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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Question

Why does residue from floor scrubbing solutions create finish recoating problems?


Answer

In my 30 plus years of formulating and evaluating floor finishes, I have seen the negative effects when floors were not properly cleaned or prepped prior to finish application. If the chemistry of the cleaner used to clean the floor is scientifically sound, then allowing just the cleaner to dry on the floor will not be problematic. However, it is important that the cleaning solution be removed because it likely contains soils picked up during the scrubbing that can re-attach to the floor surface and possibly interfere with proper film formation when the finish is applied. This residue and/or alkali that remains on the floor will interfere with proper film formation. To prevent residues or unwanted alkali, it is important that any solution that could possibly contain them be removed prior to finish or sealer application.
It is a myth that floors need to be at a pH of 7 before a floor finish is compatible. In fact, floor finishes themselves have a pH of between 8 and 9. Therefore, most quality floor finishes are compatible with an appropriate floor surface that has a pH between 7 and 9. It is not the pH that is the problem. It is either the quantity of residue or alkali that remains on the floor that will interfere with proper film formation.
Roger McFadden, Vice President of Product Development
Corporate Express/Coastwide Laboratories
roger.mcfadden@cexp.com