Tips For Proper Stripping and Refinishing
The process and frequency of stripping and refinishing floors has changed over the past decade. Floor care equipment has improved, as have the processes and chemicals to maintain floors, helping to reduce stripping and refinishing frequencies. In fact, following a proper maintenance program will allow you to reduce stripping frequency to every 24 months or longer.
However, some cleaning professionals actually strip and refinish floors too frequently, which can create significant floor care problems. For instance, some cleaning professionals report that floors dry considerably faster after refinishing if they have been stripped too frequently.
"If floors are drying too quickly, it can mean the new finish may not adhere properly to the floor," says Mike Englund, a cleaning trainer and product manager for Powr-Flite. "More coats — and more time — may be necessary to build up the shine."
Another problem that can result from frequent stripping is powdering. According to Englund, this is when the finish forms a fine, light-colored film or powder on the surface of the floor.
"This can happen because the floor is 'bone dry' due to frequent stripping causing the finish to dry too quickly. Problems can increase in facilities with higher temperatures or located in drier climates."
How can you prevent these problems? Here are some recommendations:
• Scrub floors more frequently. Strip a floor only when the finish can no longer be repaired through techniques like deep scrub and recoating.
• Be careful to dilute the stripping chemical per manufacturer's instructions; using too much stripper can be as big a problem as stripping too frequently.
• Use the appropriate stripping pad; too abrasive a stripping pad can damage the floor.
• Rinse and dry the floor thoroughly before applying new finish.
• Develop a floor maintenance program that includes mopping, buffing, scrubbing and using restorers; this can reduce floor stripping cycles considerably.
"[And] in a larger facility, an autoscrubber can be a floor's best friend," adds Englund. "Cleaning, rinsing, and drying in one pass, they can keep even heavily trafficked floors looking great for months…even years."
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