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 on floor maintenance and cleaning options for your plant or office space, feel free to contact us.

At Allcare, we care about clean.


8 Tile Floor Cleaning Tips from Allcare Maintenance

There are numerous reasons to choose tile flooring. For instance, it’s attractive, has a long lifespan, and is inhospitable to dust mites, mold, other particles that can trigger allergies. And it can also be easier to clean than other surfaces like carpet.
Tile has many advantages, and to keep tile floors looking great we have a few cleaning tips that can come in handy:

Proper cleaning and maintenance can help tiles look their best.
(Image by Andres)
  1. Wipe Up Spills the Moment They Happen: Don’t wait until tile floors are so dirty you can’t stand it any longer. To avoid serious stains or damage, clean tiles regularly to avoid having to resort to strong chemicals and serious hands-and-knees scrubbing.
  2. Keep Dirt from Getting In: Door mats at entrances help keep outside dirt at bay. Some people keep a towel near the door during snowy or rainy weather to sop up water and dirt that collects in doorways. You could also invoke a “no shoes” rule in the winter to help stop Toronto slush from making its way inside.
  3. Sweep Often: Adheres easily to the surface of ceramic tile, especially styles with textured surfaces. Sweeping loosens and dirt Regular sweeping loosens and removes most dirt. A vacuum cleaner can also be used to sweep, but make sure you use one without a beater bar to avoid dulling and scratching the tiles. Vacuum cleaner attachments are great to suck up dirt along edges or in between tiles.
  4. Avoid Using Bleach and Ammonia: Bleach and ammonia based cleaners are known to discolor grout lines gradually over time. Instead, use a mild all-purpose cleaner, or the manufacturer’s suggested product. Additionally, a non-epoxy grout sealer applied twice a year will protect the grout from staining.
  5. Be Gentle with Tile: Don’t use abrasive materials such as steel wool that will damage the finish on your tiles. Use soft cleaning cloths and mops instead – preferably using Microfibers that are extremely gentle on surfaces and trap dirt particles easily.
  6. Never Wax a Tile Floor: Tile shouldn’t have to be waxed. Tile floors that are sealed or waxed with an acrylic or urethane coating, it requires a great deal of added maintenance. For instance, the coating may scuff and show foot and drag marks, and it could build up and yellow if it’s stripped and waxed at least every year.
  7. Don’t Use Your Vacuum’s Beater Bar: A vacuum’s beater bar (or roller) is meant to brush and lift carpet fibers to pull hair and dirt from deep within. This is okay for carpets, but using it on your tile floors could scratch or dull the finish. Vacuum cleaners allow you to turn off or raise your beater bar so you can vacuum hard surface floors like tile.
  8. Dry Tiles after Cleaning: The dirt and minerals dissolved in the water you use to clean the tile floor can damage and discolor your tile, and even lead to mildew. Tile surfaces exposed to water regularly should be caulked, and the caulk should be regularly inspected to make sure it isn’t peeling away from the tile surface. Sealing the caulking will protect your grout from wear and tear, as well as stains.

Do you have any other tips to add about cleaning file floors? Please let us know in the comments!