If you have been working with customers to design new patios, walkways, and other concrete structures in the customers' yards, one of the topics you may have been talking about is how to keep the concrete clean. There's something that you might have been overlooking, and, if so, you need to start talking to customers about it now: sidewalk chalk. This seemingly harmless toy, which is supposed to wash off concrete very easily, may cause more damage than you'd think. If not handled carefully, it can become a major nuisance that mars the bright new concrete you've just poured.
Staining the Concrete
The initial problem with sidewalk chalk is that the colorants and dyes in the chalk can stain concrete, especially newer concrete. Sealing can help prevent this but is not a guarantee against all stains because the scratching that kids do to color in areas could wear away the sealant layer on the concrete. Newer concrete, even though it would be dry by the time the kids were allowed to be on it, can be particularly absorbent. While most of the chalk substance could be removed by scrubbing, if the color gets into the concrete, then it's there until that concrete somehow wears away.
Staining Your Floors and Carpets
Another big problem with sidewalk chalk is that it can be spread around to other areas of concrete as well as to carpets and floors inside the customers' homes. Kids, pets, and even you, after stepping on the chalk drawings, can bring in bits of the chalk and discolor surfaces in the home. The chalk should clean up easily off hard flooring like vinyl tiles, but carpets could be permanently stained.
Staining Your Pets
The chalk can also stain your pets. Not just their paws, as previously mentioned, but their fur as well. That can spread the chalk colorants even further, especially if the pet is playing around on other, cleaner parts of the concrete. The sidewalk chalk is just too easy to spread around to other parts of the yard that were just installed or poured.
As you set up designs with your customers, ask them if they plan to allow the use of sidewalk chalk, especially colored chalk (though white chalk can stain non-white concrete as well). Warn them about the colorants and let them know that they need to seal any concrete they have you pour on their property.