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Friday, November 28, 2014

Question

I am trying to achieve better quality results with our floor care services. We provide these services for schools, churches, and office buildings, typically VCT or Terrazzo flooring. We always apply 25% non-slip, high quality finish, but I am looking for a solution to reduce imperfections such as bubbles, hairs and particles that always seem to end up in the finish. We are using rayon finishing mops (string, not flat) and are very careful to make sure the floor is very clean post strip/scrub and pre re-finishing, including removing all loose fibers from the black stripping pads, etc. Regardless, it never seems to come out as immaculate as I see in certain retail stores. I understand that retail stores are propane burnished and receive care more frequently than the semi-annual floor care we provide, but is there a middle ground? I understand that burnishing between coats of finish application and can help remove some imperfections, but it is labor intensive, takes much more time and, of course, adds expense. When stripping and refinishing an entire school during the summer, it would be out of the question. What do you suggest to achieve that "retail/propane burnished" look? I am considering experimenting using microfiber flat mops for applying finish, but have yet to see a a proper finish/bucket system for this, aside from the all in one set-ups such as Johnson Diversey's Pro-Speed system. Since microfiber flat mops for finish require more coats, it seems a bit more time consuming, although I do understand that each coat requires less drying time since they are thinner. Any insight would be appreciated as we try to active better results.


Answer

There are numerous microfiber flat mop application systems that allow the finish to be dispensed from a container on the handle or in a back pack setup. You do not want to use a bucket setup with flat mops for placing finish. Too messy and wasteful.
You say microfiber mops require more coats, but having used them for years, I have never seen that problem. It all depends, as with any application system, on the amount of finish you place on the floor to spread with the pad. You can dribble it or pour it or anything in between. Practice until you get it as you want it.
Plus, as you said, thin coats dry faster and are what most finish providers recommend for their products.
When you use a microfiber flat mop, it will pick up all manner of small stuff during the placing of the first coat. For this reason, move the applicator as you would a dust mop, keeping one side as the leading edge.
Keep an eye on the microfiber pad and when it appears to be loaded with hair, fiber, dust and whatever, pull it off the holder and rinse it off in a nearby mop sink. Wring it out well and put it back into use where it will again collect all that annoying stuff you are talking about.
The second coat will show far less debris and you can probably just keep working. Keep in mind that small objects such as hair and dead flies will soon disappear with the wear and the traffic.
Another approach would be to use a microfiber pickup pad before you place any finish. Just go over the floor and let the dry pad accumulate the debris. This will reduce the materials sealed in and the first coat with a microfiber pad will catch even more.

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