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Floorcare – not for the amateur

15 May 2014

Jeremy Thorn, director of Jangro, looks at the latest developments in products and techniques for floor cleaning and maintenance

Floorcare is not something to take on lightly. Each year there is a new fashionable colour or material variation with special maintenance needs. Architects and interior designers set the commercial flooring trends, with little thought for those responsible for maintaining them. Never before have we had so many flooring variations or special cleaning needs, so the range of products required is constantly changing. Care for the environment and health and safety play important roles too – slipping on wet floors are a regular insurance claim.

The death of traditional polish?

Some retail outlets avoid polish because regular stripping and sealing, carried out at night, requires additional security staff and night cleaners. A new breed of tough water based sealers and polishes are now available and are a cost effective, durable solution. They work on almost every type of flooring, minimise inventory, and give outstanding results over a long period of time. ‘Restorer’ type products containing high solids are now available to provide the look of a polished floor. They require only a daily mop, spray clean or machine scrub, and the floors can be buffed if required. These products are now so advanced that a thin undiluted coat can be applied to give a fast drying gloss finish.

Less is more

Water based sealers are now well established in the market and will knock ordinary polymer- and solvents-based products into the cleaning history books. A new concept – Jangro Total Floor Treatment – has been designed for vinyl, linoleum, terrazzo, stone, concrete, porous composition, thermoplastic and wood floors. This water based clear coat emulsion sealer is quick drying, easy to apply, needs less frequent treatments and will last up to two years if maintained correctly. When the amount of product and required labour is considered over a set period of time, it has a far lower ‘cost in use’ than polymer-based products. With this product, floors are easier to maintain with a minimum number of chemicals used, resulting in less confusion, less operator training and more free space in the cleaning cupboard.

The way this type of product is applied is totally different to traditional floor finishes: application of the second coat is made in the same direction as the first, which gives a smooth, high gloss, hardwearing finish. Applying the second coat at right angles in the traditional method can result in a poor finish. This type of new floor finish is extremely tough and requires an equally tough floor stripper to remove it. Fortunately, such products are already available and they will also remove heavy build-ups of traditional emulsion polish quickly and with minimal effort. 

First impressions are lasting

When visiting an office or workplace, the standard of maintenance in two particular areas create long lasting impressions – they are the reception and washrooms. If either is below par, visitors become concerned about the organisation. Architects must take note from the Cleanability Awards Programme and focus on specifying minimum maintenance flooring. The composition of tiles varies from 'easy to clean' to 'very difficult' and some rubber-based flooring requires much more time and effort to clean than other coverings.

Good floor maintenance is not totally dependent on what is applied, it is important to look at how it is applied. The new floor care product innovations are best applied with simple new technology such as washable, hygienic microfibre mopping systems. These are inexpensive, easily cleaned, re-usable and give a much more controlled and even product application. Lambs wool applicators should not be used.

So there you have it: we now have the latest generation of total floor care products, which are here to stay for economic, safety and environmental reasons. If less product is used that means less is transported, less power is used to apply it and less containers go to landfill. Isn’t it time that you took a look at new developments too?