VCT and Rolled Linoleum Floor Maintenance Tips
VCT and linoleum is designed to have floor finish applied for two reasons. First it’s to protect the floor tile itself; second it’s to present a clean shiny look for beauty.
Every floor that has floor finish applied will require a strip and re-finish every year, even with moderate floor traffic.
If your floor has heavy foot traffic it will require a strip and re-finish two times per year. There are lots of scenarios that can prolong or extend the strip procedure. If you have noticed in high traffic stores such as Target, Wal-Mart or other department stores the floors seem to look great all the time with their extremely high traffic volume. This is due to the fact that they scrub and extract daily, even several times during the day. There strip schedule is every three months, even monthly for the higher traffic areas such as the register areas.
Commercial environments that only sweep and mop daily are faced with more frequent strip and refinish procedures. The absence of daily extraction combined with over wetting the floor finish from mopping causes the finish to soften and dirt begins to penetrate into the finish. As the floor dries and finish hardens again, it now has dirt in the finish as opposed to on the surface. Over time the floors will begin to look darker and darker. After about five to six months the only cure is to strip & re-finish again.
If you have professional floor service provided on a monthly schedule, even with moderate floor traffic, you will still need a strip and re-finish every five to six months. The floor service will provide a nice dress-up for the floors by sweeping, scrubbing, extracting and applying a few fresh coats of finish. This will look very nice; however during this process they are scrubbing the surface of the finish, which will remove surface dirt and some of the lightly embedded dirt. This is not removing deep embedded dirt from the wear and daily mopping that has soften and penetrated over the course of the month.
Remember the only way to keep dirt from penetrating the finish is to scrub and extract daily. The more frequent scrubbing and extracting the less dirt penetration you will be faced with and the nicer your daily appearance will present.
There are other factors that play a big role in how well the floor finish holds up.
Harsh chemicals such bleach; pine sole, Mr. Clean, and window cleaner will destroy the finish right away. This will break down the finish and cause it to dissolve and separate from the floor. Once this starts to show itself it’s too late to save, the only fix is to strip & re-finish again.
Neutral floor cleaner is the best product to use for regular cleaning. This is balanced just right so it will clean the floor finish with-out destroying it. Of course it must be diluted properly. Even neutral cleaner can destroy finish if mixed improperly.
Sand is a big enemy for floor finish. Sand is abrasive and will destroy the finish as sand will cut into the finish under foot traffic. It gets under mats and as the mats shift during daily wear it cuts into and destroys the finish.
Water and moisture:
When mopping, avoid leaving the floor too wet. If the floor stays wet too long it will begin to soften the finish. Also, most commercial environments have tables and chairs with metal feet on them. If the metal feet get wet they will rust. Rust will then penetrate into the floor finish making it very hard to remove and sometimes impossible without stripping.
Try to keep Air Conditioning units set to a cool temperature as air conditioning units act as de-humidifiers and keep moisture out of the air.
Sliding or dragging furniture:
Avoid sliding or dragging anything as much as possible as deep scratches are permanent. Furniture should be lifted and placed on dollies to prevent scratching. Also please be aware of furniture with wheels attached. This is a great idea, however most of the time these wheels get dirt into them and get stuck or may be in a locked position and fail to roll causing heavy scratching.