Lets perform an exercise to determine the time it takes to perform a given task utilizing the ISSA 540 Cleaning Times Standards.  The floor has evidence of poor maintenance with dirty baseboards/corners, finish being applied over dirty floor (reason for stripping rather than scrubbing) and rusted metal cabinets from past poor work.

We have two experienced/motivated workers who have been trained to achieving the desired standard.  Our tools/equipment include: 

1) two mop bucket/wringer sets

2) 20” low speed (175 RPM) side to side floor machine with drive block

3) black stripping pads

4) 10.5 pH no rinse stripper

5) 3 clean 32 oz cotton blended stripper/pick up mops

6) 2 new 24 oz finish mops

7) baseboard stripper

8) swivel baseboard tool with matching stripper pads

9) non slip safety shoes for workers

10) rubber gloves

11) 22 percent floor finish

12) old rugs, towels and rags for clean up.  

Using the ISSA 540 Cleaning Times Standards (or better still, your standards), how long will each task take?


 Minutes - Strip/recoat 1.000 SF of VCT flooring: ISSA Ref No.

_____ - Prep time including set up, move furniture, tape/protect surfaces _____

_____ - Dust mop/sweep floor _____

_____ - Strip baseboards and corners of old finish build up _____

_____ - Apply stripper solution to floor (recommended a section at a time) _____

_____ - Pick up slurry with wet vac _____

_____ - Flood floor with clean rinse water _____

_____ - Pick up solution with wet vac and verify floor is ready for first coat _____

_____ - After floor has dried, apply first coat of finish/seal (6” from baseboards) _____

_____ - Apply second coat of finish (6” from baseboards) _____

_____ - Apply third coat of finish (6” from baseboards) _____

_____ - Apply fourth coat of finish (wall to wall without touching baseboards) _____

_____ - Remove tape, replace furniture so room is ready for use _____

_____ - Total minutes divided by 60 = ______ total one workers hours


What would you do differently from the listed tasks?  If it were 10,000 SF instead of 1,000 SF would you use different equipment/processes?  What should your workers be doing while floor is drying? 

 As you can tell from the list of tasks, there is not a single ISSA number that captures all the steps involved.  There are also variables to take into account, including: 

1) size of tools such as mop heads (18 or 24 inch)

2) experience of workers

3) using a mop/bucket for pick up or a wet vacuum system

4) using fans/ac/heat to speed drying time

5) quality and type of chemicals used (such as a faster acting stripper or faster drying finish)

6) condition of floor being stripped/recoated

7) allowing sufficient time for finish to dry/cure, and ??????

The key point to get from this exercise is that you can only use time standards such as this as a benchmark.  It is highly recommended that you keep your own records and then compare your actual times to the published standards.  Don’t hesitate to experiment (on small areas/jobs) to find better, faster, safer, more effective ways of performing a task.  Your comments and questions are always 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.