Floor Finish Problem and Solution Guide

Multiple issues can arise during or after professional floor finish application. From low initial gloss to leveling and powdering, this floor finish problem & solution page outlines 8 common issues that maintenance professionals face at some time or another. Nyco is an expert in floor care, with many formulations for every facility floor type. If you need need personal assistance with your floor finish problem, call us at 800-752-4754 or email customerservice@nycoproducts.com and a Nyco expert will be in touch. You are also welcome to browse our premium floor finishes. We carry floor finish for all VCT  and resilient flooring.

Floor Finish Problem #1: Low Initial Gloss

Most Likely Causes

Solution / Remedy

Insufficient number of coats of seal/finish

Apply additional coats of finish. Scrub, rinse and then apply new finish if floor has been opened for use.

Excessive humidity / Inadequate dry time

Use air conditioner to lower humidity, increase dry time between coats of finish.  Strip finish, rinse and reapply finish.

Contaminated equipment used during finish application

Strip finish, properly rinse with clean equipment and reapply finish.  Use clean mops/buckets/equipment during rinsing.

Cold floor conditions (below 50F)

Apply finish in warmer conditions.

Finish frozen prior to applying

Strip finish, properly rinse and reapply new finish.

Floor Finish Problem #2: Low Gloss After Maintaining

Most Likely Causes

Solution / Remedy

Incorrect pad selection during maintenance Change to a less aggressive pad.
High pH of daily cleaning solution Change to a lower pH cleaning solution.
Floors are dirty with sand/grit, causing finish to abrade Add additional matting, increase frequency of dust mopping and cleaning.
Overuse of oil-based dust mop treatment Scrub floor with neutral cleaner. Switch to a water-based dust mop treatment.

Floor Finish Problem #3: Scratching and Scuffing of Finish

Most likely Causes

Remedy Solution

Thick coats creating a soft film Harden finish by high speed buffing a clean floor with a soft pad, If this does not increase resistance to scuffing and scratching then scrub the floor with a neutral detergent, rinse, and apply 1-2 coats of medium thin finish.
Aggressive scrubbing pads Change to a less aggressive pad.
Excessive grit on floor All matting systems, increase dust mopping and cleaning procedures.
Furniture movement causing scratches Add protectors to chair legs. Lift or carry rather than dragging furniture.

Floor Finish Problem #4: Discoloration of Finish

Most Likely Causes

 Remedy / Solution

Cleaning with dirty equipment Use clean mops/equipment and change water frequently. If required, strip, rinse and apply floor finish.
Parking lot recently resealed Add entrance matting. Clean areas near entrances more frequently. Use more aggressive cleaner to loosen, lift or remove tar sealer.
Buffing dirty floors Clean floor using neutral detergent and a blue or green floor pad. Rinse and then apply new coats of floor finish. If necessary, strip, rinse and reapply finish.
Incorrect cleaner used to maintain floor, causing finish to soften and dirt to penetrate and discolor the finish Use correct cleaner for soil. If soil loads require higher pH cleaning solutions or degreasers, then the floor must be rinsed with clean water.
Residual sticky film from disinfectants Periodically scrub floor using neutral cleaner or clean water.
Floor finish applied over dirty floor Strip, rinse and apply new floor finish.
Contaminated floor finish Never put used finish back into original container.
Dirty finish mops / buckets / applicators Strip, rinse and apply new floor finish using clean finish mops / buckets / applicators. Use plastic liner in mop bucket.
Floor has aged and yellowed Strip, rinse and apply new finish.

Floor Finish Problem #5: Slippery Floor

Most Likely Causes

Remedy / Solution

Overspray of polishes Scrub floor, rinse thoroughly.
Water or liquid on floors Maintain dry floors, keep mop buckets near entrances during rain or snow. Evaluate matting systems. Post Wet Floor signs.
Overuse of oil-based dust mop treatment Scrub floor to remove residue. Change to a water-based dust mop treatment.
Ice melt residue on floors Mop floor with neutralizing formula until residue is gone.

Floor Finish Problem #6: Streaking  or Poor Leveling of Finish

Most Likely Causes

Remedy / Solution

Fan or air mover is pointed directly at finish, forcing irregular drying Scrub, rinse and reapply finish. Aim air movers upward and not directed down toward finish.
Contamination of mops/applicators or buckets Scrub, rinse and reapply finish. If necessary, strip floor first. Use clean mop/applicator and bucket. Use plastic liner for mop bucket.
Dust mop treatment on floor, or stripping residue left on floor after stripping. Scrub, rinse and reapply finish. If necessary, strip floor first. Use clean mop/applicator and bucket. Use plastic liner for mop bucket.
Floor not properly rinsed after stripping Restrip floor, rinse and apply new finish.
Frozen floor finish Strip, rinse and apply new finish. Store floor finish in conditions above 50°F.
Finish applied over factory finish on vinyl floor tiles Strip, rinse and apply new finish. (Always remove factory finish by stripping before applying finish).
Contamination of finish or equipment Strip, rinse and reapply new finish with clean equipment. Use plastic liner in mop bucket. Do not put used finish back into original container.

Floor Finish Problem #7: Powdering

Most Likely Causes

Remedy / Solution

Poor adhesion due to residue, too rapid recoating, contaminated equipment, contaminated finish, frozen finish, forced air drying, cold floor, application over factory finish, application over wax, application on polished treated stone/marble, dust mop treatment on floor, stripper residue on floor

Identify source of poor adhesion and take steps to eliminate. Scrub or strip floor, rinse well and apply finish.

Buffing a finish not meant to be buffed Scrub, rinse floor. Apply appropriate finish.
Buffing with incorrect or aggressive pads Switch to less aggressive pads.
Buffing with dirty pads Use clean pads. Change per manufacturer instructions or rotate as needed.
Excessive buffing without using spray buff or restorative compounds Use appropriate buffing and restorative compounds when buffing or burnishing
Ice melt compound attacking finish Scrub floor with neutralizer. Rinse well. Maintain mop buckets with neutralizing solution near entrances during and after snow. Increase use of matting.
Coats of finish applied too thinly Scrub, rinse and apply fuller coats of finish.

Floor Finish Problem #8: Edge Buildup or Discoloration

Most Likely Causes

Remedy / Solution

Excessive coats of finish applied to edge

Scrub along baseboards with aggressive cleaner and doodlebug pad.  If this does not work, the floor may need to be stripped and recoated. Apply a maximum of 1-2 coats of finish of to edge. When recoating during scrub & recoat procedures, do not apply finish to edges.

Floor edges not cleaned or properly stripped

Scrub along baseboards with aggressive cleaner and doodlebug pad.  If this does not work, the floor may need to be stripped and recoated. Apply a maximum of 1-2 coats of finish of to edge during initial application and then not again during scrub & recoat procedures.

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