Care and Maintenance of your new Stone Grip Application
Agitation and soiling collection methods
Agitation and collection of soiling are variously done by mops with buckets or wet vacuums, or by scrubbing machines with brushes or pads.
An autoscrubber can be a very effective cleaning machine. It applies cleaning solution to the floor, agitates it with a pad or brush, and vacuums up the dirty water between two squeegees into a separate tank. A very soft brush, such as a white carpet shampoo brush, is often the best choice for cleaning with an autoscrubber. Stiff bristles on hard brushes tend to skid over the wet floor on their tips without making contact over greater bristle length that promotes good washing. Pads collect soil, which can then scratch glossy finishes to the detriment of the floor’s appearance. If you use a pad, clean or replace it frequently. If an autoscrubber is not available always use a hard bristle deck brush for agitation.
String mops are popular, but in practice are often just a method of spreading soil and grease to make the floor uniform in appearance rather than clean and safe. Mops can also cause ergonomic problems for people who spend large amounts of time mopping.
When using mops, consider dedicated mops for specific areas so that the mopping doesn’t transfer contaminants such as grease from one area to the other. Color-coding the mops can help keep mops in their designated areas. Picking up mop solution with a wet vacuum can be much more effective than rinsing the dirty mop in dirty water. Using a two-bucket system makes it possible to rinse a mop in clean rinse water rather than dirty, soapy water.
Clean and/or replace mops frequently so that they are not effective carriers of soil, grease and bacteria. In some situations, three mops are used to separate the washing, rinsing, and drying processes. Wood floor sweepers using terry cloth can supplement mops as an aid in rapid, uniform drying of the floor. Different areas of a property (e.g. restaurant kitchen and dining room) need dedicated mops to prevent cross-contamination. For less transfer of contaminants, consider using sponge mops rather than string mops — sponge mops can be cleaned and rinsed more thoroughly. Some floors even act as washboards, scrubbing dirt out of the mop rather than the mop cleaning the floor.
In the absence of an autoscrubber, wet vacuums can be effective in lifting dirty and/or greasy water after mopping a floor. When mopping leaves, the floor wet, be sure to exclude pedestrians from the area until the floor dries. Leave a dry, obvious path for pedestrians to use to avoid the wet zone.
Place “wet floor” signs around wet areas, but don’t leave the area unattended — and pedestrians unwarned — while you go to get signs. For spills, consider storing warning signs inside trash-can containers so the signs are available at a moment’s notice.
Chemicals include sealers, cleaning agents, strippers, waxes and other floor finishes. Sealers can fill pores in pervious floors so that soil and staining materials are excluded, and material below the surface stays below rather than rising to the top and forming deposits. Penetrating/impregnating sealers are intended to fill pores in grout and pervious flooring and are not necessarily intended to form a continuous barrier on the top of the flooring. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if excess sealer should be removed from the surface before it dries.
Cleaning chemicals help to thoroughly wet, lift, and suspend soil or grease in the wash water. Using either measuring cups or proportional flow control, measure dilution carefully according to directions — don’t guess. Overdosing with cleaner doesn’t necessarily improve cleaning but adds unnecessary cost and can leave a film that becomes slippery under spills or wet shoes. Some cleaners leave residues that are more slippery than others.
Neutral cleaners (that is, neither acid nor alkaline) are best for most situations, but alkaline detergents may be more effective in removing animal fats. Some situations, e.g. certain cleaning agents in kitchens — may require hot water. Never use a powered laundry detergent on a floor — it can leave a slippery calcite residue.
Procedures cover not only the temperature, agitation and collection methods, and chemicals used, but also the frequency of their use and the practices of the people who implement them. Floor-care staffs often have annual turnover rates far exceeding one hundred percent. In such a situation, constant training and supervision are necessary. The training and supervision must make clear that safety of the floor is as important as its appearance and the direct cost of maintenance. (Indirect costs of inappropriate maintenance include the costs of injuries to employees and visitors.)
When you know a floor to be slippery under some or all of its conditions of use, you must take precautions to prevent accidents. Post warnings when and where appropriate, remembering to provide for the visually impaired. Use mats, rugs, or abrasive tapes in sensitive areas. Trap rain, mud, snow, and dust at the entrance. (We recommend at least fifteen feet of absorbent matting to dry shoes before stepping on to a floor that’s slippery when wet.) Offer plastic bags at entrances when it’s raining or snowing for pedestrians to stow their umbrellas without dripping water throughout the building. Be aware that water and other contaminants from drinking fountains, coffee spills, etc. can be tracked in by shoes.
Your program to prevent slips
The best way of preventing slips is to specify flooring and/or floor treatment that is slip-resistant when wet. Find out how the supplier recommends cleaning the flooring.
If a flooring surface is not slip-resistant as manufactured (after any potentially slippery protective coating or mold-release or grout-release compound is removed), proper maintenance in itself will not render the surface slip-resistant. By definition, the goal of “maintenance” is maintaining the like- new condition to the extent feasible. For existing surfaces that are slippery when wet, chemical treatment is the best alternative.
Have a qualified testing service conduct the testing and submit a written report that you maintain on file. This has the advantage of giving added credibility to your safety program. Correct problems that the test results may expose.
Keep records of your maintenance practices and document your maintenance training. This helps establish reliably good procedures and can aid in your defense when an alleged accident occurs.
You must also be alert to complaints about slippery floors. These not only can help you identify problems, but legally they provide notice to you that there is a problem you must solve so that you can avoid being found negligent if an alleged accident occurs.
In summary, to maintain good slip resistance and to minimize your potential liability, select flooring carefully for its planned use; modify it with chemical or mechanical treatment if necessary to get good slip resistance with cleanability; use matting where necessary to exclude water and other contaminants; clean the flooring frequently, without leaving a slippery residue; warn pedestrians when there’s a hazard they must avoid; and document your maintenance practices and training and your slip- resistance test results.
If the flooring as installed provides good slip resistance, proper maintenance can be effective in preserving safety. If the flooring as installed is slippery under some conditions, good maintenance can help minimize the risk. Consider chemical or mechanical treatment of the surface in areas where the existing risk is unacceptable.