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Commercial Flooring News

Use The Right Finish

Lisa Breakspear, Fila UK, underlines the importance of the correct maintenance of flooring: 
SLIPS and trips are the most common cause of major injuries in the workplace? A staggering 95% result in broken bones and the cost to employers is huge – around £512m each year, not to mention the incalculable human cost. But, with so many non-slip products available, how can this be so?
The problem is that specifying a suitable floor finish is only part of the strategy. Plain old housekeeping plays a very big part. Contamination control – and implementing a regime relevant to the application will help reduce the risk of slippage. But all too often the recommended regime is ignored.
Things generally start unravelling straight after installation. A floor is cleaned with a mop and water or unsuitable detergent which fails to clean the surface properly or remove grout residues.
In the case of ceramic or porcelain tiles, any residues quickly attract dirt, compromising the anti-slip rating and making the surface more difficult to clean. This, in turn, attracts even more dirt, creating a vicious circle.
In the case of natural stone, any remaining grout residues or dirt, that isn’t removed before sealing, becomes sandwiched between tile and impregnator.
As a result, the impregnator can’t enter the tile’s porosity (and do its job). Instead, it lies on top of the residue and thus compromises the tile’s slip resistant properties and creates an ongoing maintenance issue…
Furthermore, cheap in-appropriate cleaners are often used in place of recommended products. Some may be unsuitable for the surface and could potentially damage the tile and the sealant, making the floor more difficult to maintain.
Others may not trap the dirt effectively, leaving a residue building up and creating a repeating problem; the floor will mark and become difficult to clean – and the residue will build up, creating a slippery surface.
It sounds tedious – but the problem is so widespread – and it could so easily be avoided. Cutting corners and trying to save a few pounds on cleaning regimes can backfire spectacularly – potentially reducing a floor’s safety and resulting in accidents.
Generally, a suitable detergent will remove fixing residues and ensure that any sealer applied can be properly absorbed. A suitable neutral detergent will keep the surface clean and protect any sealant – and an alkaline product, used to periodically deep clean, will remove foot traffic dirt and build-up of organic matter. This simple regime will protect a slip rating.
Even if a rating has been lost through poor maintenance, slip resistant properties can generally still be restored, by deep cleaning.

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at