Should Polished Concrete be Stain Guarded?

A question that tends to come from Minneapolis and St. Paul businesses regarding their polished concrete floors is whether or not they should be stain guarded.

Stain protector or stain guard, as some refer to it, is a product that is put on the polished concrete as a final step in the process. These protectors are not mandatory in the process. However, there are some aspects of stain guards in the concrete market that should be mentioned, such as the fact that they have been used to “cheat,” and they do need some maintenance, but that doesn’t mean you have to count them out.


Some may say that stain guards are used to cheat because they add gloss to the floor. On a gloss meter, they add around 15 points. It does hide scratches and gives a longer window of time to clean up spills. Where the controversy lies is when the guards are used to give a fake gloss in order to cover up poor polish work. Unfortunately, this is something that exists in the Twin Cities. The good news is that experienced concrete floor polishers are not going to cheat in this way. They will use stain guards the way they are meant to be used.

So this means that there is measurable achievement in stain guards. Polishers have to consider the amount of gloss that is added so that alterations can be made in the earlier steps of the process. The polished also has to be monitored rather than simply measuring the final result.


Guard products do need to be periodically reapplied and they need to be burnished once in a while so they continue to look good. When compared to wax, guard products do require less labor and they don’t need to be applied as often as wax. You may remember your school days when the tiled floors would be waxed or, perhaps, you worked in a retail establishment that would require sections of the store to be blocked off when the floors had to be waxed. Stain guard can keep you from having to shut down sections of your floor too frequently.

With stain guard, a grocery store may only need to reapply the guard one to four times per year, depending how much traffic they have. For reapplications, the process is rather simple and that is to clean the floor beforehand and then have the guard applied.

Guards Can be Valuable

With all that you have read above, stain guards don’t have to be counted out when you are having your concrete floor polished. If you ensure the polish is there, there is nothing wrong with additional protection. You can review with your concrete floor polishers what your options are and the costs associated with them. If something is not necessary based on how the floor is used, then there is no need to pay for it. However, stain guards are not that expensive. If the area is a high traffic area, then the added protection may be something that you want.