Concrete cleaning is essential because your concrete sidewalks are a significant feature of your domestic or commercial property. They can have a noticeable effect on your buildings aesthetic if they start to become dirty, stained or discoloured.
As durable as concrete is, it requires maintenance to look its best and stay in good condition for the property’s life.
In this article, we will address:
The main offenders that are making your sidewalks discolour
Ways you can protect your concrete
The best methods for cleaning concrete sidewalks, and
Why hiring a professional concrete cleaning service like the one here at Enviro Clean and Capture may be the best option.
If you feel your concrete sidewalks have seen better days and you want to know the best way to maintain them, read on to learn more.
Dirty concrete, the usual suspects
There are many things besides general dirt and grime that can cause concrete sidewalks to discolour. Concrete sideways are often under the full brunt of the elements, which leaves them open to a wide range of organic and environmental contaminants.
Even fine grade concrete is still porous, meaning moisture and pollutants can permeate the surface of your concrete sidewalks, allowing dirt to get trapped and providing the ideal environment for living organic matter to flourish.
This is why many property owners choose to get their concrete professionally sealed to protect the concrete from these contaminants and reduce or prevent them from entering the pores in their concrete pathways.
Some of the main offenders that can discolour your concrete sidewalks and outdoor surfaces include:
General dirt and grime
Fallen organic debris
Food and beverages
Mould and fungus
Green and black algae
Lichen and more
What can often appear to be just dirty concrete is often a combination of several of these elements. Depending on the main offender and the severity of the discolouration, you may need to approach your solution from different angles to achieve the desired results.
Unsealed concrete is the most at risk from these pollutants and contaminants. Keep reading to learn what concrete sealant is, the benefits of professionally cleaning and sealing your paths and concrete flooring, and some tips on cleaning your concrete sidewalks.
Concrete sealing and its benefits
When discussing the best ways to clean concrete sidewalks, it would be negligent to not briefly mention the best way to prevent pollutants and contaminants from building up in your concrete floors in the first place.
Most concrete construction professionals give property owners and developers the option of sealing their concrete when it was initially poured. Concrete sealer does have a lifespan, however.
Depending on the type of sealant used and the manufacturer recommendations, you may need to have your concrete surfaces deep cleaned and resealed from anywhere between 1-5 years.
As the name suggests, a sealant seals the concrete’s pores, reducing or preventing water from taking pollutants and contaminants past the concrete’s surface. This can negate a lot of the causes for discolouration on your concrete surfaces.
The two main subcategories of concrete sealant include surface sealants or penetrative sealants. A general sealant creates a coating on the concrete’s surface while penetrating sealants penetrate past the concrete’s surface, providing deeper protection.
Common sealant types include, but are not limited to:
Butyl and more
These different types of sealant may be used in certain circumstances or environments and vary in consistency, durability, finish and cost.
An effective and consistent sealing and resealing regime provides many benefits, including
Less wear and tear
Less chance of flaking
Less chance of pitting
Protection from calcium leaching
Reduce the effects of salt damp
Protection from bacterial and fungal erosion
UV protection and more
As well as protecting the concrete from contaminants and pollutants, it also makes it much easier to clean by keeping all the dirt and grime on the surface. Many sealants can also double as an anti-slip coating making your property safer, especially in the wet and on sloped surfaces.
Picking the correct type of concrete sealant for your sidewalks can be daunting to the inexperienced. Choosing the wrong sealant or not applying it consistently and adequately can have devastating effects on your concrete’s aesthetic.
If you would like more information about the benefits of concrete sealing or to inquire about having your sidewalks assessed and sealed, contact the friendly experts here at Enviro-Clean and Capture today.
Cleaning concrete sidewalks
Dirty concrete not only detracts from your properties aesthetic; it can also be a slip hazard if left unaddressed due to slippery moulds and fungus or moss build-ups. If you leave your concrete to degrade, you may also increase the risk of concrete slabs cracking and lifting, creating significant trip hazards.
There are several ways you approach your concrete cleaning; some require some serious elbow grease, while others will need no direct effort from you at all.
Manual concrete cleaning
If your concrete sidewalks are only starting to look dirty or showing early signs of discolouration, then the best way to clean them is by grabbing some mild, soapy water and a stiff-bristled brush. We must reiterate mild soapy water; do not use harsh chemicals and floor cleaners; they may do more harm than good.
The best part about cleaning your concrete surfaces by hand is the only high cost involves a broom, a bucket and some heavy elbow grease.
The steps are as follows:
Remove all pot plants, outdoor furniture and personal effects from the area that requires cleaning.
Spray down the area you are cleaning with water from your hose.
In a bucket, make a mixture of mild soapy cleaning solution using water and some dishwashing detergent; don’t go overboard with the soap.
Throw the bucket contents over the area to be cleaned and soak for a few minutes to dissolve the dirt, grime, oils, pollutants, and contaminants.
Take your stiff-bristled brush or broom and scrub the surface thoroughly.
Rinse the surface off with the hose, and repeat the process until the desired results are achieved.
If you find you have stubborn stains from mould or gunk, you may need to try a mild bleach solution adding approximately half a cup of bleach to three and a half litres of water. If you have coloured concrete, you may want to try a test patch on a non-conspicuous part of your sidewalk to ensure it won’t permanently discolour the surface.
You may need to apply a more concentrated mix of dishwashing detergent or use a commercial degreaser for stubborn oil and grease stains. Again, you may want to test an unseen section of concrete to ensure there is no discolouration from the degreaser’s harsh chemicals.
If you want to avoid using any soaps or chemicals, are concerned about the runoff into your gardens, or are worried about the environmental impact, there are some natural solutions.
Creating a vinegar and water solution with a few pinches of salt can do wonders on concrete and present little risk to your nature strips and garden beds when washed down. For really tough stains, you can also replace the salt with soda bicarbonate. The mild abrasive can help remove stubborn matter and lift the stains out of your concrete’s pores.
Always remember to rinse off these surfaces thoroughly after you scrub them clean, as residual cleaning agents and salts can leave blotches and marks if allowed to dry onto the concrete surface.
If using detergent or chemical solutions, it may also be worth making an effort to avoid spraying off the solution near your house or retaining walls as not to get bleach or other chemical solutions discolouring your property or landscape.
Garden beds also need to be avoided, as bleach and other chemicals can be detrimental to your lawn and garden flora.
If you don’t feel confident tackling your discoloured concrete sidewalks or don’t want to risk discolouration from DIY solutions, call a concrete cleaning expert like the team here at Enviro-Clean and Capture to discuss your options for professional cleaning.
Add a little pressure
To give your concrete sidewalks and paths an effective deep clean, you cannot go past a good pressure cleaner. Pressure washers can be hired or bought for a reasonable price from most hardware stores or online.
The only downside to pressure cleaners is that they can work too well. Depending on the consistency of your concrete surface, a high-pressure cleaner has the potential to cut into the concrete and start to break the surface up. This can remove sealant and colour or force water deep into the concrete’s pores, leaving moisture for moulds, bacteria, and mildew to thrive.
Ensure you understand how powerful your pressure cleaner is and research optimal cleaning concrete settings; full-power is rarely the correct answer.
Pressure cleaners are very powerful and can be dangerous. Make sure you wear protective equipment like boots, gloves and eye protection. Some older pressure cleaners can also be very loud, so consider using ear protection.
It may take some getting used to at first, but eventually, you will get the hang of applying long slow strokes with the pressure cleaning head. You will see the dirt and grime get blasted away before your very eyes, leaving your concrete looking as close to brand new as possible.
Again, it may be worth testing your pressure cleaning on an inconspicuous part of the concrete to ensure your pressure is correct and that it will not degrade your concrete’s colour or finish.
This is especially important if you have had your concrete patterned, textured, or coated, as it may ruin the surface application.
Some people may feel intimidated by using a pressure cleaner if they do not have experience using industrial machinery. If this sounds like you, you may want to contact a professional concrete pressure cleaner like the crew here at Enviro-Clean and Capture.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of employing professional concrete sidewalk cleaning services.
Professional concrete cleaning Sydney
You may have heard the saying “use the right tools for the job”. This is by far your best option when safely and effectively cleaning your concrete sidewalks.
Concrete cleaning experts like the ones here at Enviro-Clean and Capture use state-of-the-art, custom concrete pressure cleaning technology and environmentally friendly cleaning solutions to efficiently and effectively deep clean your concrete sidewalks without risk of damage or discolouration.
Most concrete cleaning and sealing professionals are specially trained in concrete maintenance. They can offer the best advice on how to care for one of your property’s most crucial access utilities.
They can assess your concrete sidewalk’s current condition, offer a well-educated solution, and customise their services to get you the best results possible.
Most professional concrete cleaning services also offer surface sealing and resealing services, helping protect your investment and ensure it is looking its best for years to come.
A professional service also saves you time, stress and money in the long run by providing optimal, professional care for your investment. It allows more time to do what matters most, like working on other projects, chasing your passions and spending time with loved ones.
Get the best results with Enviro-Clean and Capture
If you require professional concrete cleaning, Sydney and surrounding areas, contact the friendly team here at Enviro-Clean and Capture today.
We provide a range of industry-leading cleaning and restoration services, including:
We can provide cost-effective services for domestic and commercial properties for both indoor and outdoor applications. We offer professional concrete cleaning, Sydney to Newcastle and surrounding areas, and have a track record for punctuality, reliability, quality and exemplary customer service.