ICS Magazine

Commercial Floor Care: Keys to a Clean Finish: The Right Vacuum Makes a Difference

January 2, 2007

Installing, sanding, finishing and repairing wood floors in a quality manner can be challenging. Customers expect a smooth finish, without bumps or roughness. In many cases, this requires several stages of sanding, and very thorough vacuuming.

Belt-style drum, edge and buffer sanders are often used in succession to achieve a progressively smoother surface. Since drum sanders work best in open spaces, smaller edge sanders may be used to sand the room’s perimeter. Buffer sanders using a fine-grit pad may impart the final level of smoothness in open areas.

Dust must be completely removed for the best finish. While dust-control systems on drum and edge sanders capture some of it, backpack vacuums are useful for removing much of the remaining fine dust.

A quality backpack vacuum has ergonomically-designed padded shoulder straps and a padded waist belt that distributes weight evenly on the hips. Since the vacuum moves with the operator rather than being rolled on the floor, it is faster and more maneuverable than other vacuums, and won’t mar or scuff floors. Its lightweight aluminum wand, 14- to 20-inch brush floor tool, and high-velocity (up to 150 CFM) airflow capture dust in a reusable four-stage filter system (with up to 10-quart capacity). Workers vacuum with the grain of the wood for maximum effectiveness.

Thorough removal of dust from above-floor areas is also important to prevent particles from settling on the floor and compromising the finish. Tools carried on the backpack’s waist belt can be attached to clean edges, corners, and other areas. An extension wand reaches ceilings, walls, sills, and ledges.

While no vacuum gets all of the dust and eliminates the need for additional measures, such as tack cloths to pick up dust residue adhering to floors, vacuuming using a backpack with its attachments and advanced filter system provide a critical assist for the best final outcome while helping alleviate indoor air quality concerns and boosting cleaning quality and productivity.

IAQ Advantage

While dust mopping or sweeping is an effective means to gather surface soil into a central spot for pickup, the process tends to waft dust into the air. Building occupants inhale airborne particles, and furnishings catch fine dust as it resettles, driving up health risks and labor costs for cleaning.

Vacuums with four-stage filtration largely eliminate this source of indoor air pollution and added labor expense, since filters typically trap 99 percent of particles down to 1 micron (a micron is approximately 1/70th the thickness of a human hair), passing very little particulate into the air.

Also, very little dust and debris remain on the floor to be carried airborne by traffic since a backpack’s brush attachment dislodges dust for removal by suction. Important also is good point-of-contact suction to remove dirt that otherwise embeds in the porous contours of the wood degrading the surface and overall appearance.

Low-Impact Cleaning

The main backpack unit itself never touches the hardwood floor during cleaning, preventing marring or scratching. The vacuuming wand picks up grit and small items such as staples, nails and tacks that old-fashioned cleaning methods may drag, scarring floors.

Productivity Gains

While preservation of floors and cleaning quality is important, cleaning speed is also a consideration. With productivity, indoor air and cleaning quality issues paramount in hardwood floor care installation and maintenance, backpack vacs are an option worth considering.