Q. How do I clean damaged floors that are under plastic chair mats?
A. Normally, unprotected VCT is scraped, gouged, and damaged by chair rollers. If the chair mats have not always been placed under the chairs then pre-existing damage may be observed. Some chair roller damage can be corrected by increasing the stripper concentration (pouring 1/4 cup of straight stripper onto the already wet area) and increasing the aggression level of the strip pad. Then consider using a buildup removal, or high productivity pad, or considering a 100 mesh screen. What you are doing is grinding off the top layer of the VCT. So, slight abrasion or dulling may occur. That is about your only option to correct heavy wear. There are opaque colored chair mats available to cover up any noticeable damage.
Of course prevention is the best approach. You may want to remove the mats once a month and sweep the area, followed by damp mopping the soil buildup. Replace the mats when the floor is dry. Do not apply too much floor finish to the area when you are refinishing the floor.
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