Once an area has been thoroughly scrubbed, use a wet/dry vacuum and squeegee to recover the stripper solution. Crowder says to be careful to recover the stripper before it dries or it will require restripping to remove it. Continue applying stripper, scrubbing and recovering until all of the finish has been removed from the floor.
"Thoroughly clean the floor using a neutral cleaner," Crowder says. "Recover the neutral cleaner in a wet/dry vacuum."
He continues, "Rinse the floor using a clean, new cotton or rayon mop and clean water in a mop bucket and ringer. Be sure to frequently rinse the mop and change the water once it becomes cloudy. Rinse the floor until the water in the mop bucket doesn't become cloudy, usually within two to three passes."
Instruct customers to allow the floor to dry completely. They can then begin applying the new finish, using a new nylon or rayon finish mop. All efforts should be made to prevent contaminating the finish. "Allow the finish to dry between coats, according to manufacturer's
recommendations," Crowder advises. "Apply four to six coats of finish and polish with a high-speed burnisher after one week."
Hard tile and concrete
According to Crowder, there are two recommended methods of refinishing hard tile and sealed concrete floors: using a high-pressure washing and recovery system and using a floor machine, brush and wet/dry vacuum.
"High-pressure washing and recovery systems utilize a wand tool that simultaneously pressure washes and then recovers the water. This tool is attached to a truck-mounted or high-pressure portable machine," Crowder says.
The first step is to thoroughly dust mop the floors. Then, apply heavy-duty cleaner/degreaser to the floor using a pump-up sprayer. Be sure to match the strength of the cleaner to the amount of the soil on the floor, Crowder notes. Allow the cleaner to dwell on the floor according to manufacturer's recommendations.
"Next, begin pressure washing the floor," he explains. "Be careful to recover as much water as possible. Rinse the floor using a clean, new cotton or rayon mop and clean warm water, in a mop bucket and ringer. Apply sealer, if necessary."
When using a floor scrubber, follow the same procedure, but instead of pressure washing the area, use a floor machine with brush to thoroughly cleanse the entire area. Recover the cleaning solution with a wet/dry vacuum, rinse with a clean, new cotton or rayon mop and clean warm water in a mop bucket and ringer.
Tools of the trade
In addition to offering the machines used in floor refinishing, a rental business should also stock the full assortment of tools and supplies needed to complete a floor refinishing project. "Stores should stock thick nylon pads (either round or rectangular), white nylon pads for buffing, green pads for scrubbing and black for stripping," he says. "It would be a good idea to carry floor waxes and strippers."
For wood floors, the rental store needs to carry polyurethane and applicators to apply it, says Goddard. "We suggest that the store carry oil-modified poly in gloss, semi-gloss and satin sheens. Oil-modified finish is applied using lamb's-wool applicators and bristle brushes. We suggest 10-inch genuine lamb's wools and inexpensive brushes."
He continues, "Water-based finishes are applied with nylon-backed applicators and or 'T' bar floor coaters. Water-based poly is applied in a different fashion than oil-modified poly and that's why you need the different applicators."
Goddard adds, "Wax strippers and waxes also round out a complete floor care section in the rental store."
The most useful tool
You can have all the right equipment and supplies, but without the knowledge and expertise to back them up, you can't effectively assist your customers with their floor refinishing project. Often, homeowners with little experience have nowhere to turn for help when tackling a project for the first time, so take advantage of the opportunity to be the expert. Show your customers that their most useful tool is you and your rental business.