HANDLE WITH CARE How to properly clean fragile floors by Lee Senter
hen maintaining floors in a facility, it’s important to understand the characteristics of what’s underfoot since some materials don’t fare well when abrasively cleaned. Extra care must be taken with laminate, bamboo, cork and linoleum. These flooring options are considered fragile because most traditional floor cleaners are too harsh for them and they therefore require specific cleaning products. They are also often moisture sensitive and prone to damage from aggressive agitation.
There are many grades of laminate flooring. The latest generation of laminates are made with a vinyl coating and easy to maintain. However, most laminates are constructed with a backing material, MDF or HDF (medium-density or high-density fibreboard) core, design layer (photographic image of wood, stone, brick or ceramic) and wear layer, which is a clear top coat that protects the floor from stains and fading. The wear layer is durable but it often scratches easily. While many manufacturers define a scratch as a mark that has penetrated through the wear layer — an almost impossible feat — most end users view it as a straight line on the flooring surface caused by a dragged item. Either way, it is vital to keep gritty dry soils off this style of flooring to avoid abrasions to the surface. Due to the ultra-thin wear layer of laminate, any amount of moisture beyond a light mist can easily penetrate into the seams of the flooring and cause delamination and edges to curl. Most manufacturers suggest the flooring be cared for with a laminate or
16 / FACILITY CLEANING & MAINTENANCE / APRIL/MAY 2017