfaces:

  • Sweep or blow off dust, dirt, leaves, debris, etc.
  • Rinse with clean water, using a garden hose with a high-pressure nozzle or a power washer.
  • Scrub the areas that still look dirty with a stiff-bristle brush.

Steps for cleaning an indoor concrete floor:

  • Sweep or vacuum to remove dirt and dust.
  • Mop the surface using warm water.
  • For grimy areas, scrub with a non-abrasive cloth and a concrete cleaner formulated for the surface.

What to do about stubborn stains

Unfortunately, even with diligent care and regular cleaning, you’ll still experience spots on your surface that are hard to remove.

To address those stubborn stained areas, first try power washing. Be sure to use the appropriate setting, because if the pressure is too high you might etch or scratch the surface. If that doesn’t work, try a non-abrasive cleaning solution formulated for your surface.

What cleaning products or solutions can I use?

Before using any product on your surface, make sure it’s specifically formulated for decorative concrete. Using the wrong product may cause etching or discoloration, so be careful. If you’re unsure about what to use, it’s best to consult a reputable contractor. Testing it out in an inconspicuous area is also a good idea.

Different types of stains require different cleaning products. For instance, citrus-based cleaners work well on grease stains, diluted muriatic acid is a good choice to remove rust stains, and trisodium phosphate (TSP) is suitable for mildew and algae. See our maintenance guide for more information.

When cleaning isn’t enough

If your decorative concrete surface has reached a point where cleaning alone doesn’t restore its appearance, there are other options available:

  • Concrete Resurfacing: With this option, a contractor can prep your existing surface then apply a coating right on top of it, essentially making it look brand new.
  • Concrete Staining: If your surface looks dull, adding color can give it the refresh it needs to look great again.

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At Sundek of PA, we've been installing durable, beautiful concrete coatings for clients in Philadelphia, Doylestown, West Chester, Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, and the surrounding areas for more than two decades.

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