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Protecting Commercial Floors From Environmental Damage

Retail and commercial businesses are consistently facing the challenge of maintaining the durability and aesthetics of floors. The primary reason for the wear and tear of floors is the continuous foot traffic they endure.

The constant exposure to foot traffic not only degrades the strength of the floors but also affects their aesthetics. Clean floors are important for customers. It keeps them happy and satisfied.

Using the same floor care plan for many locations can be expensive for big companies with many facilities across the country. We design plans that consider regional differences, so our clients need to purchase fewer chemicals and customers have a better in-store experience.

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Universal, Nationwide Damage To Commercial Flooring

Customer foot traffic can damage floors equal to 400-800 grit sandpaper. This level of abrasion can remove the polish and finish of the floor, exposing the bare surface to further damage.

When the polish and finish start to wear off, the floor loses its shine. Customers may see wax missing, uneven wax, yellowing, and a dull finish with no shine.

This compromises the professional image of the space and may affect the perception and behavior of customers and clients.

Regional Considerations In Commercial Floor Care

It’s not just the foot traffic that contributes to the floor damage. The challenge is compounded by various environmental factors that are specific to different regions across the United States.

Weather like rain, snow, and humidity can change what type of debris comes into a building. The facility’s location affects what kind of dirt gets on the floor, like sand or dust from beaches or deserts.

Different regions of the United States have unique environmental conditions which require specific attention and customized solutions. Addressing these challenges requires a multi-faceted approach.

Our team develops tailored maintenance programs that include the appropriate cleaning agents, tools, and frequencies of cleaning and refinishing.

Northwestern States: Environmental Challenges Impacting Floor Cleaning

Stores and facilities in Northwestern states, such as Washington and Oregon, have a prominent challenge of dirty water tracked in by customers. This is largely due to the heavy and frequent rainfall compared to other regions.

Though the increase in rainfall isn’t year-round for these states, commercial floors in this region are subjected to higher levels of moisture compared to other regions. This increased moisture leads to the accumulation of dirt, mud, and debris on the floor surface, making regular cleaning and maintenance crucial.

The exposure to moisture also creates a favorable environment for the growth of mold and mildew, which can pose health risks and cause damage to the flooring material if not addressed promptly.

Northwestern States: Best Commercial Floor Care Practices

To effectively manage the challenges posed by dirty water, our specialists typically develop plans that factor in more frequent cleaning schedules. Regular mopping and spot cleaning are necessary to remove the accumulated dirt and prevent it from causing long-term damage to the floor finish.

Additionally, the maintenance team should prioritize keeping the floors dry to facilitate dust mopping.

Dust mopping is a crucial step in floor care that involves removing loose dirt, dust, and debris before performing more intensive cleaning or refinishing procedures such as stripping and finishing recoats.

In the Northwest region, it becomes even more important to ensure that the floors are dry before dust mopping. Performing dust mopping on wet or damp surfaces can result in the spread of dirt and leave streaks or residue, compromising the cleanliness and appearance of the floor.

Our team’s recommended frequency of stripping and finishing recoat work may need to be adjusted in the Northwest regions, as well. The higher moisture levels and increased potential for dirt accumulation may necessitate more frequent recoating to maintain the integrity and aesthetics of the floors.

Southwestern & West Coast States: Environmental Challenges Impacting Floor Cleaning

The Southwest and West Coast regions of the USA, including states like Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico, present their own set of challenges for floor care professionals. While some challenges may overlap with those encountered elsewhere, these regions have distinct environmental factors that require specific attention and strategies for effective floor care.

Customers in the Southwest and West Coast regions track in dirt or sand, which can scratch the floor’s wax coating. This issue is particularly prevalent in desert areas where sandy or dusty conditions are common.

In more mountainous areas or areas with higher elevations, such as Flagstaff, AZ or Salt Lake City, UT, facility managers face the additional challenge of customers tracking in dirty snow. During winter months, snow can become contaminated with dirt, debris, and melting agents, which can contribute to the soiling of floors.

Southwestern & West Coast States: Best Commercial Floor Care Practices

To address these challenges, regular sweeping, dust mopping, and damp mopping are necessary to remove the abrasive particles and prevent them from damaging the floor surface.

In regions with higher elevation and chances of snowfall, more frequent cleaning and careful maintenance are required. Regular snow removal and immediate cleaning of any melted snow or slush prevents the accumulation of moisture and the potential for staining or damage to the floor.

Additionally, implementing preventive measures such as the use of mats and the application of protective floor coatings can help minimize the impact of tracked-in debris and moisture.

Midwest & Northern States: Environmental Challenges Impacting Floor Cleaning

The Midwest and Northern USA, encompassing states like Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Montana, face unique floor care challenges that are predominantly influenced by the winter season.

During this time, the use of salt to melt ice in parking lots becomes a significant concern for floor care professionals and facility managers in these regions.

As customers enter retail stores, they inadvertently track in the salt used on the icy parking lots. The salt, along with the moisture and dirt present on footwear, poses a threat to the floor’s surface.

The salt particles, when combined with foot traffic, can scratch the floor’s finish, leading to surface damage. This damage is further compounded when the salt embeds itself deeper into the floor.

In addition to the challenges posed by salt, the Midwest and Northern USA regions experience a considerable amount of dirty water due to snow and ice.

The accumulation of snow and subsequent melting leads to the creation of dirty slush and water that gets tracked into retail and commercial spaces. This dirty water contains dirt, debris, and potentially harmful chemicals used in snow removal processes.

Midwest & Northern States: Best Commercial Floor Care Practices

To maintain clean and safe floors, more frequent cleaning and maintenance are necessary during the winter season. This includes regular mopping, damp mopping, and the use of auto scrubbers to ensure the thorough removal of dirty water, reducing the risk of slips, trips, and falls.

The harsh conditions and increased foot traffic during the winter months can accelerate wear and tear on the floor finish. To address the issue of salt in the winter, specialized cleaning techniques are required, such as using a neutral pH cleaner specifically formulated for salt residue removal. The use of this type of cleaner ensures effective removal of the salt without causing any additional damage to the floor.

To protect the floor and minimize damage caused by the winter elements, it is essential to follow the recommended recoating schedules. Adhering to the recommended recoating frequencies ensures that the floor receives adequate protection and maintains its appearance and durability.

Another essential step in floor care during the winter season is thorough dust mopping. By incorporating thorough dust mopping into the floor care routine, floor care professionals and facility managers can maintain a cleaner surface and improve the overall effectiveness of subsequent cleaning and refinishing procedures.

Southern States: Environmental Challenges Impacting Floor Cleaning

One of the primary challenges in the Southern USA, in states like Florida, Texas, Georgia, or Louisiana, is the presence of dirt or sand that customers track into retail and commercial spaces. This can be particularly problematic as dirt and sand particles act as abrasives and can scratch the wax coating on the floor.

The constant foot traffic exacerbates this issue, leading to a gradual degradation of the floor finish over time. The humid temperatures experienced in Southern regions further compound the floor care challenges.

High humidity levels prolong the drying time of floor finishes, which can result in increased store downtime. When the floor finish takes longer to dry, it becomes susceptible to scuffing and marking, leading to a dirtier appearance.

The increased humidity can also affect the performance of certain floor care chemicals. The prolonged drying time may necessitate the use of additional chemical products to achieve the desired results. However, using excessive chemicals can lead to residues or build-up on the floor surface, compromising its appearance and cleanliness.

Southern States: Best Commercial Floor Care Practices

Floor care professionals in the Southern states should always carefully follow manufacturer guidelines and use the appropriate amount of chemicals to avoid these issues.

Floor care professionals and facility managers must carefully plan and schedule floor maintenance tasks, taking into account the extended drying time. While this may involve closing the store earlier, choosing better recoat products like Shattered 99 and Transformer 25 expedites the entire process.

Proper recoating techniques are essential in addressing the challenges faced in the Southern USA. Improper recoating can leave the floor more vulnerable to scuffing, marking, and dirt accumulation. This can result in either the need for more frequent and costly recoatings or a generally dirtier appearance.

Frequent sweeping and mopping are also necessary to remove the dirt and prevent it from scratching the surface. Additionally, placing mats at entryways can help minimize the amount of dirt and sand tracked into the facility.

Regular maintenance, including proper cleaning, preparation, and application of floor finishes, is necessary to extend the lifespan of the floor and minimize the need for frequent and costly interventions.

East Coast: Environmental Challenges Impacting Floor Cleaning

One of the primary challenges faced in East Coast states, such as Massachusetts, Virginia, New Jersey and North Carolina, is the prevalence of sand tracked in by customers.

Customers in these areas often visit beaches or areas with sandy terrain, resulting in sand particles being brought into retail and commercial spaces. This sand acts as an abrasive material, scratching the wax coating on the floor.

Even locations that are not in close proximity to the shore can still experience the presence of airborne sand particles, making it necessary to address this challenge regardless of the store’s specific location.

During the winter months, the East Coast region also experiences icy conditions, leading to the use of salt for ice melting in parking lots. Unfortunately, this salt is often tracked into retail stores by customers, presenting a significant threat to the floor’s surface.

The salt can damage the floor’s finish, especially when it scratches the wax coating due to foot traffic. This damage can be especially pronounced in high-traffic areas.

In addition to the challenges posed by sand and salt, regular maintenance during the winter season is essential to address the accumulation of dirt and moisture on the floor. Customers may track in not only sand and salt but also dirt and water brought in from snowy and slushy conditions.

East Coast: Best Commercial Floor Care Practices

To combat the issue of tracked and airborne sand, regular sweeping, dust mopping, and damp mopping are crucial to remove the sand particles from the floor surface and prevent them from causing scratches and damage.

Recovering the floor from salt-related damage requires the use of a neutral pH cleaner specifically formulated for salt residue removal. By using this type of cleaner, floor care professionals can effectively eliminate the salt and restore the floor’s appearance.

To maintain clean and safe floors, it is necessary to implement more frequent cleaning and maintenance procedures. This may involve more regular mopping, dust mopping, or auto scrubbers to ensure thorough removal of dirt, moisture, and chemical residues.

Furthermore, proactive floor care practices, such as the use of entrance mats, can help minimize the amount of sand, salt, dirt, and moisture tracked into the retail space. Placing durable mats at entryways can effectively trap and collect these particles, preventing them from being spread across the floor. Regularly cleaning and maintaining these mats are essential to ensure their optimal functionality.

Designing A Nationwide Floor Care Maintenance Plan

At Brulin, our dedicated team of facility cleaning advisors help businesses design floor care programs that save time and money. Our goal is always to deliver results and reduce the Total Cost of Operations for our clients.

Our concentrated products and team of advisors allow facility managers and building service contractors to be less reliant on chemistry, save money on labor, clean floors faster, and extend the life of their equipment. Our 88+ years of experience brings a nationwide perspective to our customized service.

If you’re ready to lower your Total Cost of Operations and design the right floor care plan for your facilities, learn more about our consultative approach and contact our team.

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