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Friday's Ask the Experts: Floor stripping

February 12, 2010
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Friday''s Ask the Experts question from a cleaning professional on the International Custodial Advisors Network(ICAN) "Ask the Experts"page: I am currently working in a 40-year-old hospital that has been closed. We are stripping and refinishing the floors.
Even with a 15-minute dwell time and mixing the Thunder Hawk Products Thunder Hot stripper in two parts cold water to one part stripper, we have to go over the floors at least three times to remove all the old finish. Plus, we are unable to get rid of the stripper slurry.
We are doing this in this order: Lay stripper and wait for 15 minutes; scrub with a black scrub pad on a 1,250 revolutions per minute (RPM) buffer; squeegee to a central point and wet vacuum up; clean water rinse and rescrub with clean black pad; squeegee to central point; and mop three times with clean water.
Then, we go back and are still scraping 1/16 of an inch of finish. We have done this for two days in a row and still have 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch of finish left.
The answer
You are the victim of someone who spent years putting down finish without ever stripping it off. One application of stripper solution will only soften so much finish before it is spent and can do no more chemically.
We''ve all had this happen and there is little you can do but strip three or four times, whatever it takes to get down to the tile.
I suggest you use hot water for mixing the solution. Mix according to the directions on the pail. More concentrated stripper is not necessarily better, just wasteful.
Also, 1,250 RPM is too fast for stripping. It throws slurry all over the place. Use a ... Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX editor
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