Maintenance protects your investment, plain and simple. As any facility manager knows, renovations are expensive. And proper maintenance pays dividends when compared to ripping and replacing every five years.
Flooring is no exception. Your floor endures foot traffic, spills and the weight of equipment and furniture on a daily basis. You need to have a flooring maintenance plan in place to extend the life of the flooring system and keep the manufacturer’s warranty intact.
Developing your facility’s flooring maintenance plan
The key to any flooring maintenance plan is to take a proactive, holistic approach instead of a reactive, as-needed one. This means implementing a plan right after a flooring system is installed — not waiting until the flooring is damaged to schedule a restorative cleaning.
It typically doesn’t cost anything to have a flooring contractor build a custom maintenance plan for your facility because their contract is for the actual maintenance work. So there’s no reason not to enlist the experts. And a flooring contractor will add value by tailoring your daily cleaning and periodic maintenance procedures to your facility’s budget — and how your facility is actually used.
They’ll begin by sitting down with the building owner or facility manager to read the floorplan, asking:
• What’s your maintenance budget?
• How is each area of your facility used?
• What are the manufacturer-recommended maintenance procedures for each product in your facility?
The answers to each will affect your maintenance plan. Consider a flooring product with manufacturer guidelines that call for weekly deep cleans. That frequency level might be cost-prohibitive for a facility with a lower maintenance budget. To maximize the power of your budget and prevent premature flooring failure, it makes sense to break out maintenance frequency by traffic patterns.
Break out your facility floorplan by product and traffic level
Armed with your facility floorplan and the answers to the above questions, your contractor will get to work. They’ll label each room on your floorplan by product and traffic level (low, medium, high). Working within the constraints of your budget, they’ll develop frequencies for routine (vacuuming, spot cleaning) and periodic (interim deep cleaning) maintenance based on each traffic level.
You might, for instance, have your in-house janitorial staff take care of routine maintenance once a day for high-traffic areas (e.g., lobbies, copy rooms, main hallways) and only three times a week for low-traffic areas (e.g., conference rooms, offices). And your flooring contractor might take care of periodic maintenance activities monthly for high-traffic areas and semi-annually for low-traffic areas.
The specific maintenance activities required will vary widely by product category and manufacturer. For example, a luxury vinyl tile (LVT) product from one manufacturer might have slightly different manufacturer-recommended maintenance instructions than a similar product from another manufacturer. The differences tend to lie in the proprietary cleaning chemicals and equipment recommended, not the general process.
The importance of taking a holistic look at flooring maintenance
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to facility flooring maintenance. There are dozens of manufacturers, hundreds of products and scores of facility types — which is why every maintenance program needs to be designed on a case by case basis.
A myriad of factors —flooring product, budget, traffic level, facility environment— affect your facility’s maintenance needs. Something as simple as buying walk-off mats to place near sinks and coffee pots in your breakroom or cleaning the sidewalks right outside your front door can prevent damage to your flooring and save thousands in the long run.
That’s why it’s important to work with a maintenance professional with a thorough understanding of flooring to create your program. They’ll look at all factors collectively, stretching your maintenance budget as far as possible while still protecting your flooring system from failure.
Aaron Hartung is the marketing manager at Spectra Contract Flooring, the largest commercial flooring contractor in the U.S. The preceding article is excerpted with permission from the company’s resource centre, which can be accessed in full at Spectracf.com/developing-maintenance-plan-carpet-LVT-VCT-ceramic-flooring/.