Part 2: Best Practices to Implement When Testing Floor Care Products in K-12 Schools

Having a good floor care system is important for schools as your floors withstand heavy foot traffic, sliding chairs, desks and so much more. To help your custodial staff do more with less, and help you maintain your floors to withstand the impacts that schools deliver, you may be considering implementing a new floor maintenance program.

Once you have completed your research and identified a system, you’re interested in trying, it’s time to test how the products perform on your floors. Below are some best practices to implement when testing floor care products in your school or university.

Safety First

There are many factors to consider before testing unfamiliar floor products – with safety topping the list. Prior to testing, review all product instructions, safety data sheets and educate cleaning staff on how to properly use the products, tools and equipment. Products and tools have specific, unique directions that must be precisely followed to help avoid injury to the user or school staff.  Furthermore, never mix floor cleaning products from different manufacturers as it may impact the efficacy of the products and could be harmful for building occupants.

Additionally, communicate your plans with school staff and select a convenient time when the building has minimal occupants, and allows sufficient cure time before the school will be occupied again.

Prepare Your Floors

Once you have identified an area in your school to trial the new floor care system, it’s time to prepare your floor for the test. We recommend first removing any existing floor finish to begin with a bare floor, and utilizing a floor stripper that is fast acting, and low odor that can quickly attack multiple layers making this an efficient and easy task. Using a stripper that is low odor is one of the most important features of a stripper as some strippers can have very caustic odors. In addition, utilizing a stripper with a low odor will allow you to do floor stripping if and when your education facility is occupied. Learn more about SC Johnson Professional’s floor stripper here.

Once your floors are prepped and any existing floor finish is removed, consider cleaning your floors using a floor cleaner and a specialized pad. Consider SC Johnson Professional’s Heavy Duty Neutral pH Floor Cleaner along with our EZ Care Heavy Duty Scrub Pad – These two products together will prepare the floor for finish and can help reduce the need to frequently burnish to maintain the floor’s high gloss appearance once the finish is installed.

Install Finish

Apply the desired number of coats of finish using a mop or other recommended applicator, but also be certain to allow ample dry time in between coats. Temperature, humidity and air circulation may also affect drying time – it’s generally recommended at least 24 hours cure time before resuming floor maintenance.  

Throughout the process, make note of such details as ease of application, fragrance, number of coats to reach desired gloss level, and final visual appearance. 

Maintain Floor

Once installation is complete, resume regular maintenance by dust mopping or sweeping the floor as needed. We recommend a floor coating that is formulated to allow for dry buffing or UHS (Ultra High Speed) burnishing – which allows you to utilize a wide range of different pads and machines to achieve your desired appearance throughout the maintenance process.

Evaluate The Performance On Your Floors

Once regular maintenance has been resumed, periodically evaluate the floor as it is utilized by building occupants. Consider the floor finish performance in such areas as visual appearance including, scuffing and scratching, black heel marking, discoloration, as well as maintenance process considerations such as buff response, and gloss level retention.

Implement a New Floor Care System

If you are happy with the results from the floor care trial, we encourage you to take steps to implement a system that works best in your buildings. By utilizing school breaks for product testing, you will be one step ahead of getting the new school year off to a great start for students and staff! For more information about SC Johnson Professional’s full line of floor care solutions, visit here

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