Regular routine maintenance and interim maintenance procedures will extend the life of your floor, but over time, even the most well-maintained floor begins to fail. Yellowing finish, scuff marks, and obvious wear patterns in high traffic areas will be visible.
When routine and interim maintenance procedures no longer provide the desired look for your floors, it is time to perform restorative maintenance. This involves stripping the finish from the floor and re-applying new, fresh coats.
The stripping process leaves the floor surface clean, film free, and ready for new layers of protective coating. The floor is restored to its original, beautiful shine, and can then be maintained using routine and interim maintenance procedures before it needs to be stripped and re-finished again.
Basic Restorative Maintenance Steps:
- Gather all your supplies before getting to work. You don’t want to have to stop in the middle of cleaning to grab something you’ve forgotten.
- Prepare the floors by vacuuming and/or dust mopping and scraping up any gum or stickers. Be sure to properly dispose of any dirt or soiling (don’t just push it to the side or leave it in a corner). It is essential that the floor be as clean as possible before you begin the stripping and refinishing process.
- Place wet floor signs around your work area. It’s important to alert building occupants (if you are refinishing the floor during normal business hours) and prevent them from walking across your work area.
- Apply the stripper to the floor, and let it stand for 5-10 minutes. Do not allow the stripper to dry on the floor. First go over the area with an auto scrubber with the vacuum off and the squeegee up, allowing the machine to scrub the solution onto the floor using a black floor pad. Then go back over the floor with the vacuum on and the squeegee down, so you can pick up the dirty solution. It’s best to work in a small section of about 6-8 feet wide. If you do not have an auto scrubber or are working in a confined space, use a mop, floor machine, and wet/dry vac.
- Rinse the floor. Use a mop and bucket full of clean water to remove any remaining slurry and residue. After the floor is dry, check with your hand to make sure there is no residue left. If there is, mop the floor again. Also, be sure to detail corners, edges, and hard-to-reach areas with the doodle bug and/or a razor blade scraper. Wipe down all baseboards as well.
- Apply a high-quality finish to the floor. Place a new, clean trash liner into a bucket and then fill with your preferred floor finish. Apply the finish with a clean rayon or microfiber mop. Tip: Rinse the finish mop out prior to use. Even brand new mops can contain dust and lint, which can be transferred to the floor. Because the floor has been completely stripped, multiple coats will be required, and each coat will need about 20-30 minutes to dry. 7
- When the job is done, be sure to thoroughly clean all equipment. Clean equipment works better, lasts longer, and will make your next cleaning job easier.
- Do not place a fan directly on the floor to accelerate drying. This will cause the layer of finish to dry too quickly, not allowing a proper film to cure.
- Dispose of remaining floor finish. Never place it back in the container.
- When applying multiple coats of finish, keep the initial coats 6-8 inches away from the edges of the room or hallway. The final coats should then be applied to the edges. This prevents unnecessary buildup along the edges.
- Be sure to use high-solids, extended wear finishes. These finishes require fewer coats and deliver a great appearance.