ICS Magazine

It Ain't Easy, It's VCT Flooring. You Can Keep the Frequency at Bay, But You Will Have to Strip That VCT

April 18, 2002
Most facility managers, building maintenance professionals or contract cleaners will agree that stripping VCT flooring is expensive, messy, very time consuming and the one procedure they hate performing. The secret to prolonging the frequency between stripping lies in the efficiency and effectiveness of your routine/daily and periodic/interim cleaning programs.

However, no matter how well you perform these routine and periodic procedures, eventually the floor will need to be stripped and recoated with sealer and finish or a sealer/finish combination (wax).

Since you already have the basic supplies, here is what else you will need to strip your VCT floors.

  • Application equipment for applying the stripping solution, i.e. mop bucket & mop, dispensing bucket with gravity feed or automatic floor scrubber.
  • Necessary equipment for agitating the stripping solution. Most commonly used is the standard 175 rotary machine, though an auto-scrubber, cylindrical or orbital equipment may also be applicable depending on the job.
  • Stripping pads and/or brush
  • Extraction equipment to remove stripper slurry (the diluted or emulsified sealer/finish)-wet vac with wand or extraction squeegee blade attached
  • Miscellaneous equipment: Extension cords, furniture dolly, hand truck etc.
  • Raw product: Floor stripper, neutralizer and any other general products needed for touch up, cleaning of baseboards, furniture legs, doors etc.
  • Sealer/finish application equipment: Rayon mop (conventional or flat mop), application machine or gravity feed device

    Application Procedures

  • Prep work area, mask and move contents if required
  • Dry soil removal: Sweep, dust mop or vacuum clean
  • Set safety perimeter & PPE.
  • Apply stripping solution, mixed according to manufacturer recommendations, to an area you can finish within a 15-minute period in a single operation. Allow enough dwell time, but do not let the stripper dry on the floor.
  • Begin agitating the stripper with the appropriate scrubbing equipment. This breaks the bond between the sealer/finish and the floor. Do not strip an area larger than you can complete in a 15-minute single operation.
  • Detail corners, edges and hard to reach areas using edge cleaning equipment.
  • Rinse the floor with a neutralizer - not a neutral cleaner - there is a difference!
  • Let dry, inspect for result and repeat the process if and where needed
  • Dust mop with clean untreated dust mop
  • Apply adequate coats of seal and/or finish - follow label direction and use appropriate application equipment

    Through trial and error, plenty of in-house experience and on-going education you will learn all you need to know about stripping and refinishing VCT floors.