Q. How do I provide the “wet look” on VCT floors?
A. Maintaining a “wet look” is a combination of using a premium high-solids floor finish, applying thin coats, and then using a high-speed burnisher to maintain the shine. Your local Jan/San supplier should be able to help you with the correct selection of a high-speed buffable floor finish. Some finishes only allow an application of 4 coats within a 24 hour period. If more than that is applied, the finish will dry, but not cure. Sometimes the 5th and 6th coat applied the same night will bite into the previous coats leaving a rough texture.
One rule to follow when applying floor finish is to use a 100% plus 1 coat rule. For example, if you used a 25% solids finish you would apply 4 coats which would equal 100% (25% x 4). Then, to add extra endurance and gloss, apply one more coat. If you use a finish with 20% solids, apply 6 coats (20% solids x 5 coats = 100% solids, plus 1 coat for good measure).Thin coats applied with a microfiber pad are best. Always ensure there is adequate drying time between coats (normally 30-40 minutes).
Most manufacturers recommend a curing period of 72 hours before burnishing. At that time, you could mop on a restorer and then burnish the floor with a high-speed burnish pad. Your supplier should be able to recommend the proper color.
Your burnishing procedure would include a thorough dust-mopping, followed by mopping on the restorer product, diluted according to label. Once dry, slowly burnish the VCT making sure the machine does not pause and cause burn spots. Rotate or replace the pad before it becomes soiled. Dust mop again when finished. Repeat the process on a regular schedule before the scuffs and wear degrade the finished appearance.
When the floor starts to dull and fail to respond well to buffing, deep scrub the floor using a green pad under an autoscrubber or low speed swing machine. (This will remove the top layer of finish where all the dirt has been ground into the floor). Rinse the floor to remove any residue, and apply two coats of your high-gloss finish (mainly to the worn traffic lanes). Continue with your buffing program. You would normally scrub and re-coat twice a year depending upon the use and traffic. This will prevent premature wear and loss of gloss.
Don’t forget that daily dust-mopping and spot wet-mopping are critical parts of a professional maintenance program.
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