How Much Is Too Much?
How many coats of finish should be applied to a floor?
FORT WORTH, TX — This month's Powr-Flite Floor Care Troubleshooter focuses on a question that frequently comes up when performing floorcare tasks: How many coats of finish should be applied to a floor?
According to Mike Englund, a cleaning trainer and product manager for Powr-Flite, manufacturer of professional cleaning equipment, there is no set number of coats that work in all situations and that all cleaning experts agree on. "However, there are some general guidelines that seem to be widely accepted."
Englund suggests that cleaning professionals should first understand the purpose of floor finish.
"Ultimately, the reason finish is applied to floors is to protect them from scuff marks and scratches that can damage the floor. Its secondary benefit is the shine it can put on the floor."
When it comes to determining how many coats of finish are necessary to protect the floor and produce a shine, Englund advises the following:
• Two coats of finish act as a sealer; "this creates the 'foundation' necessary to protect the floor and to build a shine."
• Three to four coats produce a shine; "this should prove adequate for a floor area that gets light to moderate foot traffic."
• Five to six coats produce a glossy shine and are necessary for floor areas that get moderate to heavy foot traffic.
• Seven to eight coats "will produce a high-gloss shine, often referred to as a 'wet look,' and [this number] is recommended in very busy areas."
Englund says that some trial and error might be required because cleaning professionals should avoid applying too many coats of finish to floors. "If the floor begins to discolor (turn yellow or brown) or appear lighter in traffic lanes over time, this can be a sign that too much finish has been applied."
Additionally, when excessive coats of finish have been applied, stripping the floor, already a labor-intensive job, can be even more difficult and time consuming, according to Englund.
Focus on the Finish
Here is a working definition of floor finish: essentially a plastic coating applied to hard flooring in order to protect and extend the life of the floor, make it more aesthetically pleasing, easier to maintain, and safer for patrons to walk on.
A conventional floor finish is typically made up of components such as polymers, waxes, solvents, and plasticizers. Key to a floor finish's effectiveness are the polymers.
Established more than 40 years ago, Powr-Flite manufactures a full line of floor-care equipment and carpet extractors for the professional cleaning industry. Based in Fort Worth, TX, the company has over 20 patented designs and its products are recognized throughout the world for their innovation, durability, quality and performance. Their products are marketed directly to end-use customers as well as through distributors throughout the North America, Europe and the Far East.