Product Advise

Which Floor Finish is Best for my Floor?

Review these 6 key factors before making a decision.

1. Floor Type

Most finishes can be used on multiple types of flooring but cannot be used on all flooring. For example, a finish that can be used on vinyl, linoleum, or vinyl composition tile may not be appropriate for use on other substrates. With today’s flooring design advancements make sure
you know what your floor type is. Choosing a floor finish that is not compatible with the floor type will not only result in a low-quality appearance but can damage the floor substrate costing you more in labor and repair expenses.

2. Maintenance Requirements

Different floor finishes will require varying levels of maintenance. This is important to consider for two reasons. You will need to ensure that you have the labor necessary to care for the finish you choose. In addition, your maintenance program has the proper equipment to maintain the floor finish. All floor finishes require some maintenance, such as vacuuming and mopping, to achieve the desired appearance and protect them from damage. However, some floor finishes will require frequent, high-speed burnishing to maintain their brilliant shine, clarity, and
resistance to scratches. The level of required maintenance for floor finishes can range from frequent high-speed burnishing to no buffing or burnishing. Softer floor finishes will typically require periodic buffing and be best in facilities that perform frequent, high-speed burnishing. On the other hand, if your program does not have the labor or equipment to maintain these types of finishes, you may be better off with a harder finish or finish that does not need to be buffed or burnished.

3. Green Certification Requirements

Businesses in certain industries may have green certification standards that need to be met, and one example of this is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).LEED was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to set a benchmark for the design, construction, maintenance, and operation of high-performance green buildings and homes.LEED and other green certifications support using more natural products for healthier buildings. Floor finishes that meet LEED and other green standards can be certified by organizations like green Seal® or SaferChoice®. These products will also have reduced volatile organic compounds(VOCs), heavy metals, and other harsh chemicals in their product makeup, helping to improve indoor air quality.

4. Desired Gloss Level

When finishing a floor, desired gloss or shine on a floor is usually one of the most front-of-mind considerations. Often, the gloss of a floor will drive the final decision when choosing a floor finish. Certain finishes have higher initial gloss than others, but many finishes are able to buildup shine with each coat of finish that is applied. With that in mind, some businesses do not want extremely shiny or glossy floors. For example, in long-term care, extremely shiny floors are not welcomed because residents often perceive that a high gloss, shiny floor is wet and will have fear of slipping and falling on the floor. However, in retail or recreational facilities, shiny floors display to guests that floors are clean and well maintained.

5. Durability

The chemistry of the floor finish will determine how durable the finish is to scratches and other abuse. Some finishes will be more resistant and require less maintenance while others will need frequent buffing and burnishing to maintain their shine and appearance.Facilities with heavy foot traffic, or daily wear and tear will likely want to choose a harder, more durable finish to minimize the amount of labor and maintenance required.

6. Solids Content

There are many misconceptions about the meaning of “solids” and their role in floor finishes.Solids represent the percentage of the floor finish that remains on the floor after the liquid product dries. Floor finishes are typically differentiated by the percentage of solids they contain. High solid finishes generally contain about 25% – 33% or more solids.In the past, high solids finishes were related to the quality of a finish. However, innovation in floor finish manufacturing has allowed for advancements in floor finish chemistry which positively affects the quality, durability, and other factors.Today, it does not make sense to choose a floor finish based solely on solids.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best finish will require you to evaluate your floor type and then rank your priorities with regard to floor finish features such as durability, gloss, and third-party certifications.

Each consideration will have its own level of importance when selecting the best for your facility. For some, desired gloss will be paramount while others will prioritize green certifications. MRI Professionals can guide you through this critical investment that will reflect on your business and keep your floors safe to walk on.

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