A reader asks: "Our customer is complaining that all the finish was not removed when we stripped and recoated the floor. We have stripped the floor five times. I think it is mold. What are your thoughts?"

There are several factors to stripping an old VCT (vinyl composite tile) floor that can impact your outcomes. For instance, stripping the floor five times with the wrong stripper solution may not work. The chemistry of emulsifying the finish/seal is very important so take into account strength of the solution, contact time as well as appropriate pads or brushes. I have been in situations where the floor tech simply did not know how to mix the solution and used the wrong type pad. Once we fixed the process, the floor stripped out easily.

I am not aware of mold causing this type shadow on VCT (vinyl composite tile) and recommend that you consult with your vendor for clarification and assistance. Since the tile is relatively old it is not going to have a perfect consistency even if all the finish/seal has been removed. Unfortunately applying finish/seal will oftentimes highlight any defects.

My recommendation is to be sure the customer cannot scrape up residue in the test area and then have them inspect with the understanding that you have made a good faith effort in response to their concerns. Sometimes old floors defects are highlighted by floor finish which appears to be the case in this situation. I noted many areas (some very old flooring) that should be kept clean and safe to walk on but should not be expected to look new since they are past design life in some cases. Be careful in applying finish/seal that you blend in the area as good as possible with the area that was not stripped.

Just remember the four parts of cleaning: Temperature, Agitation, Concentration and Time. More about that later.

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.