Kaivac offers tips for problematic terrazzo

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HAMILTON, OH — Kaivac Inc., manufacturers of floor cleaning systems, recently offered up tips for cleaning a common commercial flooring — terrazzo — with which many hard floor commercial and contract cleaners have had first-hand problems with.

Terrazz, which are made of Portland cement and marble chips, were popular in North American commercial facilities in the 1930s through the 1970s, making them a likely find in older buildings.

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“Terrazzo floors are very durable, but their appearance can vary, depending on how and how well they have been maintained over the years,” the release explained, but “cleaners know the best way to make a good impression on a new client is to turn a problem area — or in this case a problem floor — into something everyone will be proud to see.”

According to Kaivac, if your new client has a dark, dull or scuffed terrazzo floor, the following restorative steps should help improve its appearance considerably:

  • Use a high-quality floor stripper and thoroughly strip the floor; very often a dull terrazzo floor is the result of several coats of sealant or floor finish applied over the years.
  • Thoroughly rinse the floor; this may need to be repeated two or more times.
  • Following the product’s instructions, apply a thin coat of penetrating sealer to the floor. This does not necessarily put a shine on the floor; instead its purpose is to help protect the floor from heavy foot traffic.
  • Once dry, buff the floor with a low-speed buffer.

“From here, it’s just a matter of daily maintenance,” Matt Morrison, communications manager for Kaivac explained in the release. “Daily sweeping or vacuuming and ‘wet cleaning’ is all that is necessary.”

Morrison uses the term “wet cleaning” because using a wet mop on terrazzo can cause “mop lines” and make the floor dark and dull once again. Instead, he suggests using an auto-scrubber or a less costly auto-vac alternative to wet clean the floor.

“Use a professional, neutral cleaner made for cleaning terrazzo.  And by using an auto-scrubber/auto-vac system, moisture and soils are vacuumed up quickly, helping to prevent soils from drying back onto the floor,” Morrison added.

Terrazzo Trivia: In the 15th century, mosaic artisans in northern Italy swept waste marble chips out onto their terraces, known as “terrazzis,” and smoothed the surface simply by walking over it. To keep the chips from moving around, they started to press them into a more permanent clay base, grind and polish the surface with heavy stones, creating what we now know as terrazzo.

Cleanfax Staff

Cleanfax provides cleaning and restoration professionals with information designed to help them manage and grow their businesses.

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