A reader writes: “I am new at a facility that has several different floor types including hard and carpeted areas. I expect all the hard floors to have a shine at all times. The vendor disagrees and claims that I am unreasonable. Your comments?

First of all, let’s be clear in that you are the customer and you ultimately pay all the bills, which keeps the vendor employed providing custodial services. Thank you for your business. It appears that your predecessor, who helped design this facility, chose different surfaces for appearance and esthetic reasons and was clear with the vendor about what services should be performed on the different types which range from regular VCT (vinyl composite tiles) to LVF (luxury vinyl floors) to rubber to wood to synthetic flooring to epoxy terrazzo to various sizes of ceramic tiles with grout. Unfortunately, none of this information appears to have been in writing.

When she left and you came on board, you immediately demanded that all hard floors had to be shiny which goes against custodial best practices, manufacturers’ recommendations and the current budget in place. Based on a quick survey, only 35 percent of your floor surface is designed to have a high gloss requiring the use of finish/burnishing/stripping procedures. The rest, according to the manufacturers’ web sites, describe a matte finish with no wax (finish/seal) required or expected. You may actually void the warranty on some of the flooring if you apply seal/finish and then remove it with a high pH stripper (over 10.5).

I highly recommend you modify the contract specifications to clarify hard floors that require finish (hence a high gloss appearance) and others that should be maintained “as per manufacturers’ directions.” A clean, matte finish that is safe to walk on and less expensive to maintain is what your predecessor intended. The suggested modification could save your budget and well as keep your facility greener.

The use of finish/stripping/scrubbing/burnishing on many of today’s hard floors is unnecessary, not friendly to the environment and can be labor intensive.

Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. 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.