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?"

Testing for residual floor finish is usually conducted in one of the following ways:

1. Visually inspect for inconsistencies in the floor indicating that some finish/seal has not been removed. A stripped floor should have a consistently dull appearance. Remember that floors can be uneven and flat floor pads may not get into the depressions.

2. Using a razor blade (carefully) or putty knife gently scrape select areas to determine if there is any finish/seal on floor. If there is it would peel up in thin, powdery type sheets indicating not all residue has not been removed.

If there is still evidence of residue then you should strip again taking into account stripper mix as well as type pad or brush being used. If the process is not working you may need to review and change your steps or mix. Remember that uneven floors can limit a flat/stiff stripping pad in reaching some shallow areas. You do not want to damage the VCT by scraping too hard since the pigments have probably aged and there can be a marked difference even after finish/seal is reapplied.

If this is their greatest concern then you should be OK as to expectations based on a reasonable interpretation of the specifications. Note that when we return for next visit I will need you and/or your floor techs to demonstrate how to strip a floor, clean/spot carpet, apply floor finish and maintain equipment. You have had sufficient time to train your staff in these areas and I will be expecting you to not only have paperwork but actual results.

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.