The trends in cement floors is shifting into more up-beat and modern floor coverings. These new designs are getting attention of building owners and designers, but those responsible for maintaining for the floors question their care. Cleaning professionals question whether the cement should be sealed.
"To properly protect and maintain a cement floor, a sealant is usually necessary," says Mike Englund, a professional cleaning trainer and product manager for Powr-Flite. "The real issue is which sealant to use."
According to Englund, there are four key types of cement sealants, each with different benefits and features, that cleaning professionals can use. They are:
• Penetrating sealers: These react chemically with the concrete to shield against moisture and adverse climate conditions. They can provide excellent protection and are best used on exterior concrete surfaces or where a natural, non-glossy finish is desired. 

• Acrylics: These form a thin protective film over the concrete surface, are economical and can be used on both indoor and exterior concrete. Often they are used to enhance the look of colors and designs stamped into the concrete.

• Polyurethanes: Similar to acrylics, polyurethanes can be used for both indoor and exterior concrete but are a wise choice in heavy foot traffic areas or where scuffing is a problem.

•  Epoxies: These sealants form an even greater protective film than polyurethanes and are designed for very heavy traffic locations. While they produce a very hard, long-wearing, and abrasion-resistant finish, they may yellow over time so are best used for interior installations.

"Before using any sealant, cleaning professionals should first determine what kind of 'look' they want for the floor, then double check with the manufacturer what they advise," says Englund. "The distributor will likely know which sealant is most compatible with the cement floor installed."