Wood Floor Care Tips (Solvent-Based Systems)
PREPARATION OF FLOORS
a. Sanding This procedure should be performed only by experienced maintenance personnel to assure good results. Improper sanding can ruin a floor.
1. Remove all moldings. Sweep floor to remove all excess dirt and grit which might clog sandpaper.
2. Using a commercial drum sander, make the initial cut with the grain using #2-1/2 sandpaper for new floors and open coat sandpaper for old finished floors. Trim work should be done using the same grade sandpaper. Sweep or vacuum all dust.
3. Make second cut using #1-1/2 sandpaper, sanding with the grain. Again, sweep or vacuum up all dust.
4. Make final cut using #00 sandpaper, sanding with the grain. All finish should be removed by the end of the third cut. Sweep or vacuum all dust. Tack rag the floor twice using a good quality waterless cleaner to remove finer dust.
b. Chemical Stripping
Chemical stripping of wood floors should be performed by experienced professionals, due to the toxicity of methylene chloride strippers. Other non-toxic strippers are commercially available, however, they require special procedures in order to work effectively.
1. Remove athletic painted court lines by first applying a liberal amount of stripper using a wide paintbrush. Apply sawdust over stripper to reduce evaporation. Allow to stand 10 to 15 minutes (or as recommended by the manufacturer) and then scrap up paint with a putty knife. Eliminating the lines first will prevent the colored enamel from staining the wood flooring during the stripping process.
2. Apply stripper using a lambs wool applicator. Work in small areas of about 80 sq. ft. at a time.
3. Keep stripper surface wet with more stripper as it cuts into finish or evaporates. Never let floor dry out. Covering stripper with sawdust will slow down the evaporation process. After about 10 to 15 minutes, scrub floor with a floor machine equipped with a steel wire brush. Clean out brush frequently to prevent clogging and uneven stripping.
4. Sweep up sawdust, or push stripping solution into a small area and pick up using a shovel, placing into a steel container for disposal.
5. Abrade floor with a #120 grit screen. Rinse floor with a good quality waterless cleaner, allow to dry and rebuff with a #120 grit screen again. Vacuum and tack-rag the floor once again to remove all dust and particles.
Begin by observing floor area for stains, spills, heel marks, rubber burns, and gum on the floor. Use a good quality cleaner to remove excessive soils prior to scrubbing operation. Use a putty knife if needed, to remove gum. Begin screening the floor at a moderate speed using a new 100 or 120 grit screen under a slow speed buffer. Cross buff the floor. For best results, screen east/west, then north/south. Use one screen for every 500 square feet. Note: never use a damaged screen on floors. This may result in uneven surface dulling or create deep scratches in the finish that will not be easily removed. When complete, the floor should have a uniform white powder on the surface and a dull, even appearance. Do not leave ANY shiny spots. Vacuum up all dust using a non-marking vacuum head. Watch out for creating scuffmarks from black power cords, vacuum wheels, shoes or any other black rubber material. Next, tack-rag the floor with a clean turkish towel well wrung out in Clean-Up Waterless Cleaner. Be sure to change out towel frequently and, above all, change water when it becomes slightly discolored. Repeat this procedure at least twice to ensure that all dust and soil has been removed. Even more tack ragging may be needed, depending on the amount of soil and dust in the air.
3. Scrub and Recoat
Most wood gym floors can be brought back to a beautiful shine with a simple scrub and recoat process. Begin by observing floor area for stains, spills, heel marks, rubber burns, and gum on the floor. Use a good quality cleaner to remove excessive soils prior to scrubbing operation. Use a putty knife if needed, to remove gum. Mix one cup Clean-N-Shine per 3 gallons of water in a clean mop-bucket. Using a clean mop, mop the solution over a small area of the floor, using a very light amount (do not flood). A one person is mopping down solution, have another person begin to scrub the floor using a low speed floor machine equipped with a 120-grit screen under a suitable pad.
Begin operating the machine in the same direction that the floorboards are running in. Work in small 12’ by 12’ areas to prevent soiled scrubbing solution from drying on floor. Once this section has been scrubbed, immediately pick up solution with wet vacuum or auto-scrubber. After picking up solution, damp mop the area twice with clean fresh water and a well wrung out mop. A fresh mop for this process is recommended. Continue this procedure of small area treatment until all of gym is completed. Then perform a final damp mop of the entire floor with clean fresh water. Allow floor to dry overnight before applying the solvent based finish. Prior to applying a solvent borne finish, tack-rag the entire floor once again with a Turkish towel wrung out in Clean-Up Waterless Cleaner.
APPLICATION OF SEALS AND FINISHES
A newly prepared floor (sanded or chemically stripped) should first be sealed. Sealing penetrates the wood surface and binds the wood fibers together for greater strength. Sealing also allows the finish to remain on top of the floor surface, thus forming a sharp glossy layer of protection.
1. There are many types of applicators for wood finish application. It is best to consult the directions supplied by the applicator manufacturer prior to using.
2. Apply one coat of oil-modified polyurethane sealer, allowing overnight drying with adequate ventilation. Buff the floor with a #100 or #120 grit screen, vacuum and tack-rag using Waterless Cleaner.
3. Apply a second coat of sealer, repeating above procedure.
4. After floor has dried, Lay out athletic court lines (see Game Line Section).
5. Apply the first coat of Crystal Cote HS Polyurethane finish in the same manner as the sealer. Allow to dry a least 8 hours. Buff floor with a #100 or #120 grit screen, vacuum, and tack-rag one to two times with a Turkish towel dampened in Clean-Up Waterless Cleaner, until no dust is noticeable on floor.
6. Apply a second coat of Crystal Cote HS Polyurethane Finish, allowing at least 24 hours dry time prior to opening floor to traffic. Weekend dry times are preferable.
Game Lines should never be painted onto the raw wood of new or sanded floors. When finishing with an oil-modified polyurethane finish, apply the game lines after the second coat of sealer. When scrubbing and recoating, patch or apply game lines before finishing.
1. After the second coat of sealer has dried overnight, screen the sealer with a new #120 grit screen or #2 steel wool pad, working the machine with the grain of the wood. Tack-rag the floor with Clean-Up Waterless Cleaner. Allow floor to dry 60 minutes before applying line tape.
2. Paint the lines using a good quality all-purpose enamel paint, pulling up the tape within two hours after application.
3. After drying overnight, lightly abrade the floor once again using a green pad, Vacuum up dust and tack-rag using clean turkish towels dampened with Clean-Up Waterless Cleaner. Be sure that all gloss has been removed from the floor and lines before applying finish
4. Apply two coats of Crystal Cote HS Polyurethane Finish as per previous section on application.
DAILY AND WEEKLY MAINTENANCE
Once the floor is completed, it is important to implement an effective daily and weekly maintenance program. Good maintenance practices keep the wood gym floor looking its best while reducing the wear and abrasion to the surface. Daily dust mopping with Dustract or Aquatreat Mop Treatment does an excellent job of removing the grit, sand and dirt which gets tracked onto the gym floor. Dust mopping is the first line of defense against abrasive soils that dull the finish. Dust mopping should be performed at least twice a week. Walk off mats should be located at each entrance and should be vacuumed or shaken out weekly. During normal usage periods, the floors should be damp-mopped or auto-scrubbed once a week using Clean n Shine. This procedure will remove excessive dirt, spills and excess mop treatments from the floor, bringing back the original shine and beauty of the floor.