This article was originally published by Cleaning & Maintenance Management
In North American markets, the level of shine on a floor reflects the performance of the custodial crew, with high gloss perceived as superior. Interestingly, in many European markets, more of a matte finish is preferred. According to Bill Griffin, president of Cleaning Consultant Services Inc., it is a matter of differing opinion. "We polish it to a shine and, in Europe, they would shoot you for destroying the historic integrity of the floor if you patched it or made it shine," proclaims Griffin.
So, you want a shiny floor because it looks great, is more durable and, last but not least, you feel a sense of pride from gazing at a mirror-like finish. But, how do you get from a dull floor to one worthy of reflection? It is all in the ongoing, daily maintenance. However, the process begins with selecting a finish that will withstand a constant onslaught of foot traffic and detergents.
Choosing The Proper Finish
There are two basic camps regarding floor finish — what longtime industry veterans would refer to as wax. High solids finishes, which have a greater concentration of polymers, and low solids finishes, which contain more water. Solids content is what remains on the floor surface after a finish has been applied and the water contained therein fully evaporated. Generally, high solids finishes dry more quickly and are more resistant to scuffing, marring and other degradation. Low solids finishes are typically less expensive and require an area to be out of commission longer due to increased curing times. As one would imagine, a low solids finish — roughly 18 percent to 22 percent polymer content — is more susceptible to discoloration and will not react as positively to frequent burnishing as will a high solids finish of roughly 22 percent or higher polymer content. However, the higher the solids percentage in a finish, the more difficult it will be to spread out evenly on a floor, opening the door to uneven gloss, mop swirls and worse if proper procedures are not followed. Depending on the type of traffic your facility receives and the amount of resources at your availability for daily maintenance, your choice of floor finish will vary.