Q. How do I remove a heavy build-up of floor finish?
A. If there is a heavy build-up of floor finish and it has been burnished repeatedly, you may consider applying stripper much heavier (fullest concentration applied with a heavy coat), and allow 15-20 minutes for the contact or dwell time. It normally takes longer than 5-8 minutes for complete penetration. A heavier coat is required to prevent premature drying of the stripper. Then, use a buildup removal pad not only on the machine, but for your edge scrubbing pads. Use a machine or autoscrubber that can apply close to 100 pounds pad pressure. A light-weight machine will be ineffective.
If this is not successful, you could try a 100 mesh screen used to sand wood floors. You place it under a worn-out strip pad and only run the machine where the floor is wet with stripper. If you run it dry, you will destroy the floor and it will have to be replaced. (Yes, that is my disclaimer; and you have already voided the warranty, if there is one).
Here is one last option: determine if the floor is smooth and even enough for recoating and without buildup that would show. Determining this is a fine art. Once you have it stripped, but some discoloration remains, apply a heavy rinse coat of clear water. Now, perform an intense inspection. Look at the floor’s appearance all over.
Does the rinse coat mask the discoloration (a 100% blend)? Is there any build-up that protrudes above the water line? If not, this means that the floor is 100% level when looking at it wet. The finish coats will provide the same appearance, blending light discoloration in and providing an even look.
Never apply floor finish over a discolored floor or a floor with uneven splotches. Sometimes you can apply finish to a bare floor that does not appear fully stripped, but still passes the first rinse test explained above. Often a build-up removal pad, a heavier machine, and extra stripper dwell time will solve your problem.
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