One of the most important questions we get regarding skim coating concrete is how to take care of it. Our Argyle, TX homeowner had poured a small extension to his concrete pad to have some extra space for his new grill. As normally happens, the new and old sections looked completely different, and he wanted them to match. The skim coat overlay was the most economical option to make this happen. But before we started, he wanted to know what he was going to have to do to maintain it over time.
Concrete is tough, but that doesn't mean it's bulletproof. Skim coating concrete is a process where we put down a few thin coats of a special cement that adheres tightly to the floor. It can take a lot of punishment and still look good, but with a few simple steps, you can keep that "like new" look for many years to come.
When we wrap up a skim coating concrete project like this one in Argyle, we always leave it sealed. The sealer creates a protective barrier on the concrete that helps prevent staining from leaves, rusting steel flower pot holders, or chairs, pet accidents, spilled drinks, etc. As all concrete is porous, the sealer helps prevent these stains from wicking into it and permanently staining it. That being said, sealers tend to take a beating, especially outdoors. The sun, wind, rain, and even snow just hammer on it. For that reason, it's important to implement a maintenance schedule for it that includes regular cleaning and, every few years or so, resealing it.
For cleaning, we recommend power washing to get dirt and other light stains off of the sealer coat. Don't get too aggressive as a high powered power washer with a tip placed too close to the floor can actually damage the sealer. That will usually get most of the dirt and grime off of it, but sometimes you need a little more cleaning action. For these cases the best solution is to lightly scrub the floor with a broom and use a neutral base cleaner solution that will help pull any stubborn stains off the floor.
Even if you are diligent in cleaning the floor, eventually the sealer will wear off from exposure to the elements.
For any skim coating concrete project, the easiest way to tell is what it looks like before and after a rainstorm. Assuming that it's clean, do the colors tend to "pop" when it's wet but look very dull once it dries? If that's the case, it's time to reseal, as this enhances the colors.