Not all hard floor is the same and there is a continuing challenge to educate customers and tenants on which floors can have a “uniform glossy appearance” and which are not. For example, VCT (Vinyl Composite Tile), Terrazzo, Rubber and certain other surfaces can accept and actually require finish or seal to protect them from foot traffic.

Other surfaces such as glazed ceramic tiles (think the one-inch squares in many restrooms) should not have seal or “wax” applied since the originally intended low maintenance floor has now become high maintenance to the detriment of everyone involved. My suggestion to customers and tenants is if they want a high-gloss floor, have a floor installed that is designed for those ends. Please do not require your custodial service to apply seal/finish to floors not designed to accept the products.

Are there exceptions? My response is that if the floor surface is very old, worn or pitted it may be necessary to apply a water-based (or petroleum-based) seal/finish to not only protect the floor but also to give it a uniform luster. The decision as to whether or not to apply finish should be on a case-by-case basis. First, test the floor to determine what would work best to produce the desired outcome. For example, could you accomplish the same goal by using a diamond pad system or some type of mop on product that can be buffed/burnished without multiple lays of finish being applied? How are you going to protect the grout?

Remember that whatever goes down on a floor usually has to come up. Research and look for the best options to satisfy the customer while being environmentally friendly and keeping labor costs under control.

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