Floor Maintenance: The Shining (or not)

floor maintenance

We walk all over them, we run on them, we scratch them and track dirt all over them, yet the only time we notice them is when they’re dirty, worn or uneven. We’re talking about floors, of course — and floor maintenance.

Shiny or matte?

Most people think that shiny floors are a sign of good housekeeping. They might be a bit slippery but at least they’re clean, right? As opposed to matte floors, which might not be as attractive to some, but offer better traction.

Shiny floors do tend to be the preference for most North American business owners because the belief is that if it’s shiny, it’s clean — and cleaning contractors deliver what the customer wants.

But according to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), European businesses prefer matte flooring. So it’s less about the look of the floor and more about safety. In fact, Europeans think that shiny floors are sort of odd.

So, which floor finish is better?

Clean vs. shine

When it comes to floor maintenance, the notion that shiny floors are cleaner than matte ones may seem like a no-brainer. But there’s a big difference between shiny-clean and shiny-dirty. If enough elbow grease and chemicals are used, you can always make a dirty floor shine.

The most important step in maintaining a shiny floor is the cleaning that’s performed before the shining. Filthy mop buckets and dirty equipment are a couple of the main offenders in this shiny-yet-dirty equation. Floors must be thoroughly cleaned before buffing — because buffing alone merely pushes the dirt around and can actually damage the flooring.

There’s no connection between cleanliness and shininess. And, of course, matte floors need to be cleaned just as thoroughly as shiny floors.

Endurance and shine

The greatest threat to floor maintenance is plain, old dirt. Once grit and grime is ground in to the surface of a floor the only way to bring it back is to completely strip and refinish it, which can be time-consuming and expensive. A consistent, thorough cleaning regimen is the best way to keep costs down and prolong the life of any flooring surface.

Shiny floors do marginally improve the durability and lifespan of a floor, depending on the various polishing sealants and finishes used. But the best way to prolong floor life, regardless of finish, is regular cleaning.

What about safety?

Whether dull or glossy, a clean floor is a safer floor because a clean surface improves contact between the floor and the soles of our shoes.

But even if a shiny floor is clean, it can be harder to see moisture on a shiny floor. Indeed, that beautiful shine can act like camouflage, leading to inadvertent slips and falls.

Floor safety can now be measured by using something called a tribometer. Developed by the NFSI, the Universal Walkway Tester (UWT) is a nifty piece of equipment that can determine how slippery a floor is. The UWT supplies cleaning contractors and their customers with measurable data in regards to floor safety. If a floor is found to be unsafe there are methods and various finishes that can be used to improve safety.

The Verdict

So, at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what kind of finish a floor has, shiny or matte — it really just has to be clean.

For the low-down onĀ floor maintenance and cleaning options for your plant or office space, feel free to contact us.

At Allcare, we care about clean.