A reader asks: "We have a relatively small building that has new ceramic tiles in the rest rooms, new VCT (vinyl composite tiles) in some areas, old crumbling VCT in one room and one room with the nine inch squares which appear to be VAT (vinyl asbestos tiles). The customer wants us to apply wax to all of the floors to give it a shiny look. Any suggestions?"

First of all, you need to get clear directions in writing from the customer absolving you of results since their directions can cause serious shortcomings in the future. Each floor type you described requires different treatment. A "one size fits all" mentality will not work for many reasons. I am always amazed at a building owner installing ceramic tile and then applying floor finish to make it shine beyond what it was designed to do. Most of us recognize that installing ceramic tiles cost more than VCT initially but we can recoup some or all of the costs over time due to simply sweeping, mopping and occasionally scrubbing without the need to stripping or applying finish. Treating a ceramic tile floor like VCT defeats one of the primary benefits of installing it. The only "seal" that should be considered for ceramic tiles is the grout lines which can last longer and resist soiling if sealed every three to five years.

Most floor care techs will recommend using a neutral detergent with a microfiber flat mop (for getting into grout lines) for daily maintenance. Mopping with a synthetic detergent over a period of time can give a light sheen that can be buffed with a soft bristle brush. If done correctly, this process can give a low luster shine that can easily be removed with hot water and scrubbing.

We will continue with this subject in a future article.

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.