Floors take a lot of abuse from us. And while we aren’t abusing them on purpose, just walking back and forth on them, especially in high-traffic areas, takes a toll on them. It’s inevitable, no matter what, floors will change with age. However, by taking care of them properly, you can increase their useful life and preserve their appearance so that they last longer and cost you less in the long run. All types of floors need maintenance, from stone floors to vinyl and hardwood to urethane-finished floors. But how can you maintain your floors as efficiently as possible better? A professional floor stripping and waxing once or twice a year, depending on your needs, can be the solution. Many steps are necessary in order to obtain a beautiful and lasting floor finish. Here are the main steps to strip and wax floors and the key benefits that make stripping and waxing a necessity.
1. Preparation, planning and stripping and waxing products
The first step to strip and wax floors is to properly evaluate the sections and types of flooring you want to treat. Different commercial flooring types need different types of floor stripping solutions and waxes. For example, different products are needed to strip and wax floors like hardwood and linoleum floors. After you found the right floor stripper and wax, make sure you have access to 2-3 mop buckets with water to be sure you don’t cross contaminate products in the further steps. Preparation is key. You’ll want to clear the sections you want to treat from any obstacles, like furniture or carpets, and make sure to remove any dust or grime with a mop. Also, before you start spreading any products, the sections you are treating should be blocked from foot traffic with wet floor signs. When you have a clear and clean surface, you are ready to move to the next step: Stripping.
2. Floor stripping and scrubbing
When applying the stripping solution, always make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the bottle to avoid any damage or waste of time. When your product is properly diluted, you’ll want to test the stripper in a low-risk area to make sure your solution is not causing any discolouration, damage or colour bleeding, especially if your flooring is older. Examples of areas to test on can be where a carpet usually is, under large furniture or in a corner. If any discolouration or bleeding occurs, you’ll have to find a different stripping solution or contact a floor stripping professional. After you found and tested the right stripper, follow the instructions and apply it to the targeted surface and let it sit and dwell for approximately 5-10 minutes, but don’t let it dry completely. After the solution is allowed to sit long enough, you can start the scrubbing process using a floor scrubbing machine such as an auto floor scrubber or floor buffer. Some sections, like ones with lower foot traffic, might need more scrubbing to remove the old wax. You should see the surfaces you are scrubbing losing their shininess and become more dull as you remove the finish. After you are done with scrubbing the worn out finish, the next step to strip and wax floors is rising and neutralizing the surface.
3. Rinsing and neutralizing from the stripping product
Once the old layer of wax is scrubbed off, the floors need to be cleaned from the used stripping solution and wax residue using either a floor squeegee or wet mop with clean water. A wet vacuum can also be used to help the surface dry and make sure it’s free from any left-over stripper. Next, a neutralizer should be applied to the scrubbed surface to ensure no stripping chemicals are left, which could harm your floor wax and make it unusable. Following the manufacturer’s instructions for the neutralizer is crucial and once it did its job, it can be rinsed and removed, again, using the wet mop, clean water and wet vacuum. Once the surface free from any chemicals, allow it to completely dry before moving the last step to strip and wax floors: floor waxing.
4. Floor waxing
As with the floor stripping solution, making sure you select the proper wax sealer for your type of floor and the type of finish you want is crucial. The multiple mop buckets are especially useful for this step, if not mandatory, as it allows you to separate the stripper from the wax and therefore reduce the contamination risk. If you don’t have access to another unused mop bucket, a garbage bag can also be used to line the interior, before using it for the wax. Your floor should be completely dry before applying the first coat of wax. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, a thin and even layer of wax should be applied using a new clean mop, making sure you start the farthest from the exit to avoid getting trapped. Once the layer of wax is equally applied across the surface, it should be allowed to dry completely. Depending on the product you selected, additional layers of wax are usually required, and different drying times need to be followed. With a good air flow, the layers of wax should usually dry completely within 45 minutes. Lastly, not all waxes need buffing, but if the one you selected indicates it needs it, a circular electric buffer can be used to give your commercial floors their shiny finish and clean appearance.
Why you should strip and wax your floors
1. Protects from scuffs and scratches
The more foot traffic a floor endures, the higher the likelihood of it getting scuffed and scratched. Over time, these small scratches make the floor look dull and worn out, and a tired looking floor finish can look unprofessional. To avoid having to change your floor every couple of years, getting it waxed and stripped regularly will create a protection against this regular wear and tear, keeping your floors looking fresh.
2. Prevents staining or discoloration
Just as scratches and scuffs can make your floor finish look worn out and tired, stains and discoloration can do the same. Dirt, debris and spills can sink into the floors and start to change their appearance. Once staining has occurred, it can’t be reversed. Instead of worrying about having to change tiles or floorboards, scheduling regular waxing and stripping appointments will help keep everything protected.
3. Prevents tile lifting
Without proper protection, the dirt, debris and moisture that penetrates the floor’s surface can result in more serious damage than just stains or scuffs. It can actually cause individual tiles or floorboards to lift and break. When water or debris gets below the surface, it can weaken the glue and cause the tile to move. Shaky tiles don’t look very professional, but they can also be dangerous. The waxing process adds a protective layer by blocking potential cracks thus not allowing water or debris below the surface.
4. Reduces chances of moisture getting in
Moisture can be a floor’s worst nightmare. When moisture seeps into the flooring, the flooring not only appears discoloured, but the flooring can actually deteriorate, resulting in mold or rot in the flooring.Hardwood is especially prone to this type of damage. Moisture also can also cause the floors to warp or bubble, resulting in a deformed looking floor. Furthermore, a rotting and warped floor can be dangerous for those walking on it. Regularly waxing the floors creates a barrier between the floor and any impending moisture.
5. Maintains a clean floor
Every time you have your floors stripped and waxed, you make your office shine a little brighter. These processes help elevate the level of cleanliness in the space, thus making it a more welcoming environment for employees and customers alike. Furthermore, they also help make the daily janitorial cleaning routine that much more effective, as the floor’s surface will be protected, thus making floor cleaning a surface job that isn’t risky.
Hiring a professional company to strip and wax floors may not feel like a priority but it certainly should be. Maintaining your floors today will help them last longer season to season and year to year! Ultimately helping your business save in maintenance costs in the long run and improve your facilities appearance. We offer our customers a complete floor maintenance plan customized to their needs. Don’t hesitate and get a free estimate from MOM Cleaning’s floor maintenance experts today!