What you're looking at isn't always what you see.


Troubleshooting resilient floor maintenance issues can be a task because some hard surface floor care issues are difficult to diagnose on first inspection. The aim of this article is to help provide resolutions for a few of these troublesome hard surface problems.

As stated in a previous blog article, many artists create paintings with hidden objects. Missed on first glance, it’s only upon further investigation and analysis that the hidden object is discovered. Floor care and its common maintenance issues are often just like that – what you’re looking at isn’t always what you see.

Floor Finish Not Rinsed Properly

Discover the root of the problem and this issue is an easy fix. Photo 1 shows the finish laying perfect on the tiles themselves but distorted in the seams of the tile. It’s important to note where the tile is located. In this example, it is in a main entrance in a northeastern state that had just gone through a brutal winter. Weather conditions made it necessary to use a lot of ice melt. Despite the number of times the floor was rinsed with fresh water, maintenance needed to neutralize the salt.

In Photo 2 swing marks of a mop appear to be underneath the finish. This is caused when finish is applied to a floor that has residue remaining from a final mopping.

Abraded Surface

Both of these photos show abrasion to the flooring material. However, each is treated differently. Photo 3 shows an LVT plank that has a factory applied protective coating. There are many types of coatings, including urethane, PVC, and aluminum oxide. With most of these products, the best workaround is to apply a matte finish to “defuse” the appearance of the damage.

Photo 4 shows aggressive abrasion from what could be years of wear from a wheeled task chair without ever doing daily or routine maintenance on the floor.

For Abrasions Caused by Wheeled Chairs:

Follow proper wet floor procedures.

  • Apply properly diluted stripping solution and allow appropriate dwell time.
  • Using a 175 rpm Rotary Floor machine and a 3M high-pro stripping pad, strip the existing finish off. Once the finish is removed, work the abraded area (you may need to “heel” the machine aggressively) to achieve a smoother surface.
  • Remove the stripping slurry and rinse.
  • Using a 3M Surface Preparation Pad (SPP) and a Rotary Floor Machine (dry) work area so that the surface is brought to the approximately smoothness of the non-damaged area.
  • Vacuum and dry-tac the entire floor.
  • Apply appropriate coats of finish for desired use.

Frozen Finish

Folks in the sunshine states may never see this, but accidentally leaving finish in a vehicle overnight can cause a lot of extra work for the rest of the country. The finish applies normally but after drying it “shatters” on contact. This situation leaves only one option – re-strip the floor.

Floor Finish Won’t Adhere

As discussed earlier, there are many types of factory applied coatings. Sometimes these coatings don’t allow the binding of Acrylic finishes.

Yellowing Floors

Two of most common yellowing issues are Quat Walk-Off and Sticky Floor Syndrome. They are two different issues that sometimes look identical. Both problems are caused by a failure to use cleaning and disinfection maintenance products properly.

Quat Walk-Off is typically seen at the entrances and exits of restrooms and areas of food prep. The personnel responsible for daily floor maintenance needs to understand that application of quaternary disinfectants requires a dwell time and a complete rinse. If those steps are not part of the procedure, a residue is left behind that softens and degrades acrylic finishes onto which it’s tracked.

Sticky Floor Syndrome is similar, however, it is when the cleaning agent is applied directly to the flooring material with acrylic finish and is never rinsed. As with any cleaning agent, they contain surfactants and once the water has evaporated the surfactants are left behind causing a sticky mess.

Floors Not Neutralized Prior to Re-Finishing

Finish that wants to “pull apart” is a common problem when bleaches are used in the floor care process. More often than not it’s in an assisted living facility or small medical office. The best defense for this is a good offense. Without knowing who maintains the floor or how it’s maintained, neutralize the floor on the final rinse and it will never be a problem.

These are just few of the problems frequently seen in resilient flooring maintenance. There are, unfortunately, a lot more. The best advice – look at the complete picture and gather as much information as possible. Start checking things off until the answer is clear.


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Author:
Bill Luallen

Bill Luallen is the Director of Technical Sales for XL North, a division of Textile Rubber and Chemical Company. He is the IICRC RFMT TAC vice chair and participates on many panels and boards including the CRI and the League of Hard Flooring Professionals. When Bill is not traveling to work with customers or talking on the phone, he spends all his down time with his wife Cynthia of 30 years, outside enjoying this beautiful world.

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