Why a floor destroyed by winter weather may not need replacing

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A couple of years ago, an Ottawa senior center had a big decision to make. Spring had arrived following a particularly rough winter and the facility’s floor had taken a real beating. So bad was the damage, management were considering spending $15,000 to replace it.

However, on the advice of their janitorial distributor, they decided to see if it was possible to rejuvenate the floor. A process known as a ‘scrub and recoat’ in professional cleaning circles.

This involves a deep clean cleanse of the surface using a floor machine, followed by the application of thin coats of floor finish.

The scrub and recoat was a success and saved the building thousands. Additionally, the floor now had a layer of protection, helping to prevent soil, grit, moisture, and other contaminants from damaging it in the future.

Can my floor be saved?

While a floor may look drab, dull, even damaged after the winter months, underneath may still be a beautiful surface, just waiting to shine. Scrubbing and recoating can not only save managers the cost of replacing the floor, but if done correctly, it also can help stretch refinishing cycles, which in turn is better for the environment.

However, much depends on whether the surface was properly refinished before the winter months, using a high-quality floor finish.

How do I rejuvenate my floor?

The first step is to clean the floor by mopping it thoroughly with a neutralizer. Ice melt residue may still be present and cleaning the ground with a neutralizer should help remove this residue. This process may need to be repeated.

It’s recommended that the ground be rinsed after each cleaning. Some neutralizers leave a film on the floor, which can impact slip-resistance. You can check for this by wiping your palm across the surface. If any residue remains it will be visible on your hand.

With the floor now clean, the next step is to evaluate its condition. Analyze the following:

  • If there are nicks, scratches, moisture damage, or stains, a scrub and recoat will likely not rectify these issues.
  • If the floor now has a flat (no shine) but clean look, this is a good sign and a scrub and recoat may improve it.
  • If there is a shine after cleaning, this indicates the finish has held up well. Again, a scrub and recoat may save it.

The role of automatic scrubbers

The rejuvenation of the floor is typically very dependent on the use of an automatic scrubber.

As the name implies, these machines are designed to deep scrub a floor, removing scuff and heel marks, soils, oil, and even grease. As it is moved over the surface, a cleaning solution is applied, while the pad agitates the floor, loosening soils, which are then vacuumed up.

Mopping a 2,000-square-foot area takes about 30 minutes. Using an automatic scrubber can reduce that time to about ten minutes.

The takeaway

Hard surface floors are expensive.  However, if properly cared for, they can last for years, if not decades.

Do not rush to replace a dull or damaged looking floor. Very often, all that is needed is a scrub and recoat to rejuvenate the floor, bring back its luster, and save building owners and managers thousands of dollars in the process.

Irina Kem is Senior Director of Marketing for Swish, one of Canada’s leading distributors of professional cleaning equipment.

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