Floor Finish 101
A clean, high gloss
floor is crucial to creating a clean appearance in any facility. There have been many breakthroughs in floor
finish technology over the last few years from “green” zinc free polymers all
the way to the versatile ultra compatible high gloss floor finishes. As the floor care technology has increased,
so has floor finish chemistry. Here is a
basic looks at the ingredients of floor finish:
Make up the largest
part of the solid matter in the floor finish. The polymer, which is a type of
plastic, gives the floor finish its strength, durability and shine. The polymer
is dispersed in water forming a polymer emulsion.
Added to change the
softness or glossiness of the finish.
Synthetic waxes have replaced natural waxes in finishes to improve the
finishes’ durability, gloss and repairability.
finish doesn’t crack after it has set.
All resilient floors containing Polyvinyl Chloride (VCT) contain this
flexing agent. It is important to be
aware that for the first six months to a year after a new vinyl floor is laid,
the plasticizer has a tendency to migrate to the surface. This is known as plasticizer migration. This migration can penetrate into a floor
making soft and tacky. This can result
in scuffing and gluing down of furniture.
A tile laid in a warehouse for a considerable length of time is less apt
to experience this problem than a tile fresh from the factory.
Gives the finish its
leveling properties. The resins also make stripping the floor
easier when it’s time to remove the finish.
that help the finish disperse across a floor.
Surfactants can also produce bubbles in the film, creating craters, or
“fish eyes”. To overcome this issue, a
foam suppressant is added.
help keep the finish stable. Dyes,
fragrances and other compounds are added to improve the appearance, stability
or slip resistance of the floor finish. There are thousands of possible
additives, each one changing the properties of the finish.
Floor finish coats can dry
in anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours, but in humid areas, it may take a
few days for the finish to fully cure. Once the floor has cured, the floor can
withstand cleaners, spills, 175-RPM floor buffers or 1500+ RPM burnishers, depending
on the characteristics of the finish.
However, over time, the floor will need to be scrub and recoated or
stripped and refinished. Foot and other
traffic can abrade the finish. For
example, sand, dirt and other soils slowly degrade the finish. Even if the finish doesn’t wear away, several
problems can alter its appearance. Oily soils need to be cleaned right away
with a neutral floor cleaner, or they can be absorbed into the finish, while
dirt left on the floor when recoating can give the finish a yellow appearance.
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