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Cleaning Concrete Dust off unfinished project

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Forum topic by SaintNYC posted 12-23-2013 04:06 PM 826 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SaintNYC

10 posts in 1327 days


12-23-2013 04:06 PM

Hello all -

First off, I’ve been a LJ reader for a long time, and I want to thank you all for some of the best woodworking advice available when there isn’t an older relative looking over my shoulder and laughing at my mistakes he or she made a hundred years ago.

Over the summer, I had the main sewer line replaced in the basement of my home and they had to jackhammer a nice twenty foot trench. Needless to say, there was a fair amount of concrete dust. Unfortunately, due to space constraints, I had to keep a pine bench in the basement that I had just built and stained, but did not top coat it. Now, I’ve got a halfway bench that was once originally Rustoleum Kona, but is now dusty as all heck. What would you recommend the best way to clean it and prep it for a top coat (probably Vermont Finishing’s PolyWhey)? Or is the nuclear option of re-sanding and re-staining the only way out?

Thanks again.

SJ


11 replies so far

View nailbanger2's profile

nailbanger2

1041 posts in 2605 days


#1 posted 12-23-2013 04:14 PM

This is just my opinion, I’ve never run into this before. Use compressed air to blow off the dust, this will give you an idea of how bad it is, so you can decide if you want to wipe it down with Mineral Spirits. After that, I’m hoping you’ll be good to go, or that a real pro shows up and gives you advice based on experience.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2311 days


#2 posted 12-23-2013 05:12 PM

I’m with Nailbanger2. When you’re blowing it off, cup your hand around the nozzle of the airgun and you’ll get even more force in a smaller area. Mineral spirits is a great solvent suggestion here. If there’s any unevenness that unnerves you, wipe on/off a bit of Kona and you’re ready for the stinky stuff.

I’m sure with the new sewer line your whole family is flushed with pride. I think that finishing the bench now will give you the same feeling.

: )

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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SaintNYC

10 posts in 1327 days


#3 posted 12-23-2013 05:37 PM

Thanks. I thought Mineral Spirits was a possibility, but wasn’t sure what its effect would be on the Kona. That said, it’s not my favorite color anyway.

I will try cupping the airgun and hopefully will have better results.

SJ

Lee – well done on the pun.

View Brickman's profile

Brickman

51 posts in 1832 days


#4 posted 12-23-2013 10:21 PM

Hit is with a tack cloth first. Concrete dust is fine enough it will just blow around and settle back down when the air is still. I would avoid blowing it around if you can. Not real good on the lungs either.

-- Mark - Pueblo, Colorado

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 1822 days


#5 posted 12-24-2013 12:36 AM

Take it outside and hose it down, followed by dry toweling. Anything else will just smear the dust into the grain.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View WibblyPig's profile

WibblyPig

168 posts in 2735 days


#6 posted 12-24-2013 12:47 AM

Tack cloth followed with naphtha. Mineral spirits may blotch the stain, naphtha shouldn’t.

-- Steve, Webster Groves, MO "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."

View bbc557ci's profile

bbc557ci

589 posts in 1535 days


#7 posted 12-24-2013 01:59 AM

What I would do….Put the brush on the end of your shop vac, if it has a brush. If not, grab the house vacuum and use the hose attachment with the brush on the end.

-- Bill, central NY...no where near the "big apple"

View JustJoe's profile

JustJoe

1554 posts in 1499 days


#8 posted 12-24-2013 02:04 AM

?? It’s dust. Yes it’s cement particles, but deep down inside it’s just dust.
Didn’t your mom teach you how to use a dust cloth? Do you really need us coming up with some Rube Goldberg contraption to help you pick it up? Don’t get me wrong, we love to help here. That’s what Lumberjocks is all about. And if you need a 10-part tutorial on the art of cleaning up dust, we can do that. I can even break out the powerpoint presentation, and I’m sure we can find one or two LJers with a dirty workshop willing to film a couple of quick videos if need be.
But be forewarned, if we have to go through that much effort to teach you how to dust, then there will be a test afterwards. And I don’t grade on a curve.

Oh, and welcome to Lumberjocks, fifth friendliest place on the internet!

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View SaintNYC's profile

SaintNYC

10 posts in 1327 days


#9 posted 12-24-2013 04:29 AM

Thank you gentlemen. This weekend I will give your suggestions a try – with appropriate chronology, of course.

The reason why I asked this seemingly dumb question was due to the following concerns: a) the fine quality of concrete dust (fine not being a positive here), b) common board pine and my ignorance of softwood’s ability to absorb a non-typical type of dust (as opposed to everyday household dust – which I am quite good at managing, if I say so myself), and c) how any of solvent solutions would affect the existing stain.

I had taken an old t-shirt to the top of it but the results were not as good as I had expected, so go figure. Therefore, I had to ask.

JustJoe – I appreciate the offer of a powerpoint presentation or a youtube video, as well as the offer of an actual curriculum. But that is not necessary. Besides, what would the required reading list look like? :)

View realcowtown_eric's profile

realcowtown_eric

565 posts in 1398 days


#10 posted 12-24-2013 04:50 AM

Me, before I blow it off, I’d use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to take off what dust I could. then blow it off. And if you see dust in the pores, Not too many in pine eh, but if you see dust still there, do the vac thing again, and then maybe wipe quickly with stain again.

If you go straight to the compressor, you may push the crap into any voids with a vengance.

The quick wipe with stain will stain any remaining concrete dust in joints and pores much the same as folks would do with a filler.

Good luck!

Eric

Nix on the “wash it off” unless yu want to compound yer problem with moisture problems.

-- Real_cowtown_eric

View bbc557ci's profile

bbc557ci

589 posts in 1535 days


#11 posted 12-24-2013 05:56 AM

Me, before I blow it off, I’d use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to take off what dust I could. then blow it off. And if you see dust in the pores, Not too many in pine eh, but if you see dust still there, do the vac thing again, and then maybe wipe quickly with stain again.

Fine suggestion!! See post #7 ;o)

-- Bill, central NY...no where near the "big apple"

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