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Saturday, November 01, 2014

Question

Could you please address taping off and other prep work including procedural recommendations for stripping and finishing an open (Terrazzo flooring) staircase with 2nd floor to ground level windows. The individual stairs are not open, just the sides of the stairway. This is difficult to describe; the main issue I am concerned about is the running over of slurry and finish during the work process while still allowing a complete strip and recoat job to be performed. Of course, there is a railing to protect that is mounted into the stairs. We have sheets of plastic and tape, but stripper runs beneath the tape in other work situations we have performed.


Answer

There will be run-off or run-over only if a heavy solution is applied and the tread flooded. So don't do that.
Apply the stripper with any device that will allow it to be spread and agitated without loss of control. While a string mop may not do that, a dedicated microfiber pad can. Place the stripper carefully with a saturated but not dripping pad, work it in, allow the recommended dwell time, agitate with the pad again, vacuum the slurry, rinse with the same sort of application technique, vacuum the rinse, damp mop to finish, and let dry.
A no-rinse stripper works well for this sort of operation. Regardless of the name, rinse it well.
Have dry cloths handy for wiping the railing and risers.
When applying finish, use a clean microfiber pad and place the finish without splashing and pushing it around. Pour a small amount of finish onto the tread and use the pad to spread and level it. You will not need a lot of coats on the outside of the treads near the railing supports, so don't put them there. Next time you need to scrub and recoat (which I recommend rather than frequent stripping) you will have less finish to work on near the edges and your risk of making a mess will lessen.

Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Editor
lekrafft@juno.com