Let’s say you’ve just invested in stylish concrete furniture in Australia and now you’re enjoying the raw, organic look that it brings to every part of your home: your kitchen countertops, your bathroom shower and tub, your outdoor tables and benches, and so the list goes on. The next step in your mind should be how to best protect and care for that furniture so it gives you many years of looking fabulous in your home.
Concrete Care Tip 1: Sealing
Typically, concrete furniture and decorative concrete panelling that you use for your home will be sealed and protected by the manufacturer initially. Concrete is a durable but porous material that can absorb moisture quickly if not waterproofed sufficiently. A good supplier will also advise you on care products to reapply the waterproof treatment yourself, which is very possible.
Proper sealing and waterproofing should last for at least 5 years, and possibly as long as 10 years, so it’s not like you’ll have to do it as a weekly chore. When reapplying, it’s a good idea to find products with a matte and transparent finish, because these are ones that create an invisible coating of protection that doesn’t hinder the natural appearance of the concrete at all.
As for the sealing lifespan, it should be noted that the more you clean a concrete surface, the more rapidly the protective surface will also wear down. It’s not dramatic, so there’ll still be years between treatments, but a concrete kitchen countertop that you wipe down daily will likely need a re-treatment sooner than a concrete chair that decorates a room but that virtually no one sits in.
Concrete Care Tip 2: Gentle Cleaning
When cleaning concrete surfaces like tables, countertops and other surfaces, avoid using anything with abrasive or aggressive cleaning solvents. You can find degreasers and dirt removers that are concrete-friendly and don’t work so aggressively to use if your concrete does get particularly dirty for whatever reason. Under normal circumstances, however, you’ll likely get perfectly fine results just by wiping the concrete with a damp rag or a soft sponge.
The same applies for outdoor concrete furniture, no matter how dirty it seems to get. You must avoid using acid-based cleaners that are designed for the more heavy-duty cleaning of commercial concrete and swimming pools. You should also avoid using a high-pressure washer to blast dirt from the concrete. Use a regular gentle garden hose or a rag/sponge.
If you spill something on the concrete like pasta sauce, a glass of iced tea, or something worse, then do your best to stick to mild soap and water for cleaning, which will be perfectly effective if you get to the cleaning job as soon as it happens.
Concrete Care Tip 3: Mind the Corners
On any piece of concrete furniture, the corners are among the more vulnerable parts, especially to chipping. Therefore, when moving things around the kitchen, for example, such as cast iron pots and pans, be mindful not to bang those hard metal objects against the concrete corners. Chips can be fixed easily enough, but it’s still irritating and risks damaging the overall aesthetic every time you accidentally create a chip.
Concrete Care Tip 4: Fix Cracks and Fissures ASAP
Finally, it’s never a good idea to dawdle over cracks, chips and fissures in your concrete furniture, countertops or other surfaces. If you spot one, the best idea is to use fast-drying cement to fill it in. After it has dried, you can sand it down to even it out with the rest of your surface. Don’t forget to reapply protective sealer to your repaired sections of concrete!