If you were to read the tender or request for proposal (RFP) for cleaning and maintaining schools twenty or more years ago, you might be surprised to see how often floors were to be stripped and refinished. Typically, the RFP will say that floors are to be refinished twice per year, and some require the floors to be refinished as many as four times per year.
That is not the case today. Refinishing floors is very labor intensive and because of this, costly. Plus, some manufacturers of floor finishes such as Charlotte Products, have introduced more advanced finishes that, with proper care, stretch refinishing cycles. This “proper care” often involves using an automatic scrubber to deep scrub/ clean the floor. After scrubbing, applying a thin coat of finish to the floor helps restore the floors shine and build-up protection on the floor, so that the finish lasts longer.
However, another way building service contractors and custodial workers can stretch floor refinishing cycles is by using an old system that isn’t practiced as often today as it was at one time. That old system is called “spray buffing.” Spray buffing helps clean the floor; removes scuff and heel marks, and typically leaves a nice gloss shine to the floor.
Put wet floor signs in place before beginning the process. To spray buff a floor, we must first dust mop or vacuum the floor. This is followed by damp mopping the floor with a clean mop and an effective all-purpose cleaner. Best to use a good quality neutral floor cleaner. This will remove soil from the floor, but not harm the floor finish.
Once the floor is clean, here are the steps to take:
- Use a low-speed or high-speed floor machine based on the type of finish applied to the floor
- Attach a “red” pad if using a low-speed floor machine. These pads are designed to be aggressive enough to remove scuffs and marks from the floor but soft enough to leave a shine on the floor.
- Select a cleaning solution designed specifically for spray buffing.
- Start at a far corner of the room and work backward, towards the exit.
- Using the spray buff cleaning solution, diluted as instructed, then lightly mist a small section of the floor at a time; remember the cleaning solution must remain “wet” on the floor for it to work effectively
- Flip or change the pads as needed
- Once completed, dust mop or vacuum the floor one more time to remove any dust generated by the spray buffing process
According to some cleaning professionals, spray buffing can help stretch floor refinishing cycles by more than 50 percent. This means if a floor is typically stripped and refinished twice per year, the floor finish may last a full year before it needs to be refinished. This can be a significant cost saving for cleaning contractors, schools, and all types of facilities.