A Floor Tech's Nightmare

sherva

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Jacob Sherva
Unfortunately, the thread title says it all. The previous individuals to strip and wax this vct floor left a large amount of built up wax alongside the baseboards in the entire store. Due to this, I want to refrain from using stripper on the entire floor and instead strip just along the baseboards and any other areas that are necessary. In previous jobs I have had success using Buckeye Basehit, however this is very time consuming and tedious considering the entire store is in this shape. I am going to be using Doodlebug's with stripping pads, although when I have used these in previous jobs I have had little to no success using these alongside scrapers.


Cutting to the chase, does anyone have any experience with stripping strictly alongside baseboards and then applying additional finish on the floor? The finish I use is Castleguard and alongside this I am buffing and burnishing once a week and laying RPM then burnishing on an additional night during the week. This floor has been stripped numerous times in just the last four-years as I know I have done it twice myself and that does not include the other times by other contractors.
 
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floorclean

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For what it’s worth I have did thousands of floor’s over my career. If it was possible at all to have a floor look good by doing just the edges I’m sure the effort going into it wouldn’t be worth it. I suggest to you to strip the whole floor. By pass stripping pads all together and buy a stripping brush for your swing machine. In the end it’ll be cheaper. This will get you much closer to the baseboards than a pad will. It will make a mess without the splash guard but wiping right away will be the key. Getting a good stripper would be the other. A reminder a good stripping mixed stronger than the suggested ration doesn’t make it work better often may do the reverse. Although mixing it with the possible coldest water will make it work better. I’ve mentioned before we often in grocery stores will add ice.
What you’ve described is going to be a hard job. If as you’ve said it’s been stripped many times without the edges being done properly what you have probably is sealer, floor finish, stripper, floor finish, stripper and so on many many times. This makes for a very difficult strip. Not impossible but expensive and very time consuming price carefully. You could easily tie up ten times the time you price for.
 
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Mama Fen

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Interesting about the cold water and ice. What makes it more effective ?
Hot stripper off-gasses too quickly, and the penetration isn't as good. The colder the stripper is when it's laid, the longer the active components stay in contact with the surface and break it down. A lot of guys in this area are amazed when they try cold stripping.
 

sherva

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Jacob Sherva
Hot stripper off-gasses too quickly, and the penetration isn't as good. The colder the stripper is when it's laid, the longer the active components stay in contact with the surface and break it down. A lot of guys in this area are amazed when they try cold stripping.
I can verify this as well, I have tried using hot water with strippers before as well and have ran into this issue with it not penetrating and thus having to lay additional stripper, wasting the product essentially. All the floor products I use are cold-water activated. It lasts longer on the floor and penetrates all the way through to the bottom layer which in this case would be the tile.
 

floorclean

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Hot stripper off-gasses too quickly, and the penetration isn't as good. The colder the stripper is when it's laid, the longer the active components stay in contact with the surface and break it down. A lot of guys in this area are amazed when they try cold stripping.

Thank you for answering the question. Was stripping a floor! LOL
 

Mama Fen

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Thank you for answering the question. Was stripping a floor! LOL
It feels antithetical, since we're always taught that "hotter is better" in this industry. But when you're stripping, colder is better.

And oh my gosh is someone gonna start snickering over that one.
 

Dream Clean

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It feels antithetical, since we're always taught that "hotter is better" in this industry. But when you're stripping, colder is better.

And oh my gosh is someone gonna start snickering over that one.
Most likely. On the topic of stripping floors, what color pad is best to scrub bare VCT tile for the first time before applying wax? I usually use green or a well worn black pad but those seem a bit aggressive at times. Is red too soft? Asking because I have probably 10-15k square feet of new tile being installed this year that I need to wax and maintain.
 

Mama Fen

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Most likely. On the topic of stripping floors, what color pad is best to scrub bare VCT tile for the first time before applying wax? I usually use green or a well worn black pad but those seem a bit aggressive at times. Is red too soft? Asking because I have probably 10-15k square feet of new tile being installed this year that I need to wax and maintain.
I've never had a problem using red, it's on the soft side but that's ok with me. I'm not trying to visually alter the surface, I'm just trying to give it enough roughing-up to grab onto the first coat. Green tends to rough it up (IMHO) so much that it absorbs a bit more of that first coat than I'm happy about.
 
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Dream Clean

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I've never had a problem using red, it's on the soft side but that's ok with me. I'm not trying to visually alter the surface, I'm just trying to give it enough roughing-up to grab onto the first coat. Green tends to rough it up (IMHO) so much that it absorbs a bit more of that first coat than I'm happy about.
I noticed that too about green. What should I be using as a cleaner? I usually just use a neutral cleaner of some sort. Some people say use stripper but I never really saw the point and thought it a bit wasteful to use. Could be wrong though.
 

Mama Fen

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I noticed that too about green. What should I be using as a cleaner? I usually just use a neutral cleaner of some sort. Some people say use stripper but I never really saw the point and thought it a bit wasteful to use. Could be wrong though.
I use neutral cleaner. I don't use stripper, because if I don't get it ALL off there's a risk that the base coat won't cure evenly and that messes up the whole thing.
 

floorclean

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You really should use a neutral cleaner on new tile, but seldom is new tile clean enough to do so. By the time a floor guy get to the new job it looks like it’s been walked on for a year. So in that case a new green pad and degreaser is needed. Be light on the degreaser to much can draw the uncured black glue between the tile then you’ll
be a real mess. Better to be more aggressive on the pad side then the cleaner side.
I have run into some tile manufacturers that have some coating on their tile that absolutely needs stripping. For some reason a light scrub won’t cut it. You’ll see when you go to put on the first coat the whole floor will look like “fish eyes”. If it’s the coating on the tile as apposed to poor rinsing it’ll be uniform all over the floor. This is common with the cheaper tile as apposed to the more expensive Armstrong tile. You’ll notice a lot of colour bleeding out of the cheaper flooring.
 

Robert86

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I keep on hand a few bottles of Bonesaw and Scalpel floor strippers for troublesome jobs. Mix with cold water, put it on thick and let it soak for a good long time. Jobs like this, instead of putting water down, I put ice down. Don't need a lot, as it melts it'll keep the floor wet and of course water is what removes the wax, but it'll also cool it down more which gets a longer working time.

For scrubbing the edges, I've had some good luck with a black drill brush on a polisher (Drill brush is like $10 on amazon, polisher was like $40 at harbor freight). I gotta put together a splash guard for it still but that thing will do a really great job getting into and aggressively scrubbing the edges.

On new tile, you gotta kind of assess the condition to decide how aggressive to be with it. Typically the ones I see the tile has adhesives smeared on it and the dirt is pretty much in the tile. At best I use a light mix of degreaser and a green pad. At worst I use full strength stripper and a black pad. Typically, stripper mixed at half strength and a green pad takes care of it. Rinse the floor good, use a neutralizer especially if you don't have to ability to rinse with an auto scrubber or good wet vac system.