Garages and basements can harbor dirt, leaves and insects. Resist the temptation to move without cleaning. Use these cleaning tips to get your garage and basement floors looking their best.
Combine an ounce of trisodium phosphate (TSP) in a gallon of hot water. Wet the concrete and scrub vigorously with a pushbroom. Let soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, rinse thoroughly. You may have to clean the area several times.
Once you have cleaned the floor, you may want to consider painting or sealing the concrete surface to prevent further staining.
Moisture Test. If you think that moisture issues might prevent paint or sealer from bonding, tape a 3' x 3' square of plastic sheeting to your floor. If after a day water collects on the underside of the plastic, you'll need to put down a vapor barrier before the primer coat.
Sealant/Etching Test. Pour water on a concrete floor to test for previous sealing. If the water beads, the cement has been sealed and probably needs to be etched before you re-seal or paint.
Etching the Floor. Apply a commercial concrete etcher, being careful to follow the manufacturer's instructions. If the etcher fizzes as it's applied, it's working. Let the floor dry overnight (or longer, if needed). The concrete will have a slightly grainy texture, which allows the paint to better grip the floor's surface.
To prevent future staining, to minimize concrete dust, and to make it easier to sweep, you can seal your concrete floor. Sealant can also act as a primer if you're painting the floor.
Choose a water-based floor epoxy or a solvent-thinned epoxy. Apply the epoxy with a lint-free, all-purpose, solvent- and water-resistant roller (with a medium nap). Use a nylon brush to edge. Apply sealant liberally, thoroughly, and evenly. If you plan on painting, allow eight hours for the sealant to dry.
When selecting paint, choose an epoxy paint for use on concrete floors. You'll also need nylon brushes and roller covers.
Mix the paint and apply a thin, even coat. Let the first coat dry thoroughly (about 24 hours) before applying a second coat (if needed).
With the right information and a little work, your home will sparkle like new! Read more Lowe's articles about sprucing up your house in our Cleaning & Organization section.