Question:

We are always fighting the same fight at the end of every concrete floor project. Dirt, mud stains, rubber tire marks and sometimes rust stains sticking to our once clean concrete floor. Our crew pours the concrete and gives it a smooth and clean finish, as soon as we leave the other workers dirty the floor so bad, we have to clean the floor at our expense before receiving our final check. What can we put on the floor to minimize this problem?

Answer:

The first thing to do is develop an "understanding" with the general contractor's onsite supervision. This understanding should give knowledge or meaning to your reoccurring situation. You want to promote a sense of caring, if even in a small way, for the cleanliness of the new concrete floor. I know that sounds futile, but you have to communicate your concern to the leadership on site. Once you have done that, I suggest examining the contract and if the specification language calls out a cure and seal product, use it.

The choice of the product may come from a suggested or approved list in the specifications language, or it may be a performance specification. The product you want should produce a "skin" or membrane on top of the concrete. Your plan is to lock out as much dirt and stains as possible, without going overboard. Many of these membrane cures are rated in moisture retention ability, and that is good, you want moisture retention and you want film thickness, too. Luck would have it, these two properties usually coincide.

Look for a cure or a cure sealer meeting the new ASTM C 1315, this requires 25% solids as a minimum and a moisture retention ability greater than low solids formulas from the past.

The idea is to bond a tough membrane to the surface of your clean, smooth concrete and minimize the mess you have to deal with from the other trades at the end of your contract. I suggest using our Dress & Seal WB 30, or Lumiseal Plus WB, and always check to see if the specifications' language permits these membrane-producing products.