I got a shed built thirty years ago, the concrete floor is thick with dust and the more I sweep it , the worse it seems to get. How can I treat it?   

(M Forde. D12)

Concrete floors can be a pain, especially when they've been down a while like yours has. New concrete floors frequently have a smooth troweled finish and tend to be a bit better dust-wise. Here's what I would suggest, having done a similar job a few years ago in a converted garage. 

First you need to remove any obvious dirt and then vacuum the entire floor. If there's any blobs of oil or grease etc on the floor, try removing it with some cellulose thinners and a stiff brush.  

If need be, hire an industrial vacuum from your local hire shop, in case your own home unit cannot cope. Don't even think about sweeping it because you need to clean it properly, and right now, and a good strong vac is the way to go.

When cleaned, you have two choices depending on whether you would like a clear concrete look or whether you would like a colour.

If you would like the clear look, all you have to do is apply one good coat of Owatrol oil which you can get from most of the better paint outlets. This will sort out your dust problem and will last for years and years.  The Owatrol oil binds the concrete thereby preventing the re-occurrence of the dust, at least for a very long time.

You can do it another way also, (my favourite idea) i.e. colour the floor with a colour of your choice. Say you want the floor a nice red, just add about 40% of the same Owatrol oil to the red gloss, or a matte finish if you'd prefer that. Apply, and the colour will soak into the floor leaving a lovely, easy to maintain surface that, again will last for years and years. By the way, you can apply either of the above with a standard, relatively smooth-haired, clean sweeping brush not a yard brush. 

For any reader that's interested, you can do the same colouring trick on wooden floor boards, concrete driveways or even roof tiles that are a bit off colour.

Red Hot Tip on Lighting a Fire

Have you ever been breathless in front of the fireplace blowing for all you're worth trying and get that fire to light? Some people hold a newspaper or the like in front of the fireplace to help the chimney 'pull' but that can be a very dodgy business.

Here's a handy tip that will allow you keep your lungs for other less strenuous applications.

Get your hand held hair blow drier, set it to low fan and no heat if you have that option. Get your bits and pieces in place in the grate including a piece of a firelighter. Light up and after fire gets the slightest 'grip' turn on the drier, partially block the nozzle with your finger or a piece of strong tape to concentrate the air flow, and you'll have a great blaze going in no time at all. You can do the same trick, out on your BBQ. Aim the drier slightly upwards so that any dust will go up the chimney.