The summer months are also known as “strip season” for building maintenance departments although with high temperatures and humidity, it is not the ideal weather for stripping and refinishing floors.
The optimum temperature for stripping and finishing floors is around 70 degrees with low humidity. High humidity slows the evaporation rate of the water from the finish while the evaporation rate of the solvents is not impacted. This uneven evaporation can create a watery finish that has not properly bonded and results in a less desirable film on the floor.
If you are doing floor finishing work this summer, here are some guidelines to follow to obtain the best results:
Don’t Rush It. Allow a day between stripping the floor and applying finish to enable the additional moisture to dry out. Also allow more drying time between layers of finish.
Keep it Thin. Apply thinner coats of finish to decrease the amount of water in the finish.
Turn on the Air. Air conditioners will decrease the humidity in the air. If you don’t have air conditioning, run fans.
Get it all! Make sure all the old finish is removed. There should be a consistent dull appearance to the floor. To make sure, carefully use a razor blade or putty knife to scrape select areas. If there is any residual finish or sealer on the floor, it will peel up in thin, powdery sheets.
Dust-free Confirmation. Make sure the floor is completely free of dust and debris following all the prep work. If not, the floor could be left with dimples, a stray hair, or other imperfection once it dries. Dust mop the floor with either a microfiber mop head or a regular mop treated as a tack rag.
Go Flat. Consider using a flat microfiber mop to apply the finish. Since microfiber is lint-free, it eliminates the chance of transferring fibers to the floor. Microfiber mops are much lighter than traditional mops and can hold a good amount of finish, assuring a smooth release of finish onto the surface.
Stripping and refinishing floors can be a tricky process and is a learned skill. Don’t experiment on a customer’s floor!
Call us for professional advice, tricks and tips to assure it is done right the first time.