In a preceding article, I related an incident where a poorly trained and unsupervised floor crew damaged a ceramic/quarry tile floor while using a potent mixture of stripper and bowl cleaner in an attempt at removing old floor finish and cleaning the grout lines at the same time. Unfortunately, their home brewed concoction damaged the ceramic tile surface and eroded the grout while pitting/discoloring the stainless steel in the affected rest rooms.  All this was the result of poor training and inadequate supervision.


Following are steps to consider in repairing the damage:

1. Conduct a thorough inspection of all areas to determine extent of damage and list each area that needs repair giving it a score of 1-5 with 1 being moderate damage and 5 being extreme.

2. Consider bringing in qualified floor specialists who can assist with the repairs and restoration.  This may include a person qualified to replace tiles and re-grout affected areas.

3. Consider consulting with the chemical manufacturer for guidance on how to proceed.

4. Carefully test areas to determine what can be restored safely and what will require further work.  Example:  Consider an oil based stainless steel polish and pad system to restore the rest room fixtures.  Although they may look terrible at first, the stainless respond as the corrosion is removed.

5. Begin mopping the affected floors with a neutral detergent (pH 7.5-8.5) solution to neutralize any residue left from the chemical reaction.

6. Identify a test area to apply a stronger mixture of a mild phosphoric acid (pH 5-6) mixed in water.  Allow this solution 5-10 minutes dwell time to determine removal/reduction of the haze and restore pH balance.  Always rinse thoroughly with water.

7. Repair and re-grout areas to give a consistent appearance in color and texture.  Consider applying a solvent based penetrating seal to the grout to protect it from future cleaning.

8. In consultation with chemical vendor, identify the best water based finish to apply to the tiles with the goal of a matte finish that will not highlight any damaged areas.  The goal should be 2-4 coats maximum.

9. Maintain floors with a neutral floor mop solution and microfiber flat mops that can keep the grout lines clean.

I doubt if the company made much profit on this contract and wonder if they were even able to salvage the business after this experience.  Hopefully they had good liability insurance. 

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