I noted in a past article that a customer was requiring the BSC (Building Service Contractor) to “strip and wax” the ceramic tile floors monthly. The BSC naively assumed that the customer did not really mean what the specifications called for and now are facing some performance failures when they refused to apply wax (better known as floor finish) to ceramic tile floors with grout lines.

Although they are technically correct in resisting this requirement they are contractually at fault at the same time. Following are some suggestions for finding a win/win outcome:

First of all, try to determine what the customer really wants since oftentimes they can innocently (and need I say ignorantly) demand a procedure to accomplish a goal that is contrary to the actual outcomes. In this case, the customer wants a clean, attractive floor that has a nice shine to it. Unfortunately they do not understand that ceramic tile, by nature, does not accept wax (finish) since glazed tiles do not absorb any of the applied product. The grout areas (think Portland cement) will certainly allow the wax to penetrate and will be next to impossible to remove while discoloring and becoming a breeding ground for germs.

In the men’s restroom, the waxed floor will certainly not respond to urine spills and will need frequent servicing to keep it looking clean and fresh. This area can also become a great source of odors and discoloration even with the best efforts of the cleaner.

I suggest you speak with the customer about their true goals and then offer to conduct tests on a sample rest room to demonstrate a more effective (need I say greener?) process that will make the floor not only easier to maintain but also safer and more attractive. You may need to educate them on the construction of ceramic tile, the true nature of grout and what is the recommended Best Practices for maintaining these area.

Good luck and let me know how it works out.

Your comments and questions are important. 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