Dust control is going to be one of your main concerns when it comes to caring for a commercial concrete floor. Dust build-up on concrete floors is caused by the disintegration of the hardened concrete on the surface. Depending on the strength of the wearing surface, dusting can be caused by any number of occurrences including foot traffic, scratching, and even sweeping.
Over time, this dust will build up as the concrete floor continues to disintegrate. Concrete dusting is unacceptable on any level, and measures need to be taken to prevent it. For many years, the go-to method for preventing concrete floor dusting was to cover the floor with a membrane or a film such as urethanes, waxes, acrylics, or epoxies.
But, these films are not impervious from damage themselves. They can chip, wear, delaminate, scratch, and crack as well, requiring labor, materials, and downtime to repair. Many coatings will only last from six months to one year,, meaning they require frequent re-application and maintenance.
Let’s take an in-depth look at why concrete dusting occurs and the most efficient and effective ways to prevent it.
Why Do Concrete Floors Dust?
There are a number of reasons why a concrete surface would be so weak that it dusts away under traffic and usage. If a finishing operation has been performed while bleed water was on the surface of the concrete, or before the concrete has had a chance to finish bleeding, the resulting water will be worked back into the top layer of the concrete which leaves it with a high water content and low strength.
Also, if the concrete has been placed over a polyethylene vapor retardant or a subgrade which is non-absorptive, normal absorption by the subgrade will be blocked, leading to increased bleeding and a higher likelihood of dusting. Improper ventilation in enclosed spaces, troweling or floating after condensation in a humid environment, and insufficient curing are additional ways to weaken a concrete floor, which will result in dusting.
Tips for Concrete Floor Dust Control
Controlling concrete floor dust starts from the bottom up. If you can prevent it from happening, you won’t need to treat it once it does. To do this, you can use concrete that has the lowest water content possible while using an adequate slump for finishing and placing. Also, never trowel or sprinkle dry cement onto a plastic concrete surface with the intention of removing bleed water. Instead, use air-entrained concrete, accelerate the setting time, and modify the mix proportions.
Don’t perform finishing operations when there is water present on the concrete surface, do not pour concrete directly on non-absorptive subgrades or polyethylene vapor retardants either.
Preventing Concrete Floor Dust with Dustproofer
You can also use a professional, chemical solution on a concrete floor to prevent it from dusting. Dustproof can be simply sprayed onto the surface of a concrete floor and spread around with a microfiber pad. This product is not going to contribute to or trigger an alkali silicate reaction. Instead, it will dustproof an existing or freshly troweled concrete floor of any age.
By using this product on your concrete floor, you can open it up to traffic in as little as one hour after it has been properly applied. It’s low-odor, non-toxic, and non-flammable,as well. Use of this product could contribute to LEED for Schools points, and it has shown to conform to the standards set by the California Collaborative for High Performance School Indoor Air Quality Standards.
How to Dustproof Concrete Floors so They Last a Long Time
When properly laid, a concrete floor should not experience much dusting. Inadequate or improper techniques used in the laying of the concrete floor can, however, lead to a weak surface which will dust before long.
There are many ways a commercial concrete floor can become vulnerable to dusting, so dustproofing it with a professional product is the best route in many cases. Products like Consolideck LS/CS are superior for hardening, densifying, and ultimately dustproofing concrete floors of any age.