January 20, 2012

Cleaning old tile floors.

Too much of a good thing" defines the problem with cleaning old tile floors. Years and layers of wax build-up seal in dirt that cannot be removed with simple mopping. To make these floors look like new again, you must strip them completely and wax them anew.
Set Up
1. Mix stripper as per the manufacturer's specifications in a large pail with a mop. This will be known as the "slop" bucket.
2. Pour clean water into the wringer pail with a mop. This is the rinse pail.
3. Set up the floor buffing machine, with a black stripping pad in place and the wet vac at the furthest part of the room, so no one will have to walk on the clean sections as they are completed. Plan on working toward the exit.
Stripping Off The Old Wax
1. Spread a generous amount of stripping solution with the slop mop in a small area (about 25 square feet). There should be enough solution on the floor that a match can float on it. Allow the solution to sit on the floor untouched for between five and ten minutes (consult the manufacturer's instructions, as times differ by product). The floor is at its most slippery at this point, as the old wax is emulsified.
2. Buff the floor with the rotary floor machine in a circular motion; then use a back and forth motion during a second pass over the area.
3. Use the putty knife to remove wax build up in corners, along wall boards and other tight places the machine cannot reach. Do not scrape into the tile; simply glide the putty knife over the surface.
4. Vacuum the area. Then, rinse with a well-wrung-out clear water mop. Wipe off any splashes on wall boards or furnishings promptly before they dry.
5. Repeat steps one through four until the entire floor has been stripped of old wax.
6. Allow floor to dry. Check for areas of old wax which need to be scrubbed again. Once all areas have been stripped of old wax, then remove all equipment from the area before proceeding to the final section.
Apply Floor Finish
1. Elegant Cleaning Service's technicians suggest floor finish be applied by pouring one to two cups of floor finish onto the floor.
2. Using a mop dedicated to floor finish only (do not reuse mops from earlier steps), spread the floor finish in a figure eight pattern. Work small sections, making sure to overlap whenever possible, pouring one to two cups of floor finish on the floor as needed.
3. Continue until the entire floor has received a thin first coat. Allow to dry for about 20 minutes. Humidity and air movement will affect the drying time; however, a thin coat should take no more than a 45 minutes to dry.
4. Clean and pack up stripping equipment while waiting for the floor to dry.
5. Apply two more thin coats of floor finish.
Tips & Warnings
Depending on wax build up, it may be necessary to strip a floor two or three times to remove all old wax. Multiple thin coats of floor finish are more effective than thick coats. The first coat of floor finish may be replaced by a coat of floor sealer. Make sure to clean stripping equipment immediately before old wax dries on the machines.
Old tile floor may contain asbestos; therefore, never scratch or try to remove tiles without proper protective equipment. If in doubt, consult a professional.