Floor stripping refers to completely removing old wax, soil and debris found on the floor. It is usually one of the most labour intensive and time-consuming jobs in the professional cleaning industry. Further, it is common for cleaning professionals - even experienced cleaning professionals - to make mistakes when stripping floors that require the process to be repeated.
see our blog on guidelines for stripping and sealing
Many of these mistakes can be avoided. Because of this, we list the top ten mistakes cleaning workers often make when stripping floors and offers some ways to prevent them.
1. Learning the skill on your customer's floors. Stripping a floor is a learned skill. Learn it in a technical school or at a distributor's work area, but not on your customer's floor. The skill relates to knowing appropriate chemicals, floor surfaces, tools and equipment, and the methodology to effective and efficient
2. Not knowing the floor type. The floor type will influence the chmicals, tools and process that can be applied. Timber is a natural vulnerable material, with stains, againg and wear and tear to consider. Natural stone is sometimes very porous, sometimes soft. Porcelain tiles may have sensitive surfaces impacting both the stripper and ability to adhere to some sealers. Rough tiles or concrete will impede pad stripping.
3. Not having all the tools necessary and on hand before starting the job; this can slow or compromise the entire floor stripping process. There is a defined time frame for the process.
4. Using soiled mops and buckets; always use clean equipment. Residues from previous cleaning may compromise chemicals or add grit that may damage surfaces
5. Not wearing safety clothing, including goggles, gloves, and stripper (safety) slippers or non-slip shoes. OHS costs are measured in injury, medical treatment, compensation, and staff confidence in company procedures.
6. Not posting safety cones around the work area.
7. Working in too large a work area. Always section off the floor and work in one area at a time. Stripper needs short time (5-10mins) to break down sealer, but soon after will start reforming into a new seal layer.
8. Not properly diluting the stripper. In most cases, the stripper must be diluted; also, it is often recommended to use cold water.
9. Not allowing for proper dwell time, or agitating appropriate to break sealer down. Where possible find out what selaer has been used previously, some are very tough. You may also find multiple types have been used. Customers should be advised previous poor strip and seal jobs, or unknown previous sealer, may affect time taken and charged for.
10. Not using a defoamer with a wet/dry vacuum. A wet/dry vac may be used to vacuum up the slurry from the floor, but this can cause a lot of foam to develop which could be drawn into the vacuum motor causing corrosion or short circuiting. The defoamer will minimize the foam buildup so the machine works more effectively.
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