The first part of our floor care series dealt with stripping and refinishing of the VCT floors. Stripping and refinishing is the most costly and challenging aspect of caring for VCT flooring, so once the stripping project is complete you want to extend the life of your finish for as long as possible.
Daily maintenance is critical in removing particulate matter which can scratch and abrade the floor finish. A good offense is often the best defense and walk off matting is your first defense barrier to preventing particulate matter from reaching your VCT floors. Vacuum walk off matting frequently to remove dirt.
Over time floor finish can appear dull due to the finish being scratched. These scratches are mostly microscopic but they still interrupt the reflection of light. Particulate matter tracked in will act as tiny razor blades scratching the finish. This is why it is so important that the VCT floors be kept clean.
In the snow belt region during winter months we also need to be concerned with sand and ice melt being tracked into the building. You may see a white haze on the VCT floors which is caused by the calcium chloride. A neutralizer added to the auto scrubber or the mop bucket will remove this haze and help to keep your floors shiny. At SMS we use a neutralizing product called Dibbs. Please feel free to contact us and we can connect you with a supplier for the Dibbs.
Daily floor Care
Dust mop or vacuum all VCT flooring including corners and edges. At SMS we use a special dust mop system which is actually comprised of “sticky” disposable sheets which are attached to a flat microfiber dust mop head. We can direct you to a supplier for this system and the sheets.
In large areas such as halls an auto scrubber is ideal for cleaning the floors. The auto scrubber dispenses the cleaning solution, scrubs the floors and at the same time picks up the dirty solution from the floors leaving them dry. In patient rooms the use of the microfiber mops is ideal, with a new microfiber mop head being used for each patient room.
After the floors are vacuumed and wet mopped the next step is burnishing. A typical burnish machine rotates at 1500 RPM. Two things are accomplished through the burnishing process. The first is that it abrades the rough edges of the scratches “sanding” them away. The second is that with enough speed and friction and the correct pad the burnishing will “melt” the finish back to a smooth state. When the floor is smooth it will restore the high level of shine in the reflected light. Only burnish a clean floor. If you burnish a dirty floor you will “melt” the dirt right into the finish. Often crews will apply a restorer to the floor prior to burnishing. The restorer can help to “fill” in the small scratches.
The next part in our floor care series will address deep scrubs and recoats. This process helps to extend the life of your VCT floors between strips.