A reader writes: “I like to put wax on all hard floors to give them a good shine. Why do you oppose that idea?”

I appreciate your enthusiasm for shiny floors and will do my best to clarify when floors should be shiny and when they should not. My first response is that as to floor maintenance, “one size does not fit all” situations.

Let’s start off with the clarification that the term “wax” is incorrect and we should be using terms such as “finish” which better describes the products in use today. Based on our conversation, you are not using the old carnauba paste wax that was in vogue some fifty years ago; rather you are comfortable with the term “wax” which is oaky so long as everyone at the table knows what you really mean.

The goal of floor finishes is part of an on-going effort to protect the floor surface from wear/tear and other use that can degrade the appearance and shorten the overall life of the floor. One key point is to stress that there are floors designed to have seal/finish on them such as VCT (vinyl composite tile), VAT (vinyl asbestos tile), terrazzo (in most cases) and even most rubber type flooring (so long as you are using the prescribed products). Water based seals and floor finishes can be applied, scrubbed, buffed/burnished and re-stripped with the goal of protecting the floor surface.

Hard floors that should NOT have floor finish include any ceramic, quarry or other manufactured floors that have grout lines. Other floors that should not have finish (aka wax) include marble, granite, other stone floors and some terrazzo floors. The recommended maintenance procedures for this type flooring is sweeping/vacuuming/dust mopping, damp mopping with a neutral detergent and using an auto-scrub if available. These floors usually cost more to install but can actually be considered cost effective over the life of the building or area when compared to VCT.

I encourage you to allow your vendors to utilize the recommended products and processes on your floors to achieve a safe, attractive, long wearing surface.

Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. 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.