In today’s competitive environment, building owners and operators constantly look for ways to improve their properties’ aesthetics.
For years, industry professionals have focused on a floor’s surface reflectivity, shine and gloss, but a positive impression is based on much more than that.
Customer feedback has shown that people respond favorably to floors that reflect high image clarity or distinctness of image (DOI).
The growing DOI trend is gaining popularity and quickly becoming the new measure of floor restoration, protection and maintenance quality.
What Is DOI?
DOI is best defined as the measure of how crisply and sharply an image is reflected from a surface, indicating the clarity of a reflection seen in the floor.
To fully understand DOI, it’s important to take a step back and review the basics.
The most popular term used to describe the appearance of a floor’s surface is gloss.
Gloss refers to shine or light reflection and causes surfaces to have a polished or lustrous, metallic appearance.
Many factors can affect gloss, including the maintenance materials used, the condition of the flooring and the frequency of polishing.
For customers, gloss has long been one of the most important aspects of visual perception.
To measure a floor’s gloss, a meter projects a beam of light onto the floor and measures the amount of light reflected back in a narrow angle range centered at an equal but opposite angle.
The amount of light measured in this angle range is used to calculate the gloss.
The clarity of a reflected image is dependent on the spread of light within the measurement angle range.
If light is predominantly at the center of the range, the image will be crisp and clear.
Light spread more evenly across the entire angle range will result in a blurry image.
The amount of reflected light measured on two different floors might be the same, but each could have a much different distribution across the measurement, meaning that two floors with an equal gloss could have very different appearances.
Thus, traditional gloss measurements alone don’t always equate to a favorable customer perception.
Because of this, the visual aesthetic can be further divided into other categories that may better indicate customer satisfaction.
There is a growing trend among floor care professionals to focus attention particularly on one of these categories as an appearance attribute: Distinctness of image.
If the surface reflection of an object appears sharp and clear, such as being able to see the clear outline of an overhead light bulb or read the text in a reflected sign, then the surface is said to have a high DOI; conversely, if the reflection appears blurry, then it has a low DOI.
The DOI measurement is similar to gloss measurement, but with minor changes, as it accounts for the distribution of the reflected light collected across the angular measurement range.
The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has set standards for test methods determining the DOI of coating surfaces.
Measurements are given on a scale of 0 to 100, with a score of 100 representing perfect DOI.
For more information on these standards, see ASTM D5767-95.
Achieving High DOI
High DOI is directly affected by the condition of a floor.
One can use top-of-the-line products but, if the floor is covered with scratches and dings from lack of proper maintenance, it will not reflect an image to its best ability.
This may lead to haze — a cloudy or milky appearance — orange peel — a wavy pattern of light and dark areas on a high-gloss surface — or a blurry image.
The solution includes following a regular floor maintenance routine to keep the floor in top shape.
When choosing a maintenance system, the products included are very important.
Achieving high DOI doesn’t need to be difficult or overly expensive.
Generally speaking, most protection and polishing products produce only a glossy appearance, but that goal is quickly changing.
Today, there are increasing numbers of specially engineered floor maintenance systems that include products such as abrasives, finishes and burnishing pads that are designed specifically to increase DOI.
Many companies now recognize the priority of having DOI-friendly products.
For example, some manufacturers offer complete product and equipment lines that are specially engineered to work with the rest of the system to not only enhance a floor’s gloss, but to dramatically increase DOI as well.
Choosing the right floor maintenance system and products can noticeably improve the look of a floor.
A floor that has been treated with a stone floor protection system specifically created to enhance DOI will reflect a sharper, crisper appearance, giving the impression that it is cleaner and better maintained.
Regardless of the type of floor, what is most important is that the surfaces are well-maintained and have a lustrous finish.
Stay on the forefront of the growing DOI trend by protecting your floors and enhancing your image.
Your customers will notice and your reputation will glisten.