Floor Refinishing is invariably an involved process that is time consuming, often stressful, and—because it is so labor intensive—costly. The last thing a floorcare technician wants is for her or his job to be ruined by not applying the new floor finish correctly.
The following 10 tips are applicable to most floors and will help to ensure that floor finish is applied properly after every floor stripping:
1. After the floor has been stripped, be sure it is thoroughly clean, rinsed, and dry before applying the first coat of finish.
2. With today’s floor finishes, a sealer is often not needed; however, for some floors and in heavily trafficked areas, a sealer may be recommended to help protect the floor.
3. If using a conventional mop, select a rayon mop. Other materials tend to collect lint, which could then become part of the floor’s finish.
4. A microfiber mop head is often preferable to a conventional mop because it allows for application of thinner coats; there is also usually less waste and easier cleanup. In addition, microfiber mop heads are more effective when working edges and corners.
5. As mentioned, apply thin coats of finish; usually two coats are needed as a foundation for the floor with subsequent coats needed to help build up the shine.
6. “Cut” the edge of the floor first: Starting at the entrance, apply a thin coat of finish along all edges of the floor next to the baseboards.
7. To prevent edge buildup, apply one coat to non-trafficked edges for every three coats applied in traffic lanes.
8. With edges cut, apply the first coat starting from the area of the room farthest from the door and work toward the exit.
9. If using a finish designed for high-speed burnishing, some contractors burnish the floor after the first coat to “smooth out” the floor so it has a better shine; be sure the finish is thoroughly dry.
10. Traditional floor finish needs as much as an hour to dry between coats. A good way to test if the finish is dry is to apply adhesive tape over a small area and then remove it with a quick pull. If the finish comes off with the tape, it needs more time to dry.
There are few shortcuts when it comes to floor refinishing. However, one that can reduce the amount of time involved dramatically is to select a new generation of floor finishes that dry within 10 to 15 minutes. This way, as many as six coats of finish can be applied in an hour compared to just one or two using a traditional floor finish.