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How should I maintain my Floor?

FAQ Details

Last Updated
13th o May, 2008

While polyurethanes are widely recognised as the most durable surface coatings for floors, they are inevitably subject to wear, particularly when any gritty substance is introduced onto the floor. Grit will act in the same manner as sandpaper, and large particles of grit under shoes or heavy furniture will not only cut through the coating but damage the timber or cork as well.

Furthermore, it is important to understand that the average polyurethane coating system (three coats) is only about 100 microns (0.1 mm) thick, and therefore cannot prevent indentation of timber when subjected to excessive forces such as occasioned by stiletto heels or certain castor wheels. The incidence of indentation will also be directly related to the density of the timber or cork. i.e. hardwoods such as Brushbox are much less predisposed to indentation than softer timbers such as Cypress Pine.

The key to successful maintenance of polyurethane treated floors is the exclusion of any gritty substance from the floor. This can be achieved by the placement of mats in external doorways. It is also imperative that the legs of furniture be fitted with felt pads.

Regularly wipe over the floor with an antistatic mop or sweep with a soft bristle broom. We caution against the use of vacuum cleaners, particularly if the bristles are worn as the cleaning head may scratch the floor. The frequency of cleaning is dependant on the level of traffic, amount of grit carried onto the floor, and activity of children, and pets etc.

Cleaning Your Floor
To routinely clean your floor, mix up to one cup of Methylated Spirits or White Vinegar into a bucket of hot water, and mop the floor, regularly rinsing the mop. The use of detergents for regular maintenance is not recommended, because a deposit of detergent is left on the floor, which on a high gloss floor is very noticeable. If, however, there is a spillage or build up of any greasy substance on the floor, then washing with a non abrasive detergent will be required. Prevent a build up of streaking and smear marks from using detergent by following with further wash with the Methylated spirits or Vinegar and hot water solution.

Floor Polishes
Under normal domestic conditions a polyurethane coating will last many years. However, in commercial locations or areas exposed to high traffic levels, it may be necessary to protect the coating with a sacrificial floor polish, i.e. the polish will take the brunt of the wear, and can easily be replenished when necessary. Suitable polishes are those based on a metal-link acrylic polymer, which can be readily removed by washing with ammonia solution if there is an excessive build up in non traffic areas. These polishes are also suitable in restoring the gloss of a polyurethane floor which has not been excessively worn, but may have scuffed badly. Commercially available floor polishes suitable for polyurethane coated timber and cork floors are - Johnsons’ One-Go, Reckitts’ Long Life or Peerless Gemini.
Visitor Comments
  1. Comment #1 (Posted by Vivian Peazer )
    How often would you recommend having your floor polished? I had our flooring replaced a few years ago, and I really want to make sure that it stays in mint condition. I keep it clean and I wash it myself often enough, but I really want to get a regular polishing set up with a service. <a href='http://www.floorcraft.net.au/services/sand-polish/' > http://www.floorcraft.net.au/services/sand-polish/</a> Vivian Many thanks for your question. This is not a simple question as the response is very dependent on the type of coating that has been applied, the number of coats and their thickness and the volume and type of traffic that your floor is subjected to. To clarify your definition of polish - do you mean application of a traditional Wax polish over the finish (polyurethane?) or a more modern water base polish - often referred to as a sacrificial wear layer? These days days traditional wax polishes are rare and therefore you may mean a sacrificial wear layer. There are several brands available - Urethane Coatings make a water born polish called Purashine. Peerless also manufacture a water borne polish called Gemini. These polishes are available in Gloss or Satin. They are applied with a mop and initially a couple of coats are required and then a re-coat every few weeks/months dependent on the volume of traffic the floor is subjected to. Meanwhile clean your floor by simply washing with a mix as follows. Part fill a bucket with hot water (about 6 Litres) and add 2 cups of Methylated Spirit. Mop the floor and allow it to dry. Do not flood the floor. If the floor is particularly dirty, first wash with a 'Non Abrasive' detergent - similar to the type you use to wash the dishes. I trust this is of assistance.
  2. Comment #2 (Posted by harry )
    I just had a guy sand and polish my floors using your product.(satin finish) On completion, the floor looks bubbly and I do understand why. The contractor told me he did it right and if it failed than its the product not the worksmanship. My question is, is the finish suppose to be bubbly? It looks like air is trying to escape? Harry, Many thanks for your question. Polyurethane is moisture cure - that is to cure it reacts with the moisture in the air and a by product of of that reaction is carbon dioxide. Typically this escapes, however if the coating is too thick or if the film dries too quickly these bubbles may become trapped in the final coat. Alternatively, they may not be bubbles but small craters - this occurs from time to time as a result of the presence of contaminants on the surface. e.g. silicone over spray or natural contaminants such as oils and waxes that migrate from the timber. Every floor is different and needs to be coated accordingly. If the bubbles are significant the last coat may need to be buffed (fine sanded until they are removed), the floor vacuumed and then chemically washed and an additional coat applied. I trust this is of assistance. Cheers Harry
  3. Comment #3 (Posted by gary birtles )
    It seems like it isn't too hard to keep a timber floor maintained. I currently have carpet throughout my house, but I feel like it is awful to keep clean. Between my kids and my dog, the carpet doesn't stand a chance. I'd like to switch to timber soon because it looks better over time opposed to carpet. Gary, Many thanks for Your question. Many People have similar feelings. If you install timber floors, regularly sweep with an anti static mop. For very high traffic do this daily and for less traffic as appropriate. Don't be surprised as the volume of dust and grit the mop sweeps up as carpet hides dust and grid. A good tip is to place a good sized door mat outside each entrance and a softer mat on the inside of each entrance. The mat will collect much of the grit from the soles of shoes that otherwise is walked onto the floor. Regularly shake the mats. Regularly clip the claws of the dog. I trust you enjoy a polished floor. <a href='http://www.pfc.com.au/solid-timber-planks.asp' >http://www.pfc.com.au/solid-timber-planks.asp</a>
  4. Comment #4 (Posted by gary birtles )
    It seems like it isn't too hard to keep a timber floor maintained. I currently have carpet throughout my house, but I feel like it is awful to keep clean. Between my kids and my dog, the carpet doesn't stand a chance. I'd like to switch to timber soon because it looks better over time opposed to carpet. <a href='http://www.pfc.com.au/solid-timber-planks.asp' >http://www.pfc.com.au/solid-timber-planks.asp</a>
  5. Comment #5 (Posted by Jenn Davies )
    I've heard both good and bad things about using vinegar on a wood floor. Some people say it works wonders, but other people say it damages the finish. If it's diluted with water, does that take the sting out of it? I just don't want to make anything worse. Jenn, Many thanks for your question. Vinegar is an acid - When applied to Monothane (or most any floor finishes) the acid will react with the finish and initially make it look new and fresh, but each time Vinegar is used the reaction will slightly reduce the gloss, and so over time the floor will begin to look tired. Therefore if you continue to use vinegar please dilute it in hot/warm water at a ratio of around 4-6 Litres of to 1 cup of Vinegar. We prefer to recommend using Methylated Spirit as an alternative to vinegar, at the same ratio. Methylated Spirit is not an acid and therefore not as abrasive. waterVinhttp://www.floorcraft.net.au/services/sand-polish/
  6. Comment #6 (Posted by ronald swanson )
    I had no idea that you could make your own homemade cleaner for your wood floors, and that it only consists of white vinegar and water! Can you add anything to the mixture to try and cancel out the strong smell of vinegar, because I have a very sensitive nose? Another question I have is instead of using detergent to wash grease build up, and then followed with a vinegar wash, can you just combine the two when washing greasy wood floors? http://www.pfc.com.au/solid-timber-planks.asp Ronald, It is true that some companies advise that you can make a cleaner from White Vinegar and water. As detailed below, Urethane Coating DO NOT recommend this mix as the vinegar is an acid, and can also bleach the floor, and in some instances leave 'a minor white scum or smear marks'. Regardless, if you continue to use this mix only add 1 cup of White Vinegar to 6 Litres of hot water. Urethane Coating recommend an alternative, 1 cup of Methylated Spirit mixed into 6 Litres of hot water. If the floor is particularly dirty, complete two separate cleaning processes. 1. Mix dish-washing detergent [up to 20 mls] (any NON ABRASIVE detergent ) into 6 Litres of hot water and wash the floor using a soft string mop or foam rubber mop. Regularly rinse the mop. 2. Make a separate mix of Methylated Spirit and hot Water and mop the floor. DO NOT mix detergent and Methylated Spirit into the same bucket of hot water.
  7. Comment #7 (Posted by Anonymous)
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  8. Comment #8 (Posted by Kaye )
    I recently had a new bathroom renovation and the builder taped tarps to my polished floors in the hallway for protection. However when they removed the tarps they have pulled the the tape and the varnish has come off also. I now have two small square patches of raw timber and the varnish is lifting around these patches also. Can you please advise me how I can repair. Kaye, Many thanks for your question. Regrettably many builders and contractors are unaware that there are several types of masking tape; Cream Colour, Blue and Green. The adhesive on all can react with your floor finish, and typically soften it, such that the longer the tape is in contact with the finish the more likely is it will damage the finish. Many contractors are unaware of this - If tape must be used, it is best to use Green tape, and apply for the least possible time, (hours, not days) particularly if the finish is reasonably new. To repair the finish the damaged area must be fine sanded along the edges back to the area of good adhesion - this will make the section of damage larger. Please contact the contractor that coated the floor and establish exactly what system was used as this is important to ensure any repair coating applied is compatible and the same colour, as the existing. The bare timber must be coated with the same sealer (primer/1st coat), and then the subsequent coat or coats applied. At that stage if the colour match is good the repair should be acceptable. If not the entire area may need to be re-coated. I trust this is of assistance.
  9. Comment #9 (Posted by Mark McLean )
    I have been enjoying my beautiful Spotted Gum hardwood fllooring protected with Tung Oil & Gemini polish for nearly 10 years now. We have kept the floor in fairly good condition by removing our shoes most of the time, but I would like to rejuvinate the floor to its original beauty. There is a few scuff and minor scrapes appearing but it doesn't appear to be deeper than the Gemini polish. Can I just do a Versadet mopping followed by another coat of Gemini, or is a lambswool polisher an option or both? Any thoughts would be much appreciated. Thanks, Mark. Many thanks for your interest in our products. Yes you can clean the floor - Urethane Coatings recommend to add a cup of Methylated Spirit to 3 Litres of hot water and use a string or foam mop. Regularly rinse the mop, and as the Metho water mix becomes dirty, tip it out and make a fresh mix. As soon as it is dry apply a fresh coat of Gemini. If the scuff marks and scrapes are difficult to remove it may be necessary to lightly buff these areas with a #180 or #200 pad on a poly-vac, before applying the Gemini.
  10. Comment #10 (Posted by Cira )
    How Should I maintain my Floor? Please refer to the numerous questions and responses below. If you have a unique question regarding floor maintenance, please resubmit the question providing the specific details of your question.
  11. Comment #11 (Posted by Richard Gersekowski )
    What can I do to stop people from slipping on my floor when it is wet. Also with metho as a recommended cleaner what about the fumes that it will give off when mopping an area o 800m2. It is an achol based chemical. also which will dry quicker, water and vinegar or water and metho. Richard, Many thanks for your questions. All floors are more slippery when wet - typically the practical solution is not to walk on them until they have dried - any floor coated with polyurethane is 'a Dry Floor', i.e. in ordinary circumstances/general use it is dry, and is only wet if an accidental spill has occurred or if it has just been washed. With regard the fumes - when washing the floor you will be using a mop that you regularly rinse in the UC recommended Hot Water and Metho Mix. Rinse means you rinse out the mop from wiping the floor, wring out the majority of the liquid from the mop and continue - you are not flooding the floor and therefore the volume of Metho evaporating into the atmosphere in rooms of floors that have been cleaned is very low. The hot water and Metho mix will evaporate faster than a mix of hot water and vinegar, however in reality, how 'hot' the water is, is the most significant factor in this instance. I trust this is of assistance.

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