winter safety tips for condo managers

Countering the effects of winter on floors

Tips to protect building lobby, common areas
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
By Jolynn Kennedy

In preparation of the changing weather, building managers should be proactive about floor care, especially in lobbies and key common areas that have hard surface flooring.

Here are six questions building managers should ask themselves during the lead up to winter in order to counteract the damage harsh weather can inflict on floors. By taking a little extra precaution now, floors will be cleaner and safer later; they will also be better protected throughout the cold winter months to come.

1. Has a highly durable finish been applied to the floor?
When it comes to floor care chemicals and finishes, cheaper products produce inferior results. Spending more for a high-quality product will eventually pay for itself in reduced cleaning and maintenance needs.

2. Are there enough layers of finish?
Some floors have a “summertime shine.” This usually means three to four coats of finish have been applied to the floor, which is then buffed/burnished on a regular basis. However, this is not sufficient for winter months. Instead, five or six coats should be applied to the floor to protect against the increased soiling that is likely to occur, as well as the more frequent cleaning and scrubbing that takes place during winter.

3. Has a winter lobby floor maintenance program been put in place?
Floor care practices that make the grade during summer months will not suffice when it is cold, raining and stormy on a regular basis during winter. Typically, all traditional floor care tasks, including vacuuming/sweeping, mopping, scrubbing and re-coating, should be performed more frequently during winter.

4. Is the floor being vacuumed?
The newest generation of backpack vacuum cleaners – which are quiet, easy to wear, better able to protect indoor air quality and more effective – have many cleaning professionals turning away from dust mopping, especially in smaller floor areas. Dust mopping has a tendency to push soils and dust from one area to another. This causes dust and debris to become airborne, which negatively impacts the health of the user as well as indoor air quality. Backpack vacuum cleaners more thoroughly remove soils and dust from the floor.

5. Are winter weather mats installed?
High-performance matting systems, which typically refer to mats that are purchased rather than rented, can capture and trap as much as 80 per cent of all soils before they enter a building. Many of these systems are bi-level, meaning soils and moisture actually drift below the surface, helping to keep the mat more effective. Be sure to install at least 15 feet of matting, if space allows.

6. Was the floor stripped and refinished during winter months?
Floor care experts generally agree that stripping and refinishing floors during winter months is a mistake. Instead, these tasks should be preformed when warmer weather arrives. Additionally, many finishes do not adhere properly during cold weather.

Jolynn Kennedy is the director of marketing at Tornado Industries Inc., a leading manufacturer of professional cleaning equipment.

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