Ice, snow, moisture, mud and ice melts can damage floors if facility managers are not prepared.
Here are several ways to protect floors and ensure safety for building occupants, according to Rick Vanerkoy, president of Secure Clean, a contract building service company in the United States.
Build up the Floor’s Finish
Apply a floor finish. Many managers believe the purpose of a floor finish is to add a shine to the floor. While it will produce a shine, the real purpose of the floor finish is to protect the floor.
High-quality floor mats should be installed at all building entries. Along with high-quality mats, according to the American Institute of Architects, the length of the mat is key to its effectiveness. For instance, they report:
- Five feet of matting captures 33 per cent of debris entering a facility
- Ten feet of matting captures 52 per cent
- Twenty feet captures 86 per cent
- Twenty-five feet captures 100 per cent
“We recommend that our clients install at least 15 to 20 feet of matting at key building entries,” says Vanderkoy. “Another benefit is that it can help reduce cleaning costs.”
With these steps in place, the most effective ways to protect building floors during the winter months is with proper and effective floor maintenance.
Routine maintenance: The custodial workers should expand their floor cleaning duties during the winter months. Cleaning the lobby floor two or three times during the day, may be necessary.
Interim maintenance: More thorough cleaning calls for auto scrubbers. Just as the name implies, these machines scrub the floor automatically as they are moved over the floor. This step removes larger debris and soils that can harm the floor’s finish, and with it, the floor below.
Restoration: The process involves stripping all the finish off a floor, rinsing the floor, and then applying three or more thin coats of finish to the floor. But, if all the steps mentioned have been implemented, refinishing cycles may be delayed throughout the winter months. Floor care is labour-intensive, costly, not always environmentally friendly and can be disruptive to building users.