Part three of this three-part article focuses on how distributors can help train janitors to maintain polished concrete.

Polished concrete is popular in new builds and it’s becoming more of an option for renovations as well. It’s important for end users to make sure to properly finish the concrete floors they expose when they pull up old VCT or carpeting. Not only is the look of polished concrete fashionable these days, but the maintenance cost-savings are worth giving this flooring consideration.

Still, thinking ahead can eliminate some of the worst issues of cleaning polished concrete. Tracked-in dirt and sand will scratch floors. However, installing at least 15 feet of walk-off matting will help prevent a majority of debris and moisture from entering a building. In colder climates distributors should educate their customers about the benefits of matting to catch ice melt and snow before it comes in contact with the glossy flooring, says Narpaul.

Depending on the facility, there may be other things to consider. For instance, grocery stores and warehouse stores might run into issues if certain types of substances are spilled on their finished concrete floors. Anything acidic such as pickle juice, vinegars, some fruit juices, etc., may actually eat away at the concrete. Building service contractors and facility managers need to be trained not only to create a plan for dealing with such spills right away, but also for cleaning them up properly.

“Spills happen,” says Fuhrer. “It is always best practice to clean up any and all spills immediately. Stains can be both acidic and oil-based and can do equal amounts of aesthetic damage if not properly cleaned and removed from the surface as soon as possible.”

Polished concrete is not the best choice for machine shops or anywhere else where oils and greases will be used, simply because the types of cleaners used to degrease the floors would also begin to eat away at the characteristic shine of polished concrete. Ideally, polished concrete floors would not be used in areas with heavy forklift traffic, either.

Although polished concrete may be a better choice maintenance-wise for medical facilities, it may not provide the right image. Psychologically, it won’t give patients and families the same feeling that white VCT would, says Narpaul.

“People expect to look down and see the bright, clean VCT flooring,” says Narpaul. “It just looks clean to them.”

Polished concrete is becoming common. To avoid future problems with this flooring type, distributors need to send the right message. Inform customers that there will be maintenance involved, but probably not as much as they are used to.

Caryn Gracey Jones is a freelance writer based in Aurora, Colorado.

previous page of this article:
Polished Concrete: Low-maintenance Floors, Not No-maintenance