Q. Can you provide a written procedure for applying floor finish? We are a fairly large facility.
A. There are different approaches to applying floor finish after a complete strip out. The process may depend on the size of the rooms, equipment available, type of finish used, and overall job conditions. For a larger facility here is a preferred method:
- Never apply floor finish unless 100% of the wasted stripper has been removed from the floor, baseboards, and doors. Once you lay finish, it is too late to remove the unsightly residue. Final rinsing assumes that all traces of debris and stripper has been scraped and thoroughly rinsed.
- Using a clean dust mop head, dust mop the floor with either a microfiber head or a regular head treated as a tack rag. To tack the head, lightly spray it with a trigger sprayer turned to maximum mist and use the floor finish straight in the spray bottle. Do not over-wet the head, or you will deposit small traces of wet finish on the floor. About three sprays on a 36” head about every 5-10 minutes is about right. Regularly shake out the dustmop in an outside area. The objective is to pick up the fine dust that even an autoscrubber or wet vac has missed. This will produce a smoother appearance for the finished floor.
- Using a back-pack finish applicator, flatmop, or 18” - 24” finish mop, start in the back of the room. Position the starting point so the run across the room is the shortest distance. This will reduce any lap marks from a heavy-solids or fast drying finish. Do not leave any skips and try never to go back onto the freshly applied finish. A consistent and even flow is critical.
- If you have an adjacent door, maneuver the applicator head into the doorjamb area to coat under where the door will close. Carry a razor blade scrapper and scrape off any bonded debris instead of applying finish over it. When you finish one area, position cardboard boxes on the floor to wipe off your footwear completely, before going into the next clean area, or back to begin the second coat. When finished, place the flatmop head inside a heavy-duty trash bag to eliminate drips on the floor and prevent picking up contamination. Shake out the mop inside of the bag before pulling it out to service the next area or starting the next coat.
- Continue onto the next area and apply finish for about one hour before returning to the starting point to apply the next coat. If necessary, unlock a side door so you can enter the starting area without walking on freshly applied finish.
- Before applying the next coat, make sure the floor is 100% dry. If in doubt, place a small piece of paper on the floor and see if it sticks. Try to move it with your shoe to see if the area is dry. Or, use the back of your hand. Normal drying time is about 45 minutes. In high-humidity areas, you may need the extra airflow by turning on the A/C or furnace blower. Again, use a razor blade scraper for repeated debris removal.
- Apply the second coat in the opposite direction, and do not apply finish within 6 inches of the baseboards and door jambs. Since foot traffic will never walk on the edges closer than six inches, it is desirable to apply finish on every other coat – to the edges. This prevents floor finish buildup along the edges, which is difficult to strip at a later time.
- Depending upon the percent of solids, you may want to apply 3 coats of high-solids finish, or 5 coats of regular finish.
- Try to avoid moving the furniture back the same day, as the finish may have dried, but not cured. Never drag furniture on the new finish when replacing it.
- The best practice is to employ a top-scrub and recoat process during the next several months to prolong the time between stripping. A thorough scrub with a red pad should remove a top layer of damaged or worn finish, and remove all black marks and soiled areas. Never apply finish over a floor unless it passes the inspection of being completely free of noticeable marks, scuffs, and soil.
How to become a floor care expert Learn More...