Stay In The Past, And You’re History
Terry Guilford on changes faced by the floor sanding sector
FLOOR sanding is probably one of the most change resistant service industries. There are many reasons for this. It isn’t a big industry or particularly high profit for manufacturers, and being a complex business, even well tested products can fail in the real world.
Many floor sanding businesses are handed down the family so creating a ‘if it was good enough for dad’ mentality.
The combination of these factors mean that contactors stick to what they know and as someone with the arrows still in his back, I understand why no one wants to be a pioneer.
In common with the motor racing industry, change, when it comes, is sometimes forced on us. And like the slightly more glamorous racing world, we fight change, begrudge it, reluctantly accept it, learn to make it work and eventually embrace it.
When the EU VOC laws first came in, low VOC products were often unusable. Now, they are not only reliable, but create new opportunities.
The latest generation of stains, for example, are not only VOC free but give a greater depth of colour than their odorous counterparts.
Development of new primers to comply with legislation led to bonding agents that allow recoating of floors without sanding or even abrading the existing finish. A Godsend to those in the floor care industry, but not floor sanders.
While still on the subject of finishes, the long awaited site finish UV cure is now perfected after years of unfulfilled promises.
Now fully UV cured systems (including primers) have overcome the timing issue ensuring the correct speed and therefore full cure. Wider adoption of this system will hopefully see prices dropping (instead of your jaw when hearing the price).
Abrasives too have begun changing. As well as aluminium oxide, silicon carbide and zirconia we now see ceramic abrasives (ironic that ceramic in finishes became so discredited only for the same stuff to turn up in abrasives).
Diamond technology is employed for rapid removal of multiple layers of old finish, and at the other end of finishing scale new products are making inter coat abrasion quicker and more consistent.
There is probably more change happening in our industry now than at any time in working memory. It is an exciting time and I’m confident that those with an open mind will enjoy the benefits of current and future developments.
Terry Guilford is technical director of The Ultimate Floor Sanding Co, a corporate member of the National Carpet Cleaners Association (NCCA).
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.