Concrete is known for its strength and durability but less for its weaknesses. Concrete dusting is a common problem – it happens when the surface becomes carbonated and breaks down, releasing fine concrete dust.
Dusting is a health hazard, poses a problem for cleanliness, and a red flag that immediate maintenance is required.
Does concrete dusting affect all concrete floors?
Yes, the surface of all concrete floors will become carbonated over time. This degradation will progress deeper into the concrete if not remediated.
Carbon dioxide in the air penetrates the surface of concrete and reacts with calcium hydroxide and other calcium containing elements forming calcium carbonate. This process causes the concrete surface to become weak, break down and begin dusting.
The carbonation rate depends on factors like density, curing time, the quantity of Portland cement, etc.
How can concrete floor dusting be stopped?
First, the damaged surface must be removed by grinding. When the concrete surface becomes carbonated, it accelerates the degradation of the concrete. The longer the problem remains unfixed, the more severe the damage, resulting in a higher cost to remediate the concrete.
Second, the concrete must be treated with an appropriate chemical to remediate the problem. This treatment will also strengthen the concrete and prevent future dusting. Each floor needs to be evaluated individually to determine the best chemical process.
Third, the concrete surface should be polished to create a barrier to protect the concrete and reduce maintenance requirements. Concrete polishing is an important step in achieving a trouble-free and long-lasting floor.
Can new concrete floors be protected from carbonation?
Yes, the best results are obtained when concrete floors are protected on Day 1 before the floor is damaged.
A high-quality concrete polishing system provides excellent concrete floor protection against dusting. It also improves the floor’s durability and reduces maintenance requirements.
Maintenance Best Practices for Concrete Floors
Automatic floor scrubbers are the best way to clean concrete floors. It is important to use a good quality concrete cleaner designed for polished concrete floors.
Use soft brushes or white pads to prevent harsh abrasion of the concrete surface. Sand and grit should not be allowed to stay on the floor for any substantial time as it will act as an abrasive grinding of the surface.
Liquid spills need to be vacuumed or wiped away expeditiously. The frequency of floor cleaning should be determined by the requirements of the facility.
Maintaining a clean concrete floor will extend the life of the floor and provide a safe work environment.
What is the cost to remediate a concrete floor?
The cost to remediate a dusting concrete floor will depend on the size of the floor (sq. ft), the condition of the concrete, and the accessibility of the facility.
Avoid jack-of-all-trades type companies. They lack the expertise to complete the work properly. An estimate to fix a dusting concrete floor would be $3-$5 per square foot.
Stain guards or products of any kind that need to be burnished onto the concrete surface should be avoided. They are low quality finishes that hide improper polishing work.