The challenge for any cleaning staff is knowing what type of floor they are dealing with and using the correct processes and procedures to maintain the floor in question. Most of us have made expensive mistakes on marble (using acids) or wood (too much water) or VAT (dry buffing) but still struggle with how to safely and effectively maintain floors today. There is no one size fits all approach even though there can be some general guidelines to reduce the chance of error.
VCT, VAT, LVT, linoleum, wood, cork, rubber, and most synthetic floors are considered “resilient floors” which means they “give” under the weight of high stress when compared to natural stones, ceramic, concrete, terrazzo, and other non-resilient surfaces.
The following are a few questions to ask before cleaning floors:
- What type of floor is it? Resilient or non-resilient? Is it man-made or natural stone?
- Is it sensitive to acids or alkalis as well as water and what is the best pH for maintenance?
- How old is it? This can help determine how to proceed.
- If new, are there any manufacturer’s/installer’s guidance on maintenance?
- What, if anything, is on the floor now? Water-based floor finish? Urethane? Just plain old dirt?
- Does it have grout lines that need to be maintained and sealed?
- What is the safest and most effective way of either restoring an old floor and then maintaining it?
- What kind of foot traffic is it exposed to? Is there sufficient matting to protect the floor? How often is it swept/dust mopped/vacuumed/damp mopped?