Polished concrete floors provide an attractive feature to homes and businesses alike. If properly looked after, they can last up to ten years or more before needing repairs. But maintaining their trademark glossy look is not as easy a task as you may assume. A concrete finish might sound like a durable flooring option, but keep in mind it still requires consistent maintenance to stay in top condition.

Neglect or carelessness can not only void the warranty on new polished concrete floors, but can cause unsightly damage. Luckily taking care of your concrete floors doesn’t have to be a tedious task. While it does take some effort and planning, if done properly the maintenance process doesn’t take a lot of time and ensures your floors serve you well for a long time.

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What are the three most important ways to care for polished concrete floors?

1. Establish a regular maintenance schedule.

The cleaning schedule that you establish for your polished concrete floor should be in line with the amount of traffic it receives. If the area has round the clock foot traffic, you may want to set up an evening and morning cleaning schedule.

Regularly cleaning your polished concrete floors is essential because it doesn’t take long for minute particles of dust, sand and other debris to take their toll on the finish. It may seem as though the floors are relatively clean after a few days, but it doesn’t take long for small sand and dirt particles to create what’s known as the sandpaper effect which slowly ruins the finish and causes the concrete to lose its trademark smooth appearance.

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2. Use the right tools and products to protect the finish.

Cleaning regularly is important, but no amount of cleaning effort will be enough if you’re not using the right tools and equipment.

Polished concrete floors are durable in some ways, but more vulnerable in others. There are two methods of cleaning this type of flooring. Manual cleaning (preferred) or the use of automatic cleaning equipment. Either way precautions need to be taken so the finish is protected from damage.

Manual cleaning

Floors should first be swept to remove dust and other debris. The dust mop should be made of soft microfiber because this will help to protect the polished finish better than some of the harsher materials that can scratch or dull polished concrete floors. Spills should be cleaned up immediately to help limit the amount of seepage into the porous surface.

If cleaners are required, choose a pH neutral formulation that suspends the particles of soil for easier removal. Allow the cleaner to sit long enough to loosen the dirt and other substances, then remove it from the floor before it dries. When cleaners dry on the surfaces of polished floors, they tend to create a dull haze and can cause discolouration. Work with smaller areas to prevent this from happening. If you use a wet mop, always make sure that the mop and water are clean so you aren’t spreading damaging particles as you go.

Cleaning with automatic equipment

Automatic floor scrubbers may be used, but they should be equipped with pads that are soft and non-abrasive. Pads that are too hard can cause etching and scratching, damaging the finish of the polished concrete.

Make sure that wheels on the equipment are made of rubber or other materials that help prevent scratches. Standard cleaning pads vary in colour and texture, here are the most common options:

  • White pads have a soft texture and work well for protecting high gloss floors.
  • Soft beige pads can also be enough to prevent dulling of polished floors.
  • Other options are not really a good fit, because they usually pose the risk of causing etching and scratches on the floor’s surface.

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3. Avoid using damaging substances.

You should never apply wax to a polished concrete floor. There are more than a few reasons why it’s a bad idea, but some people still do it, causing irreversible damage to their floors.

First off, if you apply wax you will void the warranty, which is obviously very bad, considering the likelihood that you’ll need it sooner or later. Additionally, the wax will build up over time and need to be removed, which will most likely result in a dulled finish for the entire floor.

Another important thing to remember is to avoid placing tape on the floor because the adhesive may cause damage when removed. Degreasers should also be avoided because they are abrasive and can also lead to dulling and discolouration of the finish. Any cleaners that contain acids can cause etching and loss of gloss in the finish. Make sure you read the labels of cleaners you intend to use on the floor to ensure they are of a neutral pH balance.

Polished concrete flooring should avoid contact with water for the first three days after the initial installation so the sealers will have time to properly cure. This allows for the best possible protection from the beginning.

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Polished concrete floors not only look wonderful but are among the easiest type of flooring to look after. They do not require waxing or sealing and with proper care can maintain their glossy appearance for several years.

We hope this advice will help you to avoid the need for re-polishing or costly repairs of your polished concrete floors. Polished concrete floors can be a significant investment, so you want to make sure they stay in top condition for as long as possible by maintaining them properly.

For more advice on floor maintenance and building materials take a look at our guide to choosing the right flooring and these pros and cons of different building materials.


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28 COMMENTS

  1. My wife and I have been looking at different ideas for our house that is being built right now. We loved these pictures of the polished concrete floors. I can attest that it is very important to establish a regular maintenance schedule, which is exactly what we have where I work. As our house gets close to being finished, hopefully it will be within our budget to put in a polished floor, so thanks for sharing!

  2. Using the right tools to protect the finish of my concrete floor is a really good tip. That’s something that I need to learn more about to maintain my own flooring. Making sure that I sweep and use a pH neutral cleaning formula seems like really good advice for manually cleaning my floor. Thanks for the tips!
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  3. These are some great advice! I really like the information about using white and beige pads. I am really interested to know if those pads will be enough clean up the scuff marks that my son just put on our new concrete floor. What should we avoid doing when removing the scuff marks? He decided to skate in there and there are a ton and they seem permanent. http://www.pyramidconcrete.net

  4. I never realized that you could use concrete as your floor. Using the right tools and products, of course, will help protect the floor and make it last longer. I will look into the price of having a concrete floor. Thanks for the tips!

  5. I have polished concrete floors in my house, but I have been trying to figure out what type of tools to use to maintain them, so thank you for all of the insight about this! Specifically, you talk about how manual cleaning is actually preferred, which is helpful. I can see how this can ensure that the floors get cleaned thoroughly and correctly every time. I’ll definitely be sure to keep this in mind and make sure that it gets done this way. Thanks again for sharing! http://www.sruconcreteconstructions.com.au/contact

  6. This post has given some great info for maintaining polished concrete floors. I’ll need to establish a regular maintenance schedule like you wrote. I’m sure it will be helpful to me that you listed the different ways of cleaning as well. I may need concrete repairs for some parts of the floor but this advice should be helpful for the cleaning.
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  7. I want the concrete floor that I’m going to have installed to be in good condition, so it helps to know about the substances that I should avoid using. You said that I should avoid applying wax to a polished concrete floor, so now I won’t use that. I thought that wax would be able to make my floor look more polished, so now I won’t use it to prevent my concrete from being damaged.
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  8. My aunt has polished concrete floors, and she insist on waxing the floor. I feel like it make the floor slippery and dangerous. I had no idea it voided the warranty, and could cause damage to the floor. I wonder if my aunt know this or not. I am going to send her over this information. Maybe it’s not to late, and she can keep from damaging the floor if she stops now.

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  9. Great tip on what damaging substances to avoid! My brother has polished concrete floors and I know I’ve seen him use some pretty harsh chemicals on them. I’ll have to forward this to him so he can see what he’s not supposed to use so his floors don’t get damaged! Thanks for the info!

  10. I would love to have polished concrete floors in my kitchen area. It is a perfect way to add an industrial look to the home. I really like your tip to not use damaging substances when cleaning it. I didn’t realize that there was a right and wrong way to take care of this type of flooring. Do you ever need to get them professionally cleaned?

  11. Hi April, thanks for the comment. You shouldn’t need to have polished concrete floors professionally cleaned so long as you keep up a regular cleaning maintenance plan yourself. Hope that helps!

  12. Nice tips! First, you will start by polishing the floor using a coarse grit abrasive disc. This will help remove any surface stains or rough areas on the floor. When polishing the floors, it is important to make sure you are using proper technique, which will be used for all steps involving a concrete polisher.

  13. I like how you say that you need to consider the technique with which a concrete contractor installs a new floor. It would be good to find someone who offers the type of flooring you like. My sister needs a concrete floor, so she’ll have to find the style she likes first.

  14. Good advice. This is a very interesting and informative blog. I read your article it’s very nice and very interesting one. Amazing tips! I think most of the people did not know about how to clean laminate floor. Thanks for sharing such nice tips! I really love this blog and the content is really useful.
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  15. Thanks for sharing this 3 very important steps especially for those who are newbies for polished concrete floors. I always want to buy automatic equipment as I am really busy cleaning it manually.

  16. Polished concrete is such a versatile floor covering. Who says concrete can’t be cosy?! With a fluffy rug any floor covering can be welcoming and warm.

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