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Debunking Decorative Concrete Myths

There are quite a few misconceptions going around about decorative concrete. Some say that it's just a way to repair damage to old concrete (not true!). But the biggest myths are DIY advice for installing and maintaining decorative concrete. Here are the top three myths, busted.

Myth: You should use acid to clean and prepare concrete surfaces.

Acid is one of the number one causes of damage to concrete. Never, under any circumstance, use any type of straight acid to clean or prepare your decorative concrete. Not only is using strong acid dangerous to your health, it can severely damage your concrete. Instead, use acid that’s been diluted with water so as not to damage your concrete—or yourself, for that matter.

Myth: Neutralize an acid wash or staining with baking soda. 

This myth can lead to a bigger mess and more problems for you in the long run. When baking soda is mixed with the water used to dilute the acid, you create only a mild cleaner which isn’t strong enough to neutralize the diluted acid. Baking soda also leaves behind a white residue, which will only give you more work than you have to do. Instead, use alkaline soap to counteract the diluted acid. Alkaline soap creates additional cleaning elements when mixed with water, which helps take care of the diluted acid. If you can't get alkaline soap, use a solution made of:

  • 5 gallons water
  • 2 cups household ammonia or bleach
  • few squirts dish washing detergent

Myth: Sealers should be applied thickly for better concrete protection.

More is always better, right? Not when you're dealing with concrete sealers. Sealers should never be applied in thick amounts like paint as it will cause a mess for you to clean as well as damage to the concrete. Apply the sealer as thinly as possible so as not to ruin your decorative concrete. The average gallon of decorative sealer should cover a 300 square foot area. If you can't cover that amount of space with one gallon, you're using too much sealer.

Now that you know the myths of decorative concrete, you can rest easy knowing that the myths are only everyday mistakes that people make. Just get out there, work properly, and enjoy your beautiful decorative concrete.