What is Meant By “Strip and Wax”?
Wax Has Been Replaced By Urethanes and Acrylics for Several Decades Now
While some floor finishes may contain a small amount of wax in its formulation (usually Carnauba), there is no “wax” per se, involved in the process that is still commonly referred to as a Strip and “Wax”. In the old days, a paste wax was literally applied to floors, then buffed.
What is “Stripping” Floor Finish? When Do You Recommend Stripping Floors?
Stripping floor finish is just what the term implies; it is removing or “stripping” the existing floor coatings from the flooring material. Stripping chemicals are extremely harsh and hazardous to work with.
Strip jobs take more time (and money) versus a “Scrub and Re-coat”. If floors have little or no build up on the edges or corners, we’ll generally do a Scrub & Re-coat rather than a strip job. When floors are stripped, they must be neutralized and sealed before any finish is applied.
Why Does Our Maintenance Guy Say That Floors Should Always Be Stripped?
In most instances, we have no idea. This thought process is similar to when maintenance people tell us their wood floors need to be screened (sanded) every time. This is also an old-school, outdated approach to floor maintenance that is very costly and makes no sense.
As you can see from above, there is a tremendous amount of labor and product involved in a Strip and Wax job versus a Scrub and Re-coat. Stripper chemicals are harsh and can actually ruin baseboard, trim and adjacent furniture or carpet.
How Does the Procedure of a Strip and Wax Differ From a Scrub and Re-Coat?
In Many Ways, the Process is Similar:
We generally place wet floor or caution signs in appropriate areas;
mix our Scrubbing or Stripping solution in a mop bucket with water;
soak the floor with solution and buff at low speed, scrubbing and/or stripping the floor;
then we pick up the scrubbed (dirty) solution from the floor with a wet/dry vacuum;
mop with plain water and a clean mop head while checking for spots that may have been missed;
Here’s the Difference
WHEN FLOORS ARE STRIPPED (or it’s a new floor), WE NEED TO NEUTRALIZE THE FLOOR THEN APPLY A SEALER. This is at least two extra steps and is more labor intensive, not to mention the extra products needed for a Strip and Wax job.
WHEN FLOORS ARE SCRUBBED, we do not need to neutralize and seal the floor. We can immediately apply floor finish.
In either instance, we generally wear protective equipment, such as gloves and stripping boots. Many floor strippers are extremely slippery when applied onto the floor.
What We Need From You When You Hire Us to Do Your Floors
We ask you to “post” your building so all patrons and employees know that they will not have access to our work area for several hours.
We also ask that you remove items from our work area and do not drag heavy objects across the floor (before and especially after we’re done).
We’ll need access to a water source near our work area to fill mop buckets and a standard 110VAC outlets (20 amps) for our low speed floor machine(s) and wet/dry vacuum(s) and 110VAC air movers to plug into.
We’ll need to know where circuit breaker panels are located. We’ll need you to acknowledge that any equipment that may be affected by a blown circuit breaker caused by our equipment, should be shut down prior to our arrival and that we are not liable for any damages or inconvenience caused by the blown circuit breaker.
We also require that your alarm system be disabled while we’re working so we can haul equipment in and out.
Somebody from your company must be available by cell phone to call when we’re finished or have any building questions.
After We’re Done
You may walk on the floor the next day, but the finish will be soft for at least 72 hours. Do not drag heavy objects across the floor for at least one week. You may pick up and set items down where they belong, but do not drag them. The products that we use will have a very slight acrylic odor. You do not need to be concerned about harmful VOCs or people feeling nauseous from the products we use. This odor is so slight, we re-coat gyms in fitness centers while patrons do their workouts in the next room with no complaints.
We clean up after ourselves. Any fans left on premises (to aid in air movement) will be picked up as soon as possible after the job is done.
Contact us to discuss your situation. We can help!