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Rejuvenating concrete shop floor

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  • #16
    Floor dry, Kitty litter or saw dust alone will not take heavy built up dirt, grease and oil off the floor. You can use a strong commercial detergent, mineral spirits or kerosene to loosen and dissolve the oils and the floor dry will absorb them. It may take doing it twice but the floor will come out white like new concrete.

    When I used the mineral spirits and floor dry I was amazed at how white and clean the floor came out. The trick is to scrub the floor with a stiff broom while the floor is covered with the mineral spirits and I mean COVERED heavily and scrubbed hard. The thick layer of floor dry is what takes the oil out of the floor and it takes several hours to do it.

    This advise is first hand and it worked wonders for the 70 year build up of dirt, grease and oil on the floor.
    Last edited by Carld; 08-18-2010, 04:46 PM.
    It's only ink and paper


    • #17
      Carl's right. I've used the kitty litter and solvent technique on acres of floor over the years. It works good but it takes time and it's hard work.

      Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and work the job. Sweat does not kill.


      • #18
        a straightened mortar hoe for scraping the thicker areas followed by a solvent soak and stiff brush and then a strong soap and more brushing. i cleaned the floor of an old mechanics shop where the oil drips were so thick a creeper would get stuck in the summer. got the crud off the top but never got the stain out. use the summers heat to your advantage,dont wait till dead of winter when the oil is cold and stiffer.


        • #19
          I don't mind the hard work. We've been busy reinforcing the framing with new 2x6's and also some new concrete for some sections. I like the idea of using a heavy detergent or mineral spirits followed by floor dry. Still researching but will start the project early next week if not this weekend.

          We have plenty of ventilation and several high power fans that can be located quite a safe distance from whatever chemical or petroleum product we go with.

          Good tips all!

          There's only one way to find out, might as well get started now!


          • #20
            Some things work some do not.

            Originally posted by MuellerNick
            Sawdust works perfect. The finer the better. Grinding dust from wood is perfect. Spread it on the floor and wait a week. You'll be astonished how clean your floor is afterwards. And even better, you get the dust for free!

            To por diesel onto the floor is the nominee for "Most stupid tip of the year".

            I appreciate your nomination but don't knock it until you have tried it. No on second thought I don't appreciated being called stupid. If the floor is caked with oil based crud the diesel is safer, more effective/agressive solvent that is cost effective. You need to have your head screwed on straight when working with any of this stuff. I have also tried the microbe type degreasers that eat the hydrocarbons and digest them. They don't work fast, you have to keep them wet for them to work. With a heavy grease oil build up the concrete will rot before sawdust absorbs the grease if you don't use something to liquify or emulsfy it. A mixture of diesel and the old emulsifier Gunk was the best but I don't think Gunk is avaliable any longer.
            Byron Boucher
            Burnet, TX


            • #21
              We refinished industrial floors that were heavily soaked in Oil and crud by using a product called OAKITE
              This is a very caustic material that is put down with hot water and then scrubbed, and then wet vacuumed.
              No gassing or flame hazard.
              Rinse and the floor is white !

              Check it out..awesome
              Green Bay, WI


              • #22
                I just Googled it and go here to see the spec sheet


                The floors become like hospital floors, white and clean
                Green Bay, WI


                • #23
                  Scrape the floor then use a cleaner like TSP or Zep.
                  Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada


                  • #24
                    If the floor is caked with oil based crud the diesel is safer, more effective/agressive solvent that is cost effective.
                    Maybe it always missed that. But after an oil spill due to an accident, I never saw the fire department try to clean it with diesel. They used oil binder, cement, silica. They do not use sawdust, because it is blown away. Not the case in a shop. The principle of binders is to have a huge surface. That's what you have with sawdust.
                    You can use diesel if you want the smell to last for years. Its a low viscous liquid that will only thin down the crud and serve better penetration deeper into the concrete.



                    • #25
                      How Teknowledgy has changed our lives. My copy of "Machineries" tells me to use oil as a basis for a dusting prevention coating on concrete floors.

                      Regards Ian.
                      You might not like what I say,but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.


                      • #26
                        Floor prep and painting

                        Hey Terry,

                        Used to paint ciment pools. If you are planning on painting your floor, DO NOT USE TSP. Trust me on this. If you are only cleaning the floor and are not painting it then go ahead. Great product, wear gloves, safety glasses, etc, but it does not evaporate, it dries out, leaving the chemical behind. Paint over it and the water from the paint, or epoxy will re-activate it and it will peel down the road. What a pain.

                        Muriatic acid. Good, but not my first choice. It should be diluted as well. 4-1 is what i would start with. (ADD THE MURIATIC ACID TO THE WATER) Mop on and then rince off. OH and then Rince. Don't forget to rince . Wear gloves, safety glasses, mask <-- important (even with your fans running), etc.

                        Ciment is pourous. It will have absorded the oil and may take a long time before those area are dry enough to paint. They will look clean, but will have oil embeded in them.

                        For the cleaning. Industiral cleaners and a pressure washer is what i would use. Some industrial cleaners have a rince that you use after the cleaning is done. That is good as it neutralizes the chemical after you have cleaned everything. Important if you are going to paint, even more important if you are alergic. Remember these are never know who, or when they can affect a person.

                        Good luck and post pictures...sounds like you have been busy.


                        • #27
                          Hey Spkrman,

                          Thanks for the tips on the TSP. Probably saved me from some big headaches. We do have a pressure washer available so may that would be the better way to go or start with diesel, sop it up with 'dry' then pressure wash.


                          You might be in the center but the Hub of the universe is about 25 miles away..


                          Thanks again guys!

                          There's only one way to find out, might as well get started now!


                          • #28
                            I have a cement floor in my shop to be, and I have heard that painting it with Thompsons water seal is a good way to stop dust. I don't think I want a "painted" surface, as it gets pretty slick when wet, and adding sand or something just makes it tougher to keep reasonably clean. Epoxy floors are nice, but good ones are expensive and cheap ones aren't worth the time and effort. I have heard about the water seal and it sounds like maybe a good way to go,, any comments??



                            • #29
                              Be careful if using solvents. A few years back I saw a guy have the brainwave of cleaning his shop floor with petrol (gasoline). Being heavier than air the vapours sat there until he came back to inspect his handiwork. It was enough to stir up the vapours enough to reach a pilot light in an adjacent gas heater and he blew himself and the shop up!

                              I've tried pressure washing oil straight off concrete, both with and without detergents, and haven't had much success. You'll always see the oil sheen on top of the water running away regardless of how long you hit spots. The closest I've got is to use a degreaser first to break down the oil, then hit it with the water/detergent. I guess it depends on just how clean you want it? I think if it needs to look pristine as others have mentioned you're going to either need to abrade the surface off, or put something else on top, preferably something that doesn't require strong adhesion to perform its function (eg wood as Nick said, lino tiles etc etc just depending on how you're going to use the shop).