It is now the time of year when a lot of people will be stripping floors. Many people still don’t realize there are different ways to achieve the same results. The traditional method is still to use liquid floor stripper and a floor machine or an automatic floor scrubber. When using this method there a few areas of concern.
- Make sure you know what type of floor you are stripping and the type of finish you want to remove. Most floors will be VCT tile or terrazzo.
- Choose the stripper that is most appropriate for the finish you are removing. The stronger the stripper in general is better. But make sure the stripper you choose is not so strong that it bleeds the color in the floor.
- Dilute the stripper at the proper ratio with cold water and apply to the floor with a clean mop. It is important to use cold water because you want as much dwell time as possible and hot water evaporates more quickly. Cold water enables you to keep the liquid diluted stripper on the floor longer. Do not allow the stripper to dry out on the floor. Work in small areas and completely saturate the floor surface.
- Agitate with a floor machine or an automatic scrubber or a floor using an aggressive stripping pad to remove the finish. When the stripper is removed vacuum the floor, vacuum the slurry mixture with the scrubber or a wet/dry vac.
- Rinse the floor well with a neutral cleaner to neutralize the caustic nature of the stripper. Without proper rinsing the new floor finish may have adhesion problems.
- Always use proper Personal Protective Equipment such as gloves, goggles, and non-slip shoes or safety slippers. Stripper is extremely slippery and caustic.
The newer and safer method to strip floors is by using an orbital scrubber that can be used dry or with only water. These machines can safely remove floor finish without the use of chemical stripper. These offer many advantages.
- No need to buy expensive chemical stripper.
- Works on all floor surfaces.
- Reduced slip and fall accidents since the floor is always clean and dry.
- Strips into corners that a floor machine can’t reach. Reduced labor using hand tools to get into hard to reach places.
- Don’t have to clean up the baseboards because stripper & finish is not splashed by the use of a typical floor machine.
- Strips the same amount of area as typical chemical strippers in about 20% of the time.
- No flushing caustic chemical strippers down the drain.
- Eliminates finish adhesion issues since no caustic chemical is used.
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