Many concrete contractors recommend applying a mop-down wax or floor finish to your decorative concrete floor after you seal it. Why do you need both a sealer and a floor wax? The reason is simple. Applying several coats of wax over the sealer coat helps to protect the sealer from wear and preserve your floor. This sacrificial wax coating not only makes the floor look nice, it also protects the surface from scuffs, scratches and grit. Plus it’s easy to buff out scratches from a coat of floor finish and then reapply more if necessary.
What Is Floor Wax?
Most floor finishes are water-based acrylic polymers suitable for use under normal foot traffic. For commercial applications, higher-grade solvent-based floor waxes are available that offer extra resistance to scuffs and black heel marks. When properly maintained, they are also slip resistant. You can purchase most floor finish products from a janitorial supply house or from concrete stain manufacturers. However, be sure to check with your sealer manufacturer to verify that the floor wax is compatible for use over their product. Manufacturers of some sealers, such as chemical-resistant urethanes, do not recommend applying a wax or floor finish.
How Do You Apply a Wax Finish?
Most acrylic-based floor finishes are mop-down products that can be applied with a looped-end rayon mop or a micro-fiber mop. Avoid using cotton mops because they can leave streak marks and lint on the floor. Solvent-based floor waxes are usually applied with heavy-duty floor machines equipped with brush or buffing attachments.
How Long Does Floor Wax Last?
As a general rule, a wax finish will not scratch under normal daily use, but it is likely to wear over time. A higher-grade finish, such as a commercial grade of wax, may last longer. Most installers protect stained concrete floors with several coats of floor finish and as many as 6 to 10 coats in high-traffic areas. After these original applications of floor finish, the stained concrete surface should last indefinitely as long as it is maintained. The finish should not be allowed to wear down to the sealer because a sealer is not as easy as a floor finish to buff out or re-apply.
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