Many cleaning professionals visit the International Custodial Advisors Network (ICAN) Ask the Experts (ATEX) page for insight. We deliver advice to help you perform your job.
How do you care for low-disc rubber stair treads that have had floor finish applied on both the rise and the run? If we use stripper, it affects the sidewalls by removing paint. There are approximately seven coats of old finish on these stairs. Should they ever even be coated?
In my experience, these rubber treads need a couple of light coats of finish to make them easier to clean. The manufacturer probably recommends against applying finish, but the treads are hard to keep looking good without some sort of protective coating to allow easy mopping.
To solve the stripping problem (damaging adjacent surface paint), simply don’t do it! Scrub the treads and risers with a neutral cleaner, rinse, and wet vac. It will be a long time before the finish is actually worn off, and since a light coating is all that is needed, keep wearing down those seven coats until such time as you need to recoat lightly. It will be a while, since stairs get light traffic (usually) and no wear ever occurs on the risers.
If you need to strip because dirt carelessly was sealed in, you will have to mask off the painted surfaces while you work to avoid the damage to the paint. Try the basic scrub-and-rinse maintenance first. It will save a lot of pain.
- Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX editor
View additional hard and resilient floor care questions and answers from ICAN/ATEX here.