Hard floor maintenance procedures and products vary greatly depending on the type of flooring used. Be sure to first correctly identify flooring and use our below guide for proper care.
Asphalt Tile / Linoleum
Products with a pH above 10 will emulsify protective coatings leading to a rapid deterioration of the tile. Solvent-type cleaners tend to soften, or even dissolve asphalt and linoleum tile. Stripping solutions should fall in a pH range of 7-10. Neutral pH stripper works exceptionally well on these types of floors. Stronger solutions can cause running or bleeding of the color pigments in the tile.
Vinyl / Vinyl Composition Tile
Methods and materials are the same for maintenance of all vinyl flooring, as the vinyl flooring is virtually immune to solvents and is highly resistant to acids and alkalis. Although some manufacturers claim a protective coating or wax is not necessary, there is no floor covering that is impervious to abrasive friction and wear.
There are many types of wood and just as many types of coatings for them. It is best to use a neutral or mild alkaline solution for cleaning. Perhaps most important is to keep the amount of cleaning solution and rinse water to a minimum to avoid wood fibers absorbing water and becoming damaged.
Quarry tile is fired at 2,000˚F or higher. The common dark red color comes from the minerals in the clay body. Other colors can be produced by selection of clay or adding pigments. Normally there is no glazing or pattern added. Brick pavers are another type of clay tile similar to quarry tile. They have a rougher texture and are often cut to size so that the floor looks as if it was paved with bricks.
Ceramic / Porcelain Tile
Ceramic is resistant to alkaline, acids and solvents used in cleaning. Ceramic’s abrasion resistance keeps it from being scratched by gritty soil under foot if the grade of tile matches the situation in which it is used. While both quarry and ceramic tile are virtually impervious to most elements, the grout surrounding them may not be. When using an acid product, be sure that complete and thorough rinsing is done. Acidic products may eat away at some grout as it would a lime deposit. Porcelain tile can be damaged by cleaning with hydrofluoric / hydrogen fluoride acid cleaners.
Acidic products should never be used on natural marble, as marble is composed of limestone which is attacked by acid just as an acid would dissolve a hardness film. A moderate or strong alkaline product may discolor (Lighten) marble, and for that reason their use is not recommended. A neutral stone cleaner is recommended.
Seamless (Poured Urethane), etc.
Seamless flooring is a very durable flooring which is impervious to most chemicals used in cleaning. These floors are sometimes poured in several steps, and if faulty preparation is done between steps, a deterioration of the floor may occur on its own. It would be best to avoid strong alkaline cleaning solutions.
Linoleum / Marmoleum
These floor coverings are made from renewable materials such as solidified linseed oil (linoxyn), pine rosin, ground cork dust, wood flour, and mineral fillers such as calcium carbonate, most commonly on a burlap or canvas backing; pigments are often added to the materials.
Marble or Granite chips set in mortar and then ground smooth is a terrazzo floor. Some people believe there are special sealers used on terrazzo floors and there is no real need for any other protective coating. However, as with any type of floor you must apply a sacrificial coating in order to preserve and protect the marble chips, as well as provide an anti-slip surface.
These types of floors are found in health care and hospital units such as surgery, intensive care, or where oxygen is used. Conductive Flooring allows static electricity to be conducted to the ground without the spark you sometimes encounter. This property of the floor helps to avoid explosions in an oxygen rich atmosphere, so it is very important that only an approved product be used and very thorough rinsing be carried out.
Metal Cross-linked Polymer Floor finishes
These are synthetic floor finishes where the plastic molecules in the floor finish are bonded together with a metal ion to produce a polymer floor finish that is unaffected by water, detergents, and stripping without the use of ammonia. Typically the more coats of these floor finishes the more shine you will get and the slip resistance is not diminished.
KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER
Condition of Floor
Floors that have been regularly maintained for several years with buffable waxes are difficult to strip and occasionally impossible. Essentially, the wax turns into part of the floor. A customer must commit the time and effort required to strip the layers of wax. If this is not possible, then a buffable finish is recommended.
Dark colored floors enhance powder, scuffs, dust, and scratch marks. It is important to remember this before making a recommendation to the customer. Black heel marks show up more easily on light colored floors. Protect these with a highly black mark resistant floor finish product.
Entrance / Exterior Conditions
Buffable and non-Buffable finishes become quickly scratched by tracked-in sand and grit. Usually, buffables provide better protection than non buffables against abrasive foot traffic. Because ultra high speed finishes are pliable, they can generally be recovered by buffing provided that enough finish is still on the floor.
See our Cleaning Products for all types of flooring.