Concrete is low-maintenance and extremely durable which is why it is such a popular choice for exterior spaces such as garage floors, patios and driveways. However, concrete is not completely maintenance-free, and there are steps that you can take to keep your exterior concrete in pristine condition and extend its lifespan for as long as possible.
While concrete is a great material for exterior use, its main drawback is that it is porous. This means that it will absorb stains and spills and can harbor dirt and mildew, so proper maintenance is important. At RGS Contracting, we are always trying to help our clients make the most of their concrete in Eugene, Oregon.
As with most things, the best way to care of concrete floors whether inside or outside the home is to clean them regularly. Getting in the habit of sweeping, vacuuming or mopping concrete floors at regular intervals is the first and best step to maintaining them. Due to concrete’s porous nature, spills pose a threat and should be cleaned up immediately before they have the chance to be absorbed into the concrete.
You should give concrete floors a thorough cleaning a few times each year. A pressure washer is a great tool for the job. If you don’t own one, you should be able to find one to rent for a day or afternoon. To start, sweep or vacuum the surface to remove any dust or dirt laying on top. Next, spray a biodegradable detergent over the surface and use a stiff bristled brush to scrub it into stained areas (Note: never use a brush with metallic bristles as these can become stuck in the concrete and then rust over time). Next, use the power washer to rinse off the detergent.
If you are pressure washing a garage floor, it is recommended that you start on the side closest to your home and work outwards from there, so water does not pool near your home.
If you find that some stains still remain, you can try using more powerful cleaners such as trisodium phosphate (TSP). You can purchase TSP at most home improvement stores. Mix it with water and scrub the stain vigorously with a hard-bristle brush until it is removed and then spray the spot with a hose or pressure washer. If that still doesn’t do the trick, you can find other suggestions here.
Other Maintenance Tips
Make sure to reseal your concrete floors about every two years. RGS Contracting would be happy to give you recommendations for which type of sealer will work best for your concrete based on the traffic and use that the space receives.
Although winters in Eugene, Oregon aren’t nearly as rough as they are in other parts of the country, you should avoid using deicing chemicals during the rare occasion of snow or freezing rain as these will eat away at your concrete in addition to the ice and snow. Recently poured concrete driveways are particularly vulnerable to the cold winter months. If at all possible, you should try to avoid regularly parking vehicles on a new driveway during its first winter.
If you have any concrete maintenance related questions or would like to inquire about replacing old concrete, don’t hesitate to contact RGS Contracting.