wet floor sign on lobby floor

A reader writes: "My older floor techs insist on using a seal for the first two coats on a VCT (vinyl composition tile) floor. My vendor says it is a waste of time. Who is right?"

Actually, they both can be right based on the circumstances under consideration. I am considered "old school" in that when I started in floor care (right after leaving the ark), I was trained to apply 1 to 2 coats of seal (water based) to a new floor or to an old worn (think porous) floor. I then applied 2 to 4 coats of finish to generate the requisite shine and buffable surface.

The reasoning at that time was seal had a different "molecule" size, which filled in the pores better than the finishes in use. Technology has surpassed this reasoning in all but the most extreme cases since many finishes today are considered "seal/finishes" and can be used instead of seal.

Of course, there are different nuances in these combo seal/finishes that can impact your decision. As I usually recommend, you need to test out the products you use on different types of floors to determine which is best for each individual case. You will find that in 85 to 90 percent of the floors you deal with, simply using a quality finish/seal will be sufficient thereby saving you space on your shelves for only one product.

The exceptions may be in a worn floor that has become porous over the years of wear and tear thereby causing it to need one to three coats of a heavier seal to restore it. Once these coats have been allowed to cure, you can use your standard finish to establish the degree of gloss you desire. I am sure there are those who disagree and I welcome your feedback.

I still encourage you to standardize your product line and use what you have determined to be the best brand so that you have some consistency in expectations as well as support from one manufacturer who can support your work.

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.