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In the bleak mid winter

27 January 2017

​Mark Styles, managing director of Thomann-Hanry, offers advice on protecting floors in winter months

Whether indoors or an outside terrace, winter can take its toll on floors. Cleaning and maintenance becomes harder to manage – as any housekeeper will vouch – and keeping them clean feels like an everlasting chore. And first impressions count. From retail to hospitality to business, when clients first enter your premises it’s essential your floors are as pristine as possible, even if it’s a miserable, damp, wet February day. In winter months, added protection is needed more than ever to make cleaning and maintenance as easy as possible. 

Interior flooring, especially natural stone, should ideally be protected by a professionally applied sealant. Not only does this protect the substrate but it makes the housekeeping role significantly easier. There are different types of sealant available and selecting the right one for your interior is important. 

How do you know if your floor is protected or not?

You can undertake a simple test to establish how well your floor is sealed and, if it needs re-applying or treating, take the necessary steps to bring it up to the suitable standard. Most natural stone floors are porous and do need to be sealed to prevent staining. Try this simple test to see how well your floor is sealed: 

    •    Put 3 drops of water on the floor surface

    •    After 1 minute wipe away the first drop

    •    After 2 minutes wipe away the second drop

    •    After 3 minutes wipe away the third drop

If the stone is dark after one minute, the floor won’t have been sealed so certainly look at suitable options to resurrect the situation. If after three minutes there is a bead of water sitting on the floor, then it is suitably protected already.

A good, all-in-one surface protection should be effective for many years and, depending on its formulation, can be used to treat hardwearing floors both inside and out. With some offering a life expectancy of up to eight years, depending on footfall, such as the product Aqua Fend, they can be a very cost effective solution for added protection in winter months - especially with the damp British climate.

A quality breathable floor protector should make surfaces impregnable to water ingress – liquids literally form as droplets on the surface that can easily be removed causing no damage to the substrate whatsoever. So, whether it’s muddy footprints in the reception or spillages on the terrace, the floor is given added protection, even more beneficial in winter months.  

An example of where this has worked well is at the premium shopping centre at the heart of London, One New Change. Here, 5000 square metres of Yorkstone Paving was treated with a specialist sealant to protect the floor and make ongoing cleaning and maintenance significantly easier and more cost effective. The visual look of the floor was entirely unaffected. 

Alternatively, The Plimsoll Building is a new development of high end residential apartments at Kings Cross. Here, extra protection was added to floors in the communal areas – when applied by specialists, long term protection for all the residents is expected.