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Maine VCT Strip and Wax
Stripping and Waxing VCT in Maine
Stripping and Waxing VCT floors in Maine has its own challenges. Most of these challenges are largely due to the varied weather and humidity that we have here during the year. The difference between January and July are like night and day. When waxing during those times we may need to use different techniques to get a quality job. However the largest challenges come from the usage and existing maintenance of the floor.
Below are some of the factors that can change how we approach stripping and waxing a VCT floor:
Humidity: The wax is a liquid polymer that is laid down as a liquid. Usually a coat of wax can dry to the point where another coat can be put on top of it after about 20 minutes. The dry time is a factor of humidity and air flow. We try to minimize the air flow so it doesn’t cause ripples in the wax so the humidity is very important. In July, when the relative humidity is 95% on a hot, sticky day right after it has rained, the wax will take a long time to dry. Putting four coats of wax on a large floor can take a long time. Conversely, in January after a cold spell, the humidity can be extremely low. That allows the moisture from the wax to be quickly evaporated and the floors can dry quickly.
Temperature: Wax and stripper are affected by temperature and if they freeze, the compounds inside them will separate. After they thaw it does not have the same chemical compound and will not be effective. It is very helpful also if the floors are a reasonable temperature. There can be a profound difference in temperature between the ceiling in a room and the floor, especially if the floor is a concrete slab in frozen ground. Also, heat rises. In the winter an open door will flood the floor with cold air. While it may feel warm where you are, if the floor temperature is cold, the stripping and waxing is very difficult.
Cleanliness: Many people do major cleans of their home or business in the spring or fall when we open the windows, vacuum and get the dust out. However in the winter and in the summer during pollen season, there can be a lot of airborne particulates. If we use air movement to help dry the wax on the floor, that air can pick up dust and hair that has been resting on flat surfaces which will eventually settle into the new wax. Our floor cleaners can’t dust and clean every surface before starting so it is important to have a clean facility.
Sand and Salt: Sand is extremely abrasive and salt is very corrosive. They are both used frequently in the winter months and will be tracked into every business and home. Sand will scuff the finish and remove the shine on a newly waxed floor and salt can make the wax look cloudy.
Previous Waxing: When we start maintaining VCT floors in an older building, it is helpful to understand how they have been cared for. It is impossible to tell just by looking at a floor exactly how many coats of wax have been laid down. Some facilities will mop or buff and then put on a coat of wax without stripping. That wax will build up over the years until it is very difficult to strip. We have seen instances where there are up to 20 coats of wax. Stripper can get only about four coats at a time so that floor had to be stripped five times. That is VERY expensive as most of the cost of refinishing a floor comes from the stripping. Wax that is close to walls will build up while traffic lanes will wear leaving a disparity in the amount of wax on the floor.
Type of Wax: Each type of wax has a different chemical makeup. Some include a higher density of polymers and are therefore harder and more difficult to damage. They are also more difficult to strip. We have come in after a customer has used urethane which is very onerous to strip and requires a lot of stripper to removed only one layer. It is impossible to tell just by looking at the floor exactly what wax was used.
Daily/ Janitorial Care: The use of the facility should dictate the type of daily floor care that is used. If the floor is lightly used, a daily mop with water is generally sufficient. If powerful soaps or cleaners are used they will quickly dull or cloud the shine. If employees are tracking foreign substances such as oils or harsh chemicals, that can pit the wax as well. Sometimes those oils and chemicals combine with the cleaners to create and even more caustic substance.
It is best to have a long term plan for the care and maintenance of your floors. We provide yearly to monthly service depending on your needs. Hiring a professional with a maintenance plan saves money because it eliminates costly surprises.
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We serve Southern, Central and Western Maine from our locations in Auburn and Falmouth. We also provide monthly billing options to make it easy on your budgeting. We service Great Portland, Brunswick, Lewiston, Augusta, Bethel and everywhere in between.