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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Question

What is your suggestion for cleaning, stripping and refinishing a large area of textured rubber floor (12000m2)? The customer insists on applying floor polish twice a month for a glossy appearance.


Answer

Here is a classic case of wanting something (high gloss) where it is next to impossible to have maintain it. Any textured floor will present the same problem. Because of the different levels, this floor is difficult to burnish or polish to bring out a gloss. The high spots get quickly worn off and look dull while the valleys shine with layers of finish and often sealed-in dirt.
Usually the rubber flooring manufacturers recommend no finish or only a light coating of a special flexible finish made for rubber tile. You should check the flooring manufacturer’s literature or talk to the distributor.
Having written that, let me add that, as with any flooring, good sense should prevail. Stripping frequently is not good for the budget, your back, or the floor. Adding 24 coats of finish each year will mean a lot of stripping to prevent build-up and it is just a bad expectation. Stripper will draw the plasticizers from the tiles making them brittle over time.
You may have to use brushes instead of pads under your floor machine to get down into the valleys. Some brush compositions are stiff for scrubbing and some are softer for polishing. Pick a pair from your supplier.
Explain to your customer that you wish to extend the life of the floor and save him money by simply cleaning and gently buffing the floor to a soft glow (minimum finish) rather than attempting to maintain a high gloss by wasting finish and stripper.
Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Associate Editor
lekrafft@juno.com