You may already know that a proactive floor maintenance program is a good investment in the safety, financial value and aesthetic appeal of your facility.
But when the temperature plunges, commercial flooring can also take a nosedive as employees and customers track in snow, ice, and ice melt products. All of these substances create safety hazards and degrade the function and appearance of your floors. It’s very important for businesses to have a winter floor maintenance program.
- Melting ice and snow cause water damage to flooring materials, not to mention a significant slip and fall risk.
- Abrasive particles from dirt and other debris create scratches, trapping even more dirt and making your floors much harder to clean and maintain.
- Ice melt products dissolve into melting ice and snow, creating a substance called brine. The brine seeps into the seams in your floor, which deteriorates the adhesive, causes tiles to loosen or edges to lift, and creates a tripping hazard.
- Ice melt, mixed with water, also creates an unsightly white residue which degrades the appearance of your floors.
Besides the damage to your floors, salt also corrodes and breaks down the metal on your entry doors and other metal surfaces near the ground.
So, how can you maintain the safety and aesthetic value of your floors during the harshest days of winter? Here are three simple, yet effective actions every building manager can add to their floor maintenance program.
#1: Keep Floors Dry
Maintain floor safety and appearance by keeping snow and ice off of your floors as much as possible — along with salt and other ice melt products.
- Place absorbent floor mats on the outside and inside of all entryways. A quality commercial mat can absorb as much as 90% of the dirt and moisture tracked in on people’s shoes. Place a friendly reminder at the door encouraging folks to wipe their feet as they enter.
- Consider placing non-slip plastic runners in high-traffic areas on bad weather days. This will help you keep snow and salt off of the floor.
- Have extra heavy-duty towels on hand near the entrance to soak up excess water from your floors.
- Place a commercial-grade floor heater near your entryways. It helps keep the floor dry, and as an added bonus, warms your employees and guests as they enter your facility.
- Place “wet floor” signs in entryways and high traffic areas that get a lot of dirt, debris, and water tracked on them.
#2: Keep Floors Clean
Water removal should be a top priority in your winter floor maintenance program when frozen or wet weather hits. Consider a more frequent floor cleaning schedule during the winter months.
During a snow or ice event, you may have to clean multiple times in a single day, especially in high traffic areas.
- Clean up tracked in snow, ice, and ice melt products as quickly as possible. The less time they spend on your floor, the less you’ll have to spend on water damage repair.
- Clean puddles immediately. Standing water damages most hard floor surfaces and can cause a slip and fall accident.
- Use a clean mop every time you clean the floor. Consider using two buckets to make sure dirty cleaning solution is rinsed off before each pass.
- Removal of white residue may require more than one pass from your mop or autoscrubber.
#3: Protect Floors from Damage
You can also ward off a lot of damage ahead of time by investing in quality floor protection products.
- The 3M™ Stone Floor Protection System, for example, reduces the risk of accidents by giving you a high traction surface for different flooring types — including marble, terrazzo, granite, and natural stone.
- It also restores and maintains the appearance of your floor, making routine cleaning even more effective.
- Applying the 3M™ Stone Floor Protection System correctly is just as important as using it in the first place. Make sure your service provider is a 3M™ Certified Specialist. That means they’ve completed rigorous training in proper protection of your floors.
Do you need information about preserving the safety and beauty of your floors throughout the harsh winter months?
Contact us at Mid America Specialty Services at any time. We’re here to answer your questions about winter floor care and help you protect your investment year-round.