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How to Stop Dust From a Concrete Floor

Is Your Concrete Floor Causing Dust?

By Rick Schott

My first summer job way back when was at an industrial distribution warehouse.  One of my jobs was sweeping the concrete floors. I swept and swept, but there was always what seemed like a never ending cycle of more and more dust. It got all over everything. Where was all of this dust coming from?

Do you know that a great deal of dust can come from your concrete floor?  Back in the day it was a real hassle to seal a concrete floor even if you were aware of the technology to begin with.  That was in the days before we had easy-application lithium-silicate densifiers.

That dust, which gets all over everything, comes from calcium hydroxide, a soft byproduct of concrete hydration. Proper floor finishing and curing helps minimize dusting, but won’t eliminate it. The weaker the wearing surface, the more dust you get. Also, the older the wearing surface, the more dust you get. Concrete floors are filled with microscopic pores. Each pore has edges which abrasion can break off. Time, traffic and abrasion combine to break off concrete pore edges, contributing to dusting.

illustration of pores in concrete flooring

Hardener/densifier/sealers stop dusting by reacting with the soft calcium hydroxide. The product of that reaction is hard calcium silicate hydrate. Calcium silicate hydrate is the same tough stuff that makes properly cured concrete tough to begin with. That’s the hardening part. A hardener/densifier/sealer fills in the concrete pores with calcium silicate hydrate. That’s the densifying part.

Result: Hard, dense floor and no dusting.

sealed and polished concrete floor in warehouse

There are plenty of other benefits to a sealed concrete floor:

  • Ease of maintenance
  • Shinier appearance if it is burnished at time of application
  • Sealed floors deter the concrete from staining
  • Safer working surface

What to look for in a hardener/densifier/sealer:

  • Easy spray or brush-on application. No scrubbing or rinsing off excess needed.
  • Fast drying. Should bear traffic within an hour.
  • Should measurably increase hardness, as checked with MOHs scale hardness picks.
  • Should be backed up by readily available manufacturer support, both field and toll-free telephone tech support.

When you want to reduce the dust in your warehouse, you first have to understand what your concrete floors need. If you’re interested in sealing your concrete floors or learning more about the process, contact our floor cleaning professionals with any questions you may have!

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