Daily maintenance, matting and interval scrub and recoats will help prolong the need for floor stripping. But even customers with the most effective floor care programs must eventually face the strip and recoat cycle. Fortunately, distributors can help them ease the process and reduce the workload.

“Some customers break their facility into three or four sections, and one year they’ll rotate them like farmers rotate fields,” says Bill Allen, a sales rep for Fagan Sanitary Supply, West Elizabeth, Pa. “They’ll strip a fourth of their facility each year, so they’re breaking that task of stripping a floor into a 25 percent task instead of stripping the whole facility at one time. In essence, they still have their floor stripping cycle every four or five years, but this makes it less labor intensive.”

Allen also suggests customers avoid applying coats of finish edge-to-edge and wall-to-wall.

“I recommend the first coat go in about six to eight inches from the wall, the second coat about three to four inches, and the third coat wall to wall,” he explains. “When it’s time to strip the floor, it’s not as labor intensive removing all the coats of finish on the edges that haven’t been worn because no one walks there.”

Finally, Allen stresses the importance of using the right equipment when floor stripping.

“There are tools now that allow you to apply floor finish with a flat mop, thus greatly reducing the risk of getting finish on baseboards,” he says. “That’s a nightmare to remove.”

When distributors are helping customers streamline their floor stripping and recoating process, communication is essential.

“I think it’s important to sit down with your customer and determine what their expectations are regarding their floor care program and what level of appearance they want to maintain,” says Jeff Zluticky, senior territory manager for Massco, Wichita, Kan. “As salespeople we go in and think they want a really high gloss when maybe they don’t want that. So there isn’t a one-size floor care program that fits everyone.”

By tailoring a floor care program to meet customer expectations and evaluating that program on an ongoing basis, distributors can help customers maximize time and minimize costs associated with floor stripping and recoating.

“Usually floor care is the first impression people have of a facility when they walk in,” says Zluticky, “I like to make sure floor care procedures are being followed so that first impression is a good one.”

Kassandra Kania is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, N.C. She is a frequent contributor to Sanitary Maintenance.