Stripping and Refinishing Your Floors
Common Poor Practices and Why You Have to Correct ThemSpring time is here, the snow is in the past and it is time to get your floors in top shape. Over the winter, it is sometimes very hard to keep your floors looking good. Weather and ice melt can dull the shiniest of finishes. This month I want to show you the common bad practices to stay away from when refinishing your floors and give you tips and a procedure on properly stripping and refinishing your floor. I know we do not always have the required time to perform this process, but you cannot cut corners when performing this job. It will eventually lead to poor results.
Here are some common mistakes I see in many facilities.
- Wet Vacuum is not used in picking up stripper slurry. (Use a wet vacuum, it saves time and makes your job easier. When not using one, stripper slurry dries and you have to scrub the floor again. There is residue left over and the finish never really adheres properly to the floor, it will also take you twice as long to prepare the floor for finish application.)
- Doodle bug or scraper is not used to get into corners. (Make sure corners and edges are cleaned well. Your floor looks incomplete and sloppy if you have a shiny middle and dirty corners and edges.)
- Stripper solution not mixed according to dilution specifics on package. (Dilution ratios on packaging are there for a reason. Too much solution does not mean it will work better. It is wasting money and may do more damage than good.)
- Stripper not left to dwell long enough on floor. (Floor stripper needs time to work. You should let a stripper dwell at least 5-10 minutes. You will see the difference in its removal of finish.)
- Floor is not rinsed well before finish is applied.(If you do not rinse your floor well, the stripper residue will be left on the floor and sealed in by your finish, eventually leading to dirty yellow looking floors that do not hold up well.)
- Finished not left to dry long enough before another coat is put down over it. (Finish dries from the bottom up. Even if it feels dry to the touch it has not fully cured. This causes the finish to be tacky, sometimes streak and wear off faster. You should let finish dry at least 20-30 minutes in between coats.)
- Fans are put directly on finish. (If using a fan, point the air circulation towards the ceiling not directly on the finish. I like to let the first coat dry on it’s own.)
- Finish is applied to base boards. (This looks sloppy and makes the job much harder when removing the finish.)
- Too many coats of finish are applied. (You should follow the 125% rule. If you are using a 25% solids floor finish. That would be 5 coats 25 x5 =125. I like to put 3 coats down at once, come back the next day burnish the floor and add two more coats. I know we do not always have time to do this, but the floor will look like a mirror.)