Falling dust, dirt and spillages, compounded with the punishment from foot and trolley traffic mean that floors often require the most amount of cleaning activity. Without the protection of a quality sealer system, non-resilient hard floors will wear out faster, reducing the life of this valuable asset and making it look shabby, detracting from the overall appearance of the area.
Good preparation and thorough maintenance of sealed floors will save money and ensure a higher, more uniform standard of appearance. While there is no denying that correctly maintaining a flooring system requires time, it also reduces the number of strips and seals needed and extends the lifetime of the floor, ultimately reducing expenses.
These seven tips have been designed to ensure you can consistently maintain a beautiful, durable floor care system while protecting the flooring investment.
1. Use a double-action cleaner & resealer detergent daily
The daily use of double action cleaner and resealer detergents such as Agar’s Sympol and Scrub & Shine will continually replenish floor sealer, reducing or eliminating the need to reseal, saving both time and money. A great combination to clean and maintain floors is to alternate daily use of Sympol and Autoscrub.
- Cleans floors and applies floor polish in one step
- Helps replenish the floor’s coating of polish
- Yields a super-glossy shine
- Maintains a constant film thickness on the floor eliminating costly stripping and resealing procedures
- Very glossy with tremendous depth of shine
- Resists black-marking and dirt pickup and prevents powder problems
- Powerful detergent for polished floors
- Two-in-one action: cleans the floor and replenishes
- Step down from Sympol in terms of resealing ability but still yields a glossy shine
- Affordably priced, similar to floor cleaners
- Reduces the frequency required for resealing
- Resists black-marking and dirt pick-up and prevents powder problems
2. Use the correct detergent at the right dilution rate
Sealed floors should be autoscrubbed or mopped daily using the correct detergent and dilution rate to help extend the life of the sealer. Good daily cleaning is required to remove soil residue, preventing it from becoming embedded in the sealer film, which can lead to discolouration of the film. If daily cleaning and buffing are not an option, it is better to clean the floors rather than buff, as buffing will push dirt into the sealer.
The wrong detergent can be too harsh and prematurely strip the sealer, while the wrong dilution rate can cause unnecessary waste and sticky or slippery floors.
Recommended detergents for cleaning sealed floors are below:
- Low-foaming to suit autoscrubbing
- Packed with powerful grease-cutting agents
- Specially formulated to be gentle on sealer
- Attacks dirt and soilage rapidly
- Designed for cleaning floors coated with Agar sealers
- Neutral detergent
- GECA licenced – environmentally preferable
- Removes all soil and spillages
- Recommended for use on alkali-sensitive surfaces such as terrazzo, marble or ceramic tiles
- Concentrated, cost-effective option
Quite simply, always follow the dilution rate available on the product label and Product Data Sheet. Below are examples of what happens when you don’t follow the dilution rates correctly.
- Wastes product
- Residue creates sticky floors
- Floor resoils faster
- May not remove all the soil
- Floors can go dark and discolour
- May get slippery because of soil residue
3. Choose the right pads for cleaning and buffing
Autoscrubbers make light work of cleaning large areas daily but it is important to use the correct pads to ensure floor polish is not wearing away. As a rule, always use the softest pad that gets the job done.
Slow speed Autoscrubbing
Use a Red (Spray Buff), Tan (Polishing) or White (Super Polish) floor pad.
High-speed polishing with gas or electric buffing machine
Use Moose, Jackaroo or Jackaroo Lite pads. One pass with the buffer will restore a brilliant gloss and remove marks from the previous day’s traffic.
Uneven floor systems
Linoleum and rubber floors with slip-resistant tread can be difficult to clean using floor pads, instead opt for autoscrub brushes, as they will get into the groves and provide a much better clean.
4. Cut back and clean up prior to applying additional layers
Cutting back is gentler on the floor substrate than stripping because the floor is not exposed directly to strong chemicals, saving wear and tear over the long term. Cutting back floor polish with Agar’s Florprep gently removes the top layer of floor sealer, taking with it any embedded dirt and discoloured sealer. Re-sealing provides a quicker alternative to stripping floors, yet reveals similar glossy results on those that are well maintained. Dilute Florprep 1:20 – 1:30 and clean using the blue autoscrubber pads.
- Removes dirt and discoloured floor polish
- Fast and effective
- Gently removes top layer, easy to control
- Low-foaming and free-rinsing
5. Save a failing finish
When floor polish begins to fail and the process of stripping and sealing is on the close horizon, adding in a base coat after cutting back can return the floor to good condition for the interim. To do this, simply clean and cut back the floor with Florprep (using 1:20 and green autoscrubber pads), then add one coat of First Base or another sealer depending on the floor type. This will fuse the old layers of sealer together with the new layers, creating strength and hiding blemishes in the old sealer. Reseal the floors as usual.
- Superior base-coat sealer
- Gives floors a clear, protective coating
- Shields floors from traffic, spillages and weathering
- Water-based, odourless and non-flammable
- Excellent adhesion
- Suitable for interior and exterior applications
- Glossy, clear sealer
- Extra-strong adhesion to marble, granite, terrazzo, slate, concrete and all types of stone floors
- Effective when normal sealers just flake off
6. Focus on the high-traffic areas
The sealer wears away in proportion to the level of traffic and cleaning/buffing intensity. For this reason, high-traffic areas require more attention and should be the focus of cleaning and buffing with an emphasis on recoating regularly and always ahead of time. Limit the amount of recoating of low-traffic areas and edges, otherwise, the film may build up because there is not enough traffic to wear it down.
Excessive build-up may cause headaches when it’s time to strip. Once you have cleaned and cut back your floors using Florprep, reseal using a product such as 3D Gloss with a focus on the high-traffic areas. Depending on the level of sealer required, use one to two coats of sealer over the high-traffic areas and finish with one to two more coats over the whole floor. This will help maintain a consistent, beautiful finish.
- Super-glossy sealer finish for vinyl, timber and stone
- Fast cure rate for use in supermarkets
- Buffs up easily under UHS buffing machines
- Provides crystal-clear, dazzling gloss
- Non-slip in dry conditions
- Stays shiny for longer because of its high scratch repair
- Re-coats well because scratches have been buffed out
- Responds to both gas and electric buffing machines
7. Do the job right, the first time
Preparation, attention to detail and quality products will create a beautiful, durable floor finish which will provide both protection and enhancement to what is a valuable asset. Floors are exposed to unrelenting abrasion from foot and trolley traffic, spillages from a vast array of substances and even dirt and sand that enters from outside. Without protection, the abrasion combined with an attack by aggressive soils will cause dulling, increase surface porosity and wear the floor away.
To find out about precision floor stripping and sealing plus insider tips, read our article How to strip and seal floors like a professional.
If you have any questions, require further information or would like to get some more information on the products covered in this article, please feel free to contact Agar on 1800 301 302 or email email@example.com.