6 Steps to Restore Resilient Hard Floors with a Floor Buffer
Abrasive soils are tracked through your facility every day, scratching and dulling your hard floors. A dull and dirty floor can hurt your business’ image and lead to increased customer complaints.
It is important to the life and appearance of your resilient hard floor that you have a complete and practical floor care program including daily, periodic, and restorative maintenance procedures.
Daily floor care is done every day. It includes the cheapest and least time-consuming cleaning procedures such as vacuuming, dust mopping, and damp mopping.
Periodic floor care is done when traffic has caused a noticeable level of wear and tear on your floor finish. Scrubbing and recoating (sometimes referred to as shower scrubbing) is the best way to periodically maintain your hard, resilient flooring.
It is recommended that in a facility with average foot traffic, periodic floor care is performed at least once every six months. In facilities with areas of high traffic, procedures may need to be completed quarterly (4x a year). Periodic floor care is more time consuming than daily floor care but is less expensive and labor intensive then restorative maintenance procedures.
Restorative floor care is used to restore and revive your floor when the damage is greater than what can be fixed with daily and periodic cleaning. Restorative procedures incorporate stripping and finishing and are the most labor-intensive, time-consuming cleaning procedures.
Daily maintenance of your resilient hard floors should always be supplemented with periodic maintenance procedures. Periodic maintenance, sometimes referred to as interim maintenance, is necessary to help protect your floor from damages, restore floor shine, and reduce the need for more labor and time intensive maintenance.
Periodic maintenance procedures can also help extend the life of your floors and your initial investment. For example, in a facility with average foot traffic, an unprotected (if you have inadequate layers of floor finish) and poorly maintained floor will wear out in 1 year, but with proper maintenance and protection, a floor can last 20-25 years.
In this article, we will go over the 6 steps to scrub and recoat your facility’s resilient hard floors with a floor buffer.
Properly performing scrub and recoat will eliminate the issue of “shiny, dirty floors”. Shiny, dirty floors occur when proper cleaning procedures are not performed and additional coats of floor finish are applied to “spruce up” the floor.
Scrubbing is done to remove any embedded dirt and soil from the floor without having to strip your floor. Stripping and refinishing your floor is time-consuming and expensive. Scrubbing and recoating will help reduce the frequency stripping and finishing needs to be completed.
Scrubbing will remove the top coat of finish to get rid of the dirt that has been embedded and to smooth out the areas where daily wear and tear has caused the finish not to shine.
Your periodic cleaning schedule will depend on the frequency and quality of your daily cleaning schedule and the level of traffic in each area of your facility. High-traffic areas, like entryways, will likely need to be scrubbed and recoated more frequently. Low-traffic areas will only need to be scrubbed and recoated two times a year.
Preparing to Clean
It is important to begin any cleaning procedure with the proper tools, commercial cleaning supplies, janitorial cleaning equipment, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Required Materials, Cleaning Supplies, & Equipment:
- Blue Scrubbing Pad
- All-Purpose Cleaner or Scrub and Recoat Product
- Dust Mop
- Flat Mop or String Mop
- Wet Mop & Bucket with Wringer
- Wet-Dry Vacuum
- Low-Speed Floor Buffer/Swing Machine
- Wet Floor Sign
Always begin any cleaning procedure by putting on the necessary personal protective equipment.
Place wet floor signs outside of the area to show guests that there is cleaning in progress and could be dangerous if they enter the area.
Prepare the floor by removing any furniture or fixtures in the area.
Step 1. Dust Mop the Floor
Perform dust mopping procedures to remove any loose dirt, dust, and debris that may be on the floor.
For information on dust mopping, check out our article, "4 Daily Procedures to Maintain Your Facility's Resilient Hard Floors".
Make sure there is no large debris left behind.
Step 2. Apply Cleaning Solution or Scrub and Recoat Product
Pro Tip: Dirt, sand, and other soils will eventually get ground into the top layer of floor finish. It’s important to remove this layer before recoating, otherwise, you will be covering the embedded soil in a new layer of finish. Finish that is not completely scrubbed off will lead to a dull, scratched appearance after recoating.
Beginning furthest from the door, liberally apply the all-purpose cleaner with a clean wet mop to the floor.
Allow product to sit on the surface of the floor for the recommended dwell time. The typical product needs to sit for 3-5 minutes. You should always make sure you are following the manufacturer's guidelines for proper product use, dilution ratio, dwell time, and product removal.
Do not let the floor dry. If you notice that the surface is drying you should apply more solution.
Step 3. Agitate With A Floor Buffer
Agitate the solution on the floor using a floor buffer with a blue scrubbing pad.
Pass over the area 3-4 times making sure you overlap each pass. Overlapping passes will make sure that you do not miss an area.
Warning: Cleaning solution can potentially be slippery. Walk in areas that have already been passed over with the floor buffer to avoid the risk of slipping and falling.
If the pad begins to experience build up or becomes worn, flip the pad over or change the pad.
Pro Tip: Using an autoscrubber to perform this procedure can increase productivity and allow you to get more done in the same amount of time.
An autoscrubber will allow you to apply the cleaning solution, scrub, and remove the slurry in fewer passes and with less labor than with a floor buffer.
Step 4. Remove Solution With a Wet-Dry Vac
It is critical to remove all dirty solution and water in this step. Any remaining solution or water can cause discolorations or uneven spots when you apply the new finish.
Step 5. Apply Water
Rinse the area with clean, cool water to make sure you have removed any leftover all-purpose cleaner or scrub and recoat product.
Use a wet-vac to remove water and any remaining solution. It is critical to remove as much water and remaining chemical as possible.
Pro Tip: Any remaining chemical may affect how well the finish adheres to the floor.
Allow the floor to fully dry. The floor will look a little dull now, but it will still have the base coat of finish. There should not be any scratches, heel marks, or cleaning residue left over.
Step 6. Apply 2 Coats of New Finish
It is important to apply two coats of fresh finish. The first coat will replace the coat that was just removed and the second coat will replace the coat that was “walked” off.
Using a clean flat mop or string mop, apply a thin, even layer of finish to your 10 ft by 10 ft working area. Avoid applying the finish too heavily.
Pro Tip: Applying finish too thick will result in a streaky or hazy finish.
Allow the first coat to dry before applying the second coat. It generally takes a minimum of 30-45 minutes to dry.
Pro Tip: If you do not allow the floor to dry in between coats it will result in a blotchy or tacky finish.
The appearance of your facility is important to tenant and guest satisfaction. Dirty and worn floors should be properly maintained with daily and periodic cleaning to avoid complaints and help keep tenants and guests happy.
Scrub and recoat procedures will keep your resilient hard floors looking great and can prevent the need for more costly restorative procedures, extend the life of your floor, and safeguard your investment.
EBP and other Imperial Dade locations have an unrivaled selection of floor buffers to help you maintain the appearance of your facility's floors.
Whether you're located in the United States, Puerto Rico, or the Caribbean, contact an EBP Specialist today for help deciding the best floor buffer to protect the clean appearance of your floors.