5 Products That Can Damage Concrete Driveway & Floors

by TRP Ready Mix on April 11, 2018

A car wheel and rim sitting on a concrete floor in a garage, the driveway visible beyond..

Concrete Contractors Offer Advice to Protect Your Concrete Flooring and Driveways

Although concrete is extremely strong and durable, it is not immune to certain products and spills.

When concrete is sealed properly, it’s better protected from the elements and everyday wear and tear, including cleaning products and other substances. But even so, there are some products strong enough to stain or damage a concrete surface permanently.

During home renovations or while working on the car, you may spill some paint or oil. These spills may seem harmless, but you could end up with permanent ugly stains on your garage floor or driveway.

If you want to maintain the appearance of your concrete flooring, then protect your concrete and be cautious when using certain products.

There are concrete-cleaning products available at home repair stores that can help remove some of the culprits. But if these won’t work, contact concrete contractors for help repairing your concrete.

Concrete contractors will grind, seal, and even polish your concrete floors and driveway to make them look new again.

Here are the top five products that can damage concrete and how you can remove their stains.

Tape Adhesives

Tape adhesives are nearly impossible to remove from concrete. And if left on for too long, these adhesives might etch the concrete surface. Most construction-grade tapes use plasticizers, additives that help improve flexibility in the adhesive. Because concrete sealers are often somewhat porous, the plasticizers tend to bond very well to sealed concrete surfaces, creating an extremely strong bond.

What’s more, the similarity between resins in construction tape and concrete sealers creates a further issue. Sealers have a certain drying window – they might look and feel “dry” to the touch after two days, but chemically, they’re still setting. Applying construction tape at this point means you’re creating an incredibly strong bond between the two resins. When you peel back the tape, the adhesive remains (and potentially even some of the non-sticky portions of the tape).

It is possible to repair this damage. Concrete contractors would need to regrind and reseal the concrete surface, a time-consuming (and potentially costly) process. Want to avoid future repairs? Don’t apply tape directly to concrete!


Paint doesn’t necessarily damage concrete, but unlike so many other surfaces, concrete is incredibly difficult to clean paint from, sealed or unsealed. If you plan to do any painting, cover your concrete flooring first to avoid damage from paint spills. And if paint does spill, don’t allow it to dry. Wipe it immediately with a cloth and warm water. If it sets and dries, then you’re in a similar position to the damage caused by adhesives.

And just like adhesive damage, you’ll need to regrind and reseal the affected concrete to get it back to its original condition.

Drywall Mix

As with painting, always cover your concrete floors before installing drywall. Spilled drywall mix can cause unsightly blotches and patches on concrete products and are almost impossible to remove cleanly after they’ve dried. When it dries, you’ll have to regrind and reseal the affected concrete to get the clean, even look you want.

If you’re fast, though, you can quickly address spills. Using a drop cloth when working with drywall mix, including sheetrock mud, can help prevent any frustrating spills, but accidents do happen. Keep a spray bottle on hand filled with water, a trowel, and a sponge. Scrape off what you can immediately, then start spraying down the remaining mix and dabbing it away with a sponge. If you’re quick and diligent, you can remove most of the mix, or at least mitigate the damage.

Grease and Oil

The best solution for an oil stain is to clean it while it’s fresh. Use a diluted degreaser to remove fresh oil and grease.

Some of these household products might help remove oil and grease, but make sure to test them on a small surface first:

  • Scrub with detergent and warm water;
  • Spray with WD-40, leave overnight, and rinse off the next day; and
  • Apply oven cleaner, wait 15 minutes, and scrub with a hard-bristled brush (repeat if needed).

For older stains that have set deeply in the concrete, grinding and sealing will repair the damage.

To prevent oil stains altogether, place a tray of sawdust or cat litter under your car to catch oil drips.

Water and Moisture

For water spots on concrete, burnishing should do the trick. For acidic food spills like cola, vinegar, wine, and mustard, try to wipe up as soon as possible. If these spills end up leaving stains, then you’ll need to regrind and reseal the concrete surface.

Contact your local concrete contractors for help removing stains from your concrete.

Although concrete driveways and garage floors are not as cherished as hardwood floors, you should still protect them so they will look great for longer. Clean, well-maintained concrete floors and driveways also boost a home’s curb appeal if you ever decide to sell your home.