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11/11/2008 12:00:00 AM

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Key Components of a Flooring Maintenance Program

Compiled by FacilitiesNet Staff

Any flooring type that is cleaned and maintained properly normally will meet or exceed a manufacturer’s — and even a manager’s — expectations. But in today’s tight economy, pressure is mounting to skimp on flooring maintenance by cutting cleaning frequencies. Reduced cleaning frequencies means greater wear and tear on the floor.

To extend the life of flooring, managers need to implement the essential elements of a comprehensive flooring maintenance program. Among the critical factors to consider:

Flooring maintenance tasks. Regular vacuuming is critical for carpets because the faster housekeeping crews remove dirt, the less damage it will do and the longer carpets will last. For hard flooring, such as vinyl composite tile or terrazzo, regular dust mopping and damp mopping remove grit before it can damage the floor’s gloss.

Task frequency. In an era of tight budgets, it is common to hear that flooring maintenance tasks are not performed as often as before. Offices that had been cleaned daily now are cleaned on alternate days, or even weekly or monthly. No matter the type of floors in these offices, their surfaces will be damaged faster with less-frequent cleaning.

The time to perform tasks. With budgets tightening, employees inevitably must do more with fewer resources, including time. But housekeeping crews must have enough time to perform proper flooring maintenance. Ironically, there is a law of diminishing returns from cutting maintenance time. Floors that are cleaned daily take less time to clean on average than floors that otherwise might be cleaned only monthly.

Proper training. Since facilities often feature many different floor types, crews need comprehensive training on flooring maintenance. It is easy to omit this step from the program, but failing to train workers in the proper use of floor-cleaning chemicals or equipment can result in damaged floors. Floor maintenance training should include a review of proper chemical use, equipment considerations, and appropriate cleaning frequencies and safety procedures.

A flooring maintenance program also must take into consideration the following conditions:

• Traffic. How many people walk across the floor, and what is rolled or dragged across it?
• Environment. What type of soil is left on the floor?
• Congestion. What physical obstacles hinder flooring maintenance procedures?
• Time. When can workers perform floor-care tasks?
• Size. What is the square footage of the area to be maintained?
With this information, a manager can develop and implement a comprehensive flooring maintenance program to ensure floors consistently look their best.

Related Articles:

Flooring: One Step Ahead

Getting More from the Floor

Sources:

Flooring Fundamentals by Alan S. Bigger

Flooring that Pays by Alan S. Bigger

Floor Care: Protecting the Investment by Jim Cuviello