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Apr 25

How to maintain your floor part 1: Stripping the floor.

This is the first in a 3 part series of guides on the best way to maintain your floor and keep it looking great. In this first part we’re going to cover the best way of stripping your floor. Part 2 will cover polishing your floor and part 3 will cover the regular maintenance that will keep your floor looking great.

Taking care of your floor: stripping the floor.

Laying a new, or refurbishing an existing, floor will usually involve a significant investment of cost and effort but the improvement of the floor will make all the difference to the look and feel of your room. With a little care and attention you will be able to keep your floor in great shape and greatly expand the life of the floor.

In this series of three articles, we offer some guidance on keeping your floor in tip-top condition. This follows a three stage process: stripping, polishing and maintaining. In the first of these articles we look at stripping away the dirt that has accumulated on your floor.

First thing first use and wear the right protective equipment.

As general good practice, you should always use appropiate personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes suitable clothing, gloves, protective glasses, ear protection and so on, when undertaking any cleaning task. In addition, you should always follow the manufacturer’s product use and where relevant dilution guidance.

Check the suitability of the floor surface for stripping.

This article applies principally to the following types of floor surface: vinyl, thermoplastic, rubber, linoleum, composition, asphalt, terrazzo, sealed wood and sealed cork floor surfaces.

Nevertheless it is vital that before you start that you check that your floor is suitable for stripping. Always consult and follow closely the manufacturer’s instructions. If in doubt do not proceed and seek professional advice.

When and how often should I strip a floor?

We are often asked when and at what frequency should a floor be stripped?

A precise rule is difficult to formulate, as the timing and frequancy of stripping will vary with the type of floor and the volume of traffic that the floor carries. This of course will normally be dependent on the nature of the room in which it is located.

An easy rule of thumb to follow is if the floor looks dirty or the wax has yellowed or clearly worn, then it almost certainly needs to be stripped and re-waxed!

Essential Preparation.

Follow these best practice steps to ensure the floor surface is properly prepared:

  • Ensure adequate ventilation to the area in which you are working, open doors and windows as necessary.
  • Place safety signs where they can be clearly seen.
  • Remove all obstructions (furniture etc) from the floor area to be worked on.
  • Sweep the area thoroughly making sure to remove all dirt, crumbs and dust.
  • Apply the correct dilution of polish stripper to a bucket of cold water.
  • Always test the stripper on a part of the floor that is not readily visible before you get started. Some older linoleum floors can not withstand stripping and the colour may bleed.
  • Using a suitable mop, apply the solution onto the floor, allowing five or so minutes to work (or as advised by the manufacturer). Apply enough stripper to coat the area thoroughly but not so much that it floods the area and soaks between seams or cracks. Apply stripper more liberally in areas with a lot of wax build-up
  • Decide on how you plan to strip the floor. As a general rule, you should start in the corner that is farthest from an exit and work towards the exit. If the floor area is very large, divide the floor into sections, stripping one section at a time. Using a scrubber dryer, you can strip sections of upto 100 square feet at a time.
  • Always apply stripper to the second-to-next section so that the stripper can soak into the wax while you scrub the other section, but be careful you do not allow the stripper to dry out as this can be difficult to remove.

The Stripping Process.

Follow these best practice steps when you come to undertake the stripping itself:

  • Use a suitable scrubber drier floor machine fitted with the correct floor pad.
  • Ensure that the stripping machine is adjusted to the correct height for safe and comfortable working.
  • Strip the floor thoroughly until all polish is removed.
  • Ensure that all edges and difficult to reach areas are scrubbed. Use a suitable edging tool for this purpose. You may need to use a toothbrush in nooks and crannies and even a putty knife to scrape away heavy, multiple finish layers in some corners.
  • Use a squeegee to scoop the wax residue and stripper into a dustpan.
  • With a wet pickup vacuum or mop, remove any residue water.

Floor Stripping Aftercare.

  • After you have stripped the entire floor, thoroughly rinse the area using a mop with clean, cold water.
  • Remove all excess water with a mop or wet pick-up vacuum and wipe all skirting boards with a damp cloth to remove splashes.

Want to know more?

If you have a specific question about the process or a suitable product, why not contact us?

In part 2 we will be covering the best way to apply the polish to the floor.