Stripping and recoating is the procedure to use when the appearance and underlying integrity of the finish has degraded to the point of no return.  This used to be needed as often as quarterly or less than once every two to three years based on how the floor has been maintained.  

With the increasingly sophisticated floor finishes coming out, it is becoming increasingly common to see finish go as long as five years in between strip outs.  This can be achieved by an aggressive yet well thought out floor care program utilizing walk off mats, regular dust mopping, scrubbing/recoating and monitoring of how many coats are on the floor at any given time.  The challenge is knowing when to scrub and when to strip.  Check out the “Stop Light System” for a way of factually knowing how many coats of finish are on a given area of the floor at any time thereby providing guidance on what areas require what level of service.

Stripping chemicals are used to remove old coatings from floors. Try to verify what type of finish is on the floor before beginning any stripping procedures.  

Strippers come in two types: 1) solvent-based and 2) water-based.  Normally, you must strip a solvent-based coating with a solvent-base stripper and a water-base coating with a water-base stripper.  Your floor coating supplier can offer suggestions about which products to use together.  All strippers remove floor finish by combining the chemical action of the stripper with the mechanical action of a floor machine and appropriate pad or brush.  

Beware of any distributor marketing a urethane based product that they claim is low maintenance for years.  Such products are oftentimes very difficult to apply correctly and very difficult to remove without intensive labor and expensive chemicals.  That distributor may be long gone and unavailable to assist when the dreaded day comes to remove their product.  Any savings gained in the short run is oftentimes lost when the floor has to be stripped to the bare again. 

As always, a knowledgeable consultative vendor/distributor can bring experience and solutions to the table that will more than pay for themselves over time. 

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