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Maintaining Entryway Floors
BY Ronnie Garrett
“There are certain areas of the building you need to pay close attention to; No. 1 is the entryway,” says Teresa Farmer, sustainability consultant at Kelsan Inc., Knoxville, Tenn. “Your entryway sets the standard for how clean visitors think the building is.”
Placing 12 to 15 feet of entrance matting outside and inside a facility’s entrance can capture 80 to 90 percent of the dirt on people’s shoes. But to continually provide a sparkling facility, end users will have to do more than strategically place matting. Entryway floors must be regularly maintained, too.
When Farmer helps organizations devise effective cleaning programs, her advice goes beyond chemicals and equipment to setting up daily and periodic maintenance plans. This involves vacuuming mats and sweeping/mopping hard floors. Periodic maintenance includes things such as extracting mats and carpets and polishing hard floors.
“These areas will become stained and soiled over time and will require a deep cleaning,” says Farmer.
While some facilities utilize a matting rental program that collects soiled matting and replaces it with clean mats, these mats still require daily vacuuming and weekly shaking to remove dust and other contaminants. Regularly pressure washing or extracting mats also keeps them functioning at their best.
“Eventually, depending on the winter or weather you’re having, you will want to extract the mats,” says Jon Scoles, managing partner of Scoles Floorshine Industries, Wall, N.J. “But most entrance mats are designed to take a pretty good beating, before you do this.”
The floors beneath the mats also require care. The fine particles remaining on people’s shoes can scratch and damage floor surfaces if not tended to regularly.
Experts recommend daily dust mopping or vacuuming of hard surface floors such as stone, porcelain or ceramic tile to remove fine particles, and if necessary, using an autoscrubber. Because these areas are subject to high-soil load, Scoles recommends using a floor cleaner with a neutral pH.
“The only time you would use a different chemical is in the winter,” he says. “At that time, you’ll want to use a neutralizer because the salt or ice melter being tracked in isn’t cleaned well with a neutral cleaner. You need something that neutralizes that material and removes it from the floor.”
Because floor surfaces run the gamut from ceramic tiles to marble to terrazzo and even rubber, end users will need to know how to properly maintain different entryway floor surfaces.
Marble or terrazzo floors can require specialized cleaning equipment and expertise to keep them clean and maintained. Cleaners often struggle with keeping the grout lines of ceramic tiles clean. Not every cleaning agent can be used on rubber floors, and most require one with anti-slip properties, says Jim Traudt, vice president of sales for Right Choice Janitorial Supply, Milwaukee. Autoscrubbers can scratch some vinyl floors making them appear dull over time.
Regardless of the flooring type, installing proper matting and following up with routine floor care and exterior care can give a facility that great lasting impression the minute tenants and visitors walk through the front door.
Ronnie Garrett is a freelance writer based in Fort Atkinson, Wis.
POSTED ON: 8/10/2011