Floor Care topics including floor finishing and stripping. Mopping, cleaning, floor machines, dust mops, matting and hard floor issues.

Floor Finish Shine

Floor Finish Shine How It Works

How Does Floor Finish Shine? In another post, I talked about floor finish solids and what they really are. In this one, I will cover why floor finish shines. Floor finish shine is a result of nothing more than the reflection of light on a smooth surface. Getting a floor to have a glossy, wet look is a challenge for many in the floor care industry. This may shed some light (pun intended) on the reasons your floors look dull.

Before we can prescribe a fix for your dull floor, we must establish an understanding of how floor finish shine happens and why floors need finish in the first place. Read more

Floor Finish Solids Wax Solids

Floor Finish Solids Explained

What Are Floor Finish Solids Anyway?

Floor finish solids are an extremely important part of any floor finish. In fact, the solids are really all that is used after floor finish is applied.

The solids are the plastic or polymer molecules that are left on the floor when you apply finish and can have a big impact on the performance of the finish. The size and make up of these polymer molecules can very from brand to brand and can require different types of maintenance. Chemical liquids such as water, emulsifiers, wetting and leveling agents make up the remainder of the floor finish content. But in the end though, the solids are what make up to protective coating that you rely on.  Read more

backpack vacuums back pain

Backpack Vacuums Not Back Pain Vacuums

Don’t Backpack Vacuums Hurt Your Back?

When asked this question, I always have to laugh and tell my soon to be famous story of the lady that worked for me cleaning offices and her experience with backpack vacuums. She was constantly having back and arm pain. Each day she would groan when she would stand up and say “Oh! My back is killing me!” One day I asked if she had every tried a backpack vacuum. Well you would have thought that I had asked her to move an entire room of file cabinets. She said there was no way that her back would be able to withstand an entire shift with “that thing” on her back. Read more

dirty carpet

What Does Dirty Carpet Look Like?

I have always been told about the how dirty carpet causes damage to the structure of the carpet itself, but I had never actually seen it. While it just makes sense that abrasive soil and sand grind away at the plastic fibers, I am from Missouri and I have to see it for myself.

dirty carpet up closeUsing a microscope, I took some pictures of well used carpet. To put it lightly, I was amazed at what dirty carpet looked like up close. Jagged edges, debris, and broken fibers were prevalent through-out the entire carpet.

Vacuuming To Prevent Dirty Carpet

Keeping this kind of damage to a minimum starts with vacuuming. Not just any vacuuming but consistent, overall vacuuming.

Most people focus on the dirt they can see when vacuuming. It is best for the carpet to vacuum the entire area. Dirt gets trapped deep in the carpeting. As foot traffic pounds away, the dirt gets packed into the base of the carpeting. This forms a layer of dirt that grinds away at the carpet fibers. As the carpet fibers break, the overall appearance of the flooring is diminished. Therefore, the carpet is damaged, and damaged carpet cannot be fixed.

Regular vacuuming will keep this dirt from building up and add to the life of the carpet.

Choosing The Right Vacuum Cleaner

The performance and efficiency of your vacuum cleaner plays a key role in the life of your carpet. By using vacuums with higher air flow or cubic feet per minute and superior filtration, more dirt is removed from carpet. Any vacuum can pick up visible dirt. For the best results, use one that will get the dirt you cannot see.

There are many types of vacuum cleaners. It is personal preference and facility demands that decide which types you should consider when selecting a vacuum cleaner. On board tools and size are important to some but noise levels, capacity and portability may be important too others.

The important thing is to remember to use it often. Staying in control of the dirt is what makes any vacuuming program successful. Keep in mind, dirty carpet takes more vacuuming than you may think!

How Many Coats of Floor Finish?

How Many Coats of Floor Finish Do You Need?

I am always getting the question “How many floor finish coats do I need to properly protect floors?”

I have always used  4-6 coats as my standard answer. This comes from experience and the manufactures guidelines.

Since I grew up in Missouri and the “Show Me” principle runs through my blood, I thought I would do a little experimenting to find out if I really knew what I was talking about and find out how many floor finish coats were really needed.

Floor Finish Experiment – How Many Floor Finish Coats Are Needed?

Using a USB microscope, a piece of vinyl floor tile (VCT) and a 20% solids floor finish, I set out to take a look at what is going on at the floor level when applying floor finish. Over the years, I have applied countless layers of floor finish. While I have learned to recognize when a floor is properly protected, I wanted to see it up close.

Here Is How I Did It

First I took a new piece of VCT and stripped it using a standard, no rinse floor stripper. I did this by applying the stripper, allowing it to set and then scrubbing with the center of a black floor pad. I then rinsed the tile and allowed it to dry.

Then I took tape and divided the tile into 6 sections and applied a coat of 20% solids floor finish to the entire tile. Allowed it to dry for 30 minutes and then repeated the steps, excluding one section each time I applying additional floor finish coats. Here is what I came up with once the process was complete. (These images were taken at approx. 400x magnification.)

Step 1 – Prepping The Tile
Bare Tile Floor

Step 2 – Apply 1 Floor Finish Coat

One Layer Of Floor Finish

Step 3 – Apply 2nd Layer of Floor Finish

Two Layers Of Floor Finish

Step 4 – Apply 3rd Layer of Floor Finish

Three Layers Of Floor Finish

Step 5 – Apply 4th Layer of Floor Finish

Four Layers Of Floor Finish

Step 6 – Apply 5th Layer of Floor Finish

Five Layers Of Floor Finish

Step 7 – Apply 6th and Final Layer of Floor Finish

Six Layers Of Floor Finish

Analysis and Conclusion

As you can see, there is very little difference between the first and 3rd coat. Once you get to the 4th application, the floor finish really starts to build and show depth.

Since protection is what applying floor finish is all about, I would have to say that a minimum of 4 coats are needed to fill the areas of the floor that would be able to hold dirt and residue. This also where you begin seeing the gloss and shine on the tile.

This helps to answer the question “How many floor finish coats do I need to use.” This of course depends on the type of finish and the floor, but at the minimum, it is a starting point. I don’t think I would ever go to the effort refinishing a floor without applying 6 coats. It is just too much work to not make sure it’s done right.

I have applied more on jobs over the years, but after 6-8 there isn’t much added shine. The number of floor finish coats can determine the longevity of the re-coating cycle, but too many can also be costly.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Let me know in the comments how many floor finish coats you think is right.

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automatic floor scrubber

Automatic Floor Scrubbers Are No Longer A Luxury

While shopping with my family the other day, we saw a custodian mopping the floor. Both the water and mop were extremely dirty and as was the floor she had just “cleaned.” My first thought was to wonder why they didn’t use an automatic floor scrubber. She was working really hard and getting poor results. It frustrates me when custodians put so much effort into cleaning but are not given the best tools for the job. Read more

square scrubber floor stripping

Square Scrubber Floor Stripping 101

The idea of a square floor scrubber has been around for decades with limited success. The concept was good but not good enough to change the way the cleaning industry operates. This is quickly changing thanks to the pairing of square scrubber floor stripping with abrasive pad technology. This process mechanically removes floor finish without the need for hazardous chemical strippers. The concept is changing the way floor care is looked and giving those that choose to understand it, a lot of opportunities. But the majority of the industry does not understand why it works. Here is what you need to know about the dry stripping with a square scrubber phenomenon. Read more

water base gym finish

Why You Want To Use Water Base Gym Finish

Water base gym finish has many advantages that make it an attractive option when refinishing your basketball hardwood courts, but understanding these benefits and making sure they are the right choice for your gym floor maintenance program is a must. Read more

gym floor finish

Cleaning Up Close: Gym Floor Finish

Refinishing gym floors is a very labor and time intensive process. I wanted to understand the effects of use on gym floor finish and how the damage to the surface caused the floor to lose it’s shine. I had an opportunity to take a closer look at a floor using a microscope at 400x magnification. I was surprised at what I saw. Read more

back pack vacuum benefits

6 Back Pack Vacuum Advantages You May Not Realize

Do you use a back pack vacuum? You should be. There are many back pack vacuum advantages that many have yet to adopt.

The concept of the back pack vacuum is very simple. There is a canister that contains a motor, filters and collection bag. This is connected to a light weight wand by way of a hose. The wand typically has a floor tool attached that swivels. Once you place the canister on your back with the shoulder straps all you have to do is adjust the fit to be comfortable and start vacuuming. Although early designs were revolutionary in the cleaning business, they did have some drawbacks including comfort, weight, heat dispersal and maneuverability. That has all changed.

Here Are 6 Back Pack Vacuum Advantages

1. Limited Maintenance

Since back pack vacuums are direct suction, meaning there is no brush or belt blocking the flow of air, there is nothing to break or clog. Clogs can occur if the volume of debris is extreme, but items such as pebbles, paper clips, wood chips and even pen caps are not a problem to pick up. There is usually a replaceable paper bag and filter that will need to be replaced but no major replacement items. Less downtime makes everyone happy!

2. More Than The Floor

Back pack vacuums are great for more than just cleaning the floor. Because you don’t have a bulky machine on the floor, it is possible to reach a lot more places. Window sills, vents, cobwebs up in the corner. Almost anywhere you can reach, you can use a back pack vacuum. When you have a telescopic wand, reaching new heights and places is as easy as sliding the floor tool off and adding a dusting or crevasse tool.

3. Quiet

No one likes to be distracted. This usually makes vacuuming an after hours event. With technology advancing everyday, back pack vacuums are more quiet all the time. The fact that they don’t have brush motors that add excess noise makes them great for accomplishing more during business hours.

4. Go Places No Other Type of Vacuum Can Go

Without the limiting factor of a big canister or upright body, back pack vacuums let you get in areas other types of vacuums wouldn’t reach. I love being able to get those dust bunnies behind desks and cubicles. You can even get those areas behind trash cans where no one has seen since the carpet was new!

5. Not Just For Carpet

We tend to think of vacuuming as a carpet only operation. But with back pack vacuums, you can pretty much vacuum any type of floor. Instead of grabbing a broom, put on your back pack vacuum. Brooms have been shown to stir up dust which leads to more cleaning. When you vacuum a pile of dust rather than sweeping it, the debris gets captured and thrown away without worrying if it will settle back down to fight another day.

6. Stand Tall and Save Your Back

Vacuuming is one of the worst activities you can do on a regular basis for your back. The twisting action combined with the weight of the machine itself puts an unnatural strain on your body. Because back pack vacuums mainly use a light weight wand, there is a lot less demand for your back and arms. If you have a good harness built into the unit, you will hardly even notice you are wearing it!

What Is To Come For Back Pack Vacuums?

It seems like I am always find more back pack vacuum advantages. As they become more popular, their uses are always evolving. With cordless back pack vacuums entering the market and technology making them even more effective all the time, who know? You may find yourself relying on back pack vacuums for a lot more than you ever did your upright. I know I do.