December 8, 2015

Keep it clean! Cleaning best practices for resin flooring

When it comes to floor-care and cleaning, optimal procedures will vary depending on the particular resin and flooring environment.  

Keeping ahead of floor-cleaning on a daily basis will ensure that the aesthetics of the area will be maintained, but more importantly the lifespan of your flooring will be increased and it will remain in-line with safety requirements demanded by industrial standards.

According to the Resin Flooring Association (FeRFA) Guide to Cleaning Resin Flooring, resin floors are tough resilient systems, however, for the performance characteristics of the floor to be maintained, an appropriate cleaning regime should be agreed upon in advance.

“It is essential that, in the design and construction stages, there should be full consultation with the end user and contractor and manufacturer of the synthetic resin flooring to ensure that the product to be selected is entirely suited for the conditions both during application and in subsequent service.”

Choosing the right flooring product in the first place

The main synthetic resin systems include epoxy, polyurethane and methacrylate resins, which can be used in a variety of different applications across a range of industrial and commercial industries, each with different cleaning and maintenance requirements.

According to Colin Murphy, Product Manager at Hychem, there are products that have been specially formulated to suit certain environments and the various cleaning requirements of each.

“Some innovative flooring options on the market have built-in systems to help fight the build-up of bacteria.

According to Mr Murphy, Hychem’s most popular flooring product, Hycrete, is a polyurethane flooring system that has been scientifically engineered to include an antimicrobial ingredient which provides effective resistance to bacteria, fungi, mould and mildew.  

“With the addition of antimicrobial ‘Ultrafresh’, right from the start it is much easier to maintain high levels of hygiene, particularly useful in medical and food and beverage industries.

Mr Murphy said another option to consider that will help make long term maintenance easier in high traffic environments, such as car parks or shopping centres is the use of sacrificial coating.

“A sacrificial coating can be mop applied periodically to maintain gloss levels whilst protecting the resin underneath, which can extend the life of the flooring by many years,” says Mr Murphy.

Cleaning method varies

A number of factors need to be considered when choosing a suitable cleaning method.

“The best cleaning regime should be determined by the type of resin flooring installed, the type and frequency of traffic, the degree and type of contaminants and specific hygiene requirements.

“In order to keep the floors in best possible condition it is important good housekeeping procedures are maintained.

“The most important thing to remember is to clean up any spill as early as practical,” says Mr Murphy.

Two types of floor cleaning

Floor cleaning can either be done with the use of chemicals or high energy agitation such as a floor scrubber.  

Chemical cleaning solutions will dissolve or emulsify the type of contamination present, and will require the flooring to be rinsed after application.

Resin flooring will not be affected by most commonly available special purpose cleaning materials, however a small spot test is always a good idea.

High energy inputs might involve a high pressure washer, hot washer or steam cleaner. These pieces of equipment can be extremely powerful, so proper training should be given to ensure they are used safely.

Types of cleaning materials

When choosing the most effective and safe cleaning material for your particular flooring, it is important to understand the specific product uses and possible adverse effects to your flooring surface if used in the wrong concentration.

“Some materials can damage the surface or body of the finish, while others can give rise to softening or etching of the coating.”

Depending on what compounds you need to clean from the surface of your flooring – ie. fats, oils, scale, water deposits – there are many products that also offer a pleasant odour to the cleaning process, and others that are labelled as using only natural ingredients.

Specialist products also exist for the cleaning of antistatic surfaces, the removal of polishes, chewing gum, tyre marks, stains and greases. In addition, there are products that are designed to have a specific effect such as sterilisation, bactericidal activity and disinfection.

General cleaning methods:

  • Sweep clean:

The floor should be maintained and kept clean and free of any loose debris, that could abrade the surface.

  • Rubber tyre mark removal:

The removal of these markings in a majority of cases can be difficult, so a cleaning maintenance program is suggested to be put in place to minimise and reduce long term marking.

The most common forklift tyres are made from a universal rubber compound and can mark your epoxy floor. You should consult with your forklift provider to ensure that the most appropriate tyres are fitted to your forklift.

It is always good practice to test a small area of tyre mark removal with any new cleaning solution.

  • Carparks

For commercial car parks we suggest that a floor scrubbing machine be used, and all suitable cleaning chemicals and brushes can be determined after consultation with the machine supplier.

  • Grease and oil removal

A regular housekeeping program will enhance the appearance of your floor.  However, as oil and grease stains become evident, many cleaning options are available.

Sanitation chemical companies will be able to advise regarding appropriate cleaning products.  Contact your sales office for recommendations.

The degree of dirt build-up can determine the ratio of cleaning products.  The cleaning product can usually be mixed at various ratios according to the manufacturer with warm water, mopped onto the floor and allowed to sit for up to 10-15 minutes.  After the 15 minute interval, the area can be scrubbed with a scrubbing pad to loosen the residue.  After this procedure, flush with water and remove excess solution from the floor surface.

Do not use black pads to clean any marks from the light reflective floor surface.  The green scrubbing pad is the preferred pad for these chores and buffing pads are also acceptable.  As a guide, manufacturers indicate that the darker the colour of the pad denotes the coarseness of the abrasion.

In all cleaning applications, the work must be carried out in strict accordance to the manufacturer’s Technical Data Sheets.  

Maintenance

The following is a best-practice guide to ensure that your epoxy flooring is properly maintained:

  • A pH neutral chemical cleaner is recommended for general soil removal and daily maintenance.
  • All floors should be mopped using a dry mop method of application and using a strong commercial detergent containing a water-soluble polish.
  • Non slip floors can be cleaned using low pressure cleaning equipment, less than 1000 psi.
  • Once the floor is dry from this application it should be buffed using a handheld polishing buff or lightly buffed by a buffing machine.
  • With a power-scrubbing machine, be aware of the different types of pads for different applications.  Pad manufacturers generally use the same colour for different types of pads  however this does not always hold true so best to check.

As a general rule, pad colours are as follows:

Black – stripping (coarse)

Green – scrubbing

Red and blue – buffing (soft)

Scratches should be taken out using a commercial floor polish, preferably by hand along the scratch and then buffed.

Spillages:

Spillages of any kind should be wiped away and removed as soon as possible.  Not only is this good practice in terms of Occupational Health and Safety standards, but this will also maintain the condition of the floor.  

Contaminations such as trolley rubber marks or scuffing from rubber soled shoes can be removed by using commercial detergents designed for this purpose.  

If the floor coating has been removed by a spill or other damage, the coating should be re-applied as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the flooring system.

Maintenance of Floors Subject to Frequent Cleaning

In areas subject to frequent cleaning, the types of cleaning solutions or compounds become even more important and all products should be of an alkaline composition to ensure the coating is not being slowly eroded over time.

Another important tip is to not allow water to sit on the floor for an extended period of time.

The above article includes general advice. Every cleaning situation and floor system will differ. It is very important to always contact Hychem for advice on correct choice.

For more information, please call Colin Murphy on 0410 319 557

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