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Wednesday's Ask the Experts: VCT browning

February 11, 2009
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Wednesday''s Ask the Experts question from a cleaning professional on the International Custodial Advisors Network (ICAN) "Ask the Experts" page: A brown color appears days after stripping and recoating a white 12x12 vct floor in a GSA Building. It is maintained by daily cleaning with a neutral cleaner, a weekly burnishing after applying a mop on restorer, and a monthly stripping. What could be causing the discoloration? It happens days after the strip and recoat, and it is on-going.
The answer
Do you remember the old Hee-Haw routine where the doctor asks if it hurts to do something and when the patient says yes, the doc tells him, “Well, don’t do that?”
That’s my solution to your problem. If the floor turns brown after you strip it, stop stripping! I’m serious. What could possibly be going on that would require a vct floor to be stripped of finish every month?!!!???!?!?
I can’t tell you what is happening from the standpoint of a chemical reaction, but something is obviously wrong when this browning shows up every time.
Let’s break this down as best we can. First, if the floor tile itself is not changing color, that is a good sign. When you strip does the tile come up white? If it does, then the problem is with the finish. Is something on the floor as the result of the stripping that affects the clarity of the finish?
Was the floor completely rinsed and neutralized? Is the finish compatible with the stripper and the neutral cleaner? Yes, I know a neutral cleaner should be neutral and cause no harm, but are you sure it is what it says it is? No mislabeled containers?
Next question, is the discoloration showing... — Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Associate Editor
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