Clean, shiny and well maintained flooring can create a welcoming environment to your future clients or anyone else that walks into your building. Over time however, flooring may begin to lose it luster becoming dull and even discolored. When this happens it is time to strip the old wax finish and apply a new coat of wax to the flooring. Not only does this make your flooring shine, but it more importantly protects it. Here are 10 steps to strip and wax your floors.
Stripping the floor
Choose the best stripper for your floor type. Not all floors are created equal. Before you begin it’s often best to check the manufacturer’s instructions on whether the stripper is best suited for resilient or non-resilient floor types. Worldwide Janitor offers a wide variety of different commercial floor strippers.
Clear obstacles. Once you have selected a commercial floor stripper, you want to clear the affected area of any desks, tables, rugs and anything else that could be in the way. Once all the furniture has been removed, sweep and inspect the tile. Be sure to remove anything you see stuck on the tile such as stickers, gum or tape.
Dilute product. Always follow the directions on the bottle for proper dilution level. Once you have successfully mixed the stripper, you want to test it in a small corner or a place that is not as visible. If the stripper bleeds or discolors the floor, the solution is either too strong or your need to change to a different type of stripper.
Apply stripper. Pour floor stripper into a mop bucket and begin to apply it to the floor by flood mopping. Liberally mop the selected area with the floor stripper. It is important to not let the floor stripper dry on the tile. Once you have mopped the selected area, allow the stripper to dwell for 5-10 minutes. Also, if you will be using this same mop bucket for anything other than floor stripping, you may want to use a plastic trash bag as a liner to avoid cross contamination.
Floor scrubber. After the product has been allowed to dwell, proceed to scrub off the old wax. This can be done either manually or by an electric floor scrubber. Some areas, such as corners, receive less traffic and thus have more wax build-up. Make sure to take your time in these areas as to remove any build-up. As you are scrubbing the floor, you will notice the area will start to appear duller and duller.
Discard remaining wax. Once you have finished scrubbing the floor, it is time to remove the wax. This can be done with a floor squeegee. Afterward, use a wet/dry vac to suck up any left over residue and help dry the area.
Rinse. It is important to rinse the floor with a neutralizer after the wax has been stripped. This will ensure the complete removal of any remaining residue or stripper. Chameleon Floor Prep/Neutralizer is a great neutralizer, even changing colors to indicated whether the floor is ready for waxing. After you have rinsed the floor with the neutralizer, once again use the wet/dry vac to suck up the remaining water. This is an important step as any remaining stripper on the floor will result in the wax peeling off later. Rinse the floor twice more using wet/dry vac to suck up the solution.
Completion test. Before you are ready to begin waxing your floor it is beneficial to conduct a test to ensure all wax and residue has been removed. There are two ways to check if all the residue has been removed. First, before the floor is allowed to dry, place a black or dark colored towel on the floor. If white residue appears on the towel this means not all has been removed by the stripper. These areas may need to be treated again. For the second test, allow the floor to dry and then lightly pass a putty knife over the flooring. If any wax if found on the knife, you may need to re-strip these areas.
Applying wax to flooring
Wax sealer. After the floor is completely dry, fill the mop bucket with wax sealer. Again, to avoid cross contamination between products, it is often best to use a plastic trash bag as a liner for the mop bucket. From there, apply the wax to the flooring. Unlike applying the stripper, be sure not to flood the floor area. Rather, apply a thin and yet even layer of wax across the floor. Allow to dry. Dry time can vary on different products, but generally wait 45 minutes between coats.
Apply another coat. After the wax has been allowed to dry, test a small area before walking out onto the wax as this can leave footprints in the wax. If the floor is tacty or even slightly sticky, avoid walking on it until completely dry. Apply as many coats as desired or needed allowing the appropiate dry time in between coats.
Apply the above steps to make your flooring look new again.