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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Question

I know the procedures for stripping/finishing floors, but everyone has his own idea of sealant/finishing procedures. In a school setting, once the floor has been stripped, what are the PROPER procedures for finishing the floor surface?


Answer

There are different approaches to applying floor finish, which may vary depending upon the size of the rooms, equipment available, type of finish used, and overall job conditions.
For a school, this would be my preferred method:
1. Never lay floor finish unless 100% of the wasted stripper has been removed from the floor, baseboards, and doors. Once you lay finish, it is too late to remove the unsightly residue. Final rinsing assumes that all traces of debris and stripper has been scraped and thoroughly rinsed.
2. Using a clean dust mop head, dust mop the floor with either a microfiber head or a regular head treated as a tack rag. To tack the head, lightly spray it with a trigger sprayer turned to maximum mist and use the floor finish straight in the spray bottle. Do not over-wet the head, or you will deposit small traces of wet finish on the floor. About three sprays on a 36 head for each classroom is about right. The objective is to pick up the fine dust that even an autoscrubber or wet vac has missed. This will produce a smoother appearance for the finished floor.
3. Using a back-pack finish applicator, start in the back of the room and walk a straight line across the room. Position the starting point so the run across the room is the shortest distance. This will reduce any lap marks from a heavy-solids or fast drying finish. Do not leave any skips and try never to go back onto the freshly applied finish. A consistent and even flow is critical.
4. If you have an adjacent door, maneuver the applicator head into the doorjamb area to coat under where the door will close. Carry a razor blade scrapper and scrape off any bonded debris instead of laying finish over it. When you finish one area, have cardboard boxes on the floor to wipe off your footwear completely before going into the next clean area, or back to begin the second coat. Place the flatmop head inside a large heavy-duty trash bag to eliminate drips on the floor and prevent picking up contamination. Shake out the mop inside of the bag before pulling it out to service the next area.
5. Continue onto the next area and apply finish for about one hour before returning to apply the next coat. If necessary, unlock a side door so you can enter the back way.
6. Before applying the next coat, make sure the floor is 100% dry. If in doubt, place a small piece of paper gently on the floor and see if it sticks, or use the back of your hand. Normal drying time is about 45 minutes. In high-humidity areas, you may need the extra airflow from turning on the A/C or furnace blower. Again, use a razor blade scraper for repeated debris removal.
7. Apply the second coat in the opposite direction, and do not apply finish within 6 inches of the baseboards and door jambs. Depending upon the percent of solids, you may want to apply 3 coats of high-solids finish, or 5 coats of regular finish.
8. Try to avoid moving the furniture back the same day, as the finish may have dried, but not cured. Never drag furniture on the new finish when replacing it. Attempt to use a top-scrub and recoat process during the next several months to prolong the time between stripping.
Gary Clipperton
National Pro Clean Corp.
gary@nationalproclean.com
(719) 598-5112