School Hallway floor finish

Education, Floor Care

Top 10 Mistakes in Floor Finishing

Have you ever finished a floor, only to look at it and think, ‘something is wrong’? Anyone who has ever applied floor finish will likely have a few mistakes that they have made during the process. Some errors are due to rushing through a phase of the job, while others can be attributed to not accounting for environmental factors like heat and humidity. And of course there are those infamous ‘duh’ moments everyone wishes they could forget! You’ve never made any of these common floor finishing mistakes, have you?

Mistake #10 … Leaving a Little Behind

If the floor was stripped, was it stripped completely? Any areas where the old finish was not totally removed will show up as ugly ‘dirty patches’ when the floor is refinished. Using a professional quality stripper like Low Odor Floor Stripper will help, but proper technique is critical.

Mistake #9 … Rushing the Rinse

Are you taking time for a final rinse? Use clean water, a clean mop and a neutralizing solution like Trax-buster, which conditions floors after stripping. If the floor is not completely clean and neutralized prior to application of floor finish, performance and appearance issues will quickly become evident and you may have to start over. Don’t make this obvious mistake!

Mistake #8 … Not Swapping the Mop

There’s a big difference between cleaning mops and finishing mops. Using cotton cleaning mops or applicators to apply floor finish can leave lint on the floor, and may cause streaking due to uneven application. Use only mops or applicators that are specifically intended for finishing floors.

Mistake #7 … Using Dirty Tools

Always use clean tools. If a bucket is used, insert a plastic trash can liner to prevent contamination. You can also wrap the liner around the mop between coats, during breaks or at the end of a shift. This prevents the finish from drying out and reduces cleanup time.

Mistake #6 … Not Planning Your Exit Strategy

Be sure to start at the far end of the floor you are finishing and work your way out the exit. The last thing you want after all of your hard work is to realize you’ve boxed yourself into a corner.

Mistake #5 … Contaminating the Finish

Never pour unused floor finish back into the container. This will contaminate it and cause problems on the next job. Not sure what finish to use? Refresh your knowledge on How To Choose the Right Floor Finish for a Champion Caliber Program.

Mistake #4 … Rushing the Application

Patience is a virtue when applying floor finish. If the floor is not COMPLETELY dry, additional coats of finish will soften and ‘bite’ into the previous coat, resulting in a floor with both dull and shiny areas. The only solution will be to re-strip your floor. NEVER rush the application of additional coats of finish.

Dry Time Factors

Mistake #3 … Force Drying

Never force dry a floor with a fan pointed directly at it. If a fan or air mover is used, raise it or point it above the floor to circulate the air above the floor.

Mistake #2 … Closing the Door on Your Work

Closing off a room when the job is complete can interfere with airflow, and the floor may not dry or cure properly. Keep doors open and the AC running until the floor is completely dry.

Mistake #1 … Moving in Too Soon

Keep furniture off the floor for at least 24 and preferably 48 hours as the floor continues to cure. During periods of higher humidity it may take longer for the floor to cure. If furniture is replaced before the floor has dried and cured, the legs may stick to the floor.

A little foresight and planning can result in a finished floor you can be proud of. Lay out your timeframe in advance and you’ll be less tempted to overextend your workload or take short cuts. Remember that, after the finishing is complete, daily maintenance with the right chemicals and tools is the best way to keep floors looking great for a longer period of time.

Bonus Pro Tips



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