Choosing The Right Floor Finish


Cleaning: Floor Care Chemicals

I recently had a customer demand that ceramic, glazed tiles be “waxed” repeatedly to generated the requisite “uniform glossy appearance.” The result was a buildup of 15-20 coats of finish that are going to be very difficult to remove without damaging the surrounding carpet and grout line. This was not only damaging the floor since it had to be stripped with harsh chemicals but also was causing serious issues with the grout resulting in mold/mildew issues under the finish.

Consider these tips when choosing your floor care chemicals:

1. Identify hard floors that were designed to be “waxed”, stripped, buffed etc. from those that are considered low maintenance and not suitable for waxing.
a. Areas designed for floor finish include VCT and possibly rubber floors/steps.
b. Areas not designed for floor finish include ALL glazed, ceramic tiles which do not accept floor finish and should be maintained utilizing processes intended to protect the environment while providing a safe, clean floor.
c. This one clarification can help to determine expectations.

2. Maintain all the ceramic floors utilizing a scrubbing system and possibly diamond pads so long as finishes are not used. Result should be a uniform, low luster surface that is safe to walk on and lowered costs to maintain.

3. Utilize the correct floor finishes for the rubber tiles since traditional floor finishes do not allow it to breath. Use caution in apply too much finish on difficult to maintain stairs for obvious reasons.

4. Utilize the most appropriate floor finish (solids content) to achieve desired results while minimizing need for multiple coats of product.
a. Example is that 18-25 percent solids should NOT be used on stairs, restrooms and other areas that cannot be buffed/burnished and can result in extensive damage to surfaces.
b. Consider using a 12 percent solid or only one coat of 18 percent to reduce need for extensive stripping in areas that cannot be buffed/burnished such as VCT rest rooms, stair landings, etc.
5. Conduct tests to determine best cleaning chemicals, equipment and processes to remove stripper residue safely along carpet edges while protecting rubber backing and mastics (glue if it is being used).

6. Consider rewording specifications to require a “matte finish” which is low luster, is green friendly and does not require the use of floor finishes, strippers, etc. that can be harmful to the environment.

As always your comments and suggestions are welcome. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.