Maintaining flooring within a facility is typically a year-round job that requires routine maintenance in order to prevent damage, ensure safety, and maintain a strong appearance. The winter months can be particularly harsh on facility flooring due to several factors, and facility managers should take proactive and preventative measures to protect this important asset.
Winter Weather’s Effect on Flooring
The primary cause of winter floor damage starts with the winter weather conditions. Snow, ice, and slush force the application of ice melting compounds outside of facilities for safety, but these same compounds can be damaging to flooring when tracked inside. The combination of moisture, dirt, pebbles, sand, salt, and harsh alkaline ice melt residue can cause staining and scraping damage that can be extremely expensive to restore.
Protection is Cheaper than Restoration
It’s important to recognize that protecting your floors is cheaper than restoring them from the damage caused by winter conditions. Implementing a proper winter floor-care plan is essential to avoiding restoration costs and keeping your flooring in top-shape. With a few preventative measures, your facility’s flooring will be prepared to face the winter elements.
Recoating Floors Before Winter
Being proactive and giving your floors a thorough cleaning prior to winter is essential, but applying multiple protective coats of finishes will provide the necessary protection from unwanted residue. Depending on your climate, you should order floor finish around August because many floor finishes can’t be shipped in cold weather or stored in a cold location. You should apply it prior to the first snow of winter. This coat will provide a protective layer from the friction between dirt, sand and salt tracked in by employees and guests. If your facility has heavy foot traffic, be prepared to repeat this step once more during winter to ensure these “wear-off” layers continue to protect the integrity of your flooring.
Using a Proper Mat System
During the summer months facilities typically use moisture wicking or moisture absorbent mats to keep moisture from entering the facility. However, as snow, ice melt compounds and the dirt they track in become a threat, it’s necessary to install a proper mat system that includes both scraper mats (hard mats with raised or jagged surfaces) outside of the building to remove ice and dirt from shoes, as well as standard moisture absorbent mats inside of the building to capture additional moisture and residue. The entrance system should allow visitors to take up to six steps into the building before coming into contact with facility flooring to ensure the mats can capture the majority of residue. These mats should be wet vacuumed after severe snows to avoid the tracking in of salt and moisture as well as prevent odor buildup.
Avoiding Ice Melt Damage
The next and possibly most essential step to maintaining facility floors during winter involves eliminating the ice melt residue and salt from the mats and flooring. This can be done by using a neutralizing cleaner that eliminates salts and hard water ions. Using a neutralizing cleaner on both the mats and the flooring will ensure that the salt and ice melt residue are dissolved. Nice Neutralizing Cleaner by Maxim is a great solution for eliminating these salts and hard water ions, and can be used in mops, bonnet cleaning, or as a spray and wipe solution. Contact a Midlab representative today and see how Nice can eliminate ice melt residue and save your floors this winter! Let us help you keep #EverythingClean.