With the demand for innovative designs and optimum use of space, the architects have started experimenting with a variety of floor options. Amongst the most extensively used floor materials are marbles, granites, vitrified tiles and wood (parque).
Marbles are stones that need care right from the time it is laid. From the whitest white to serpentine green and pinkish red, there are various colour options available in this stone depending on its origin. White marble or any fine grain marble is best laid on white cement to bring out the colour. This stone looses its charm with easy chemical or aerial reactions. Marble is the only surface that cannot be sealed and therefore, aftercare post installation becomes important.
- No debris should be left on this surface at all.
- Continuous dry mopping is essential since this soft stone can erode faster than you can imagine with the finest of dust particles.
- Cleaning agents should be neutral with a pH value of 7, not exceeding 9.
- Taski R2, Schevaran’s All Klean, Max Clean or Ecolab’s alternates are preferred choices for daily cleaning regime.
- Weekly scrubbing with a single disc machine using the same cleaning agents will help do away with any grime that the marble has picked up over a period of time.
- Buffing will help retain its shine.
- Special treatments like polishing with Nobile Pasta, a chemical treatment given to the marble for its lustrous shine.
Polished granite is also a popular choice due to high durability and hardness compared to that of marble. Due to its easy availability and abundance, granite was commonly used once to build foundations to many English homes. The hardness and durability of granite contributes to its resistance to abrasion, which is why it is extensively used as a flooring material in commercial and public environments, mainly in high traffic areas.
- Again avoid debris on the surface.
- Follow the regular cleaning regime.
- This surface needs to be sealed since it is highly porous and will absorb liquid in no time.
- Floor sealant will coat the granite making it more durable and stain free.
- Recoating periodically, depending on the traffic the surface faces.
Vitro means glass, therefore vitrified tiles comes with a glass like finish. These are strong, durable and its very low porosity makes it stain resistant. It is a must for bathroom and restroom interiors for that mirror and glossy effect. These tiles are available in varied styles and textures, offering alternate choice in place of marble.
- Easy to clean and maintain
- The cleaning agent will depend on the area
- Tiles in pantry will need a different cleaning agent from that in washroom
- Weekly scrubbing with a nylon scrubber is recommended to get rid of hard stains
- Do not use a scouring pad; this may scratch the coat of the tile and damage it
- No polish is required
Parquet flooring is a geometric mosaic of wood designs used in angular shapes for a patterned wood flooring. It’s a well received surface in formal setups like meeting rooms, boardrooms and banquets too. It borders well with a combination of carpet flooring too. The most commonly used is the “herring bone” design.
The surface needs mist mopping and dusting on a regular basis to prevent damage. Pushing or pulling of any heavy furniture should be avoided to prevent scratches that can uproot the wooden sheets. Avoid upright vacuum cleaners on such surfaces.
A coat of wood maintaining solution will create a film and bar the entry of dust particles. It will also leave a shine on buffing it well.
The right approach
Floor care starts mainly with identification of the surface of the flooring.
Start from outside
Care starts from the outer areas, keeping the exteriors clean can help restore the charm of the interior surfaces.
Keeping driveways free of debris will lower the risk of exertion of floor even if the footfalls are high. Every person entering the building will bring in some amount of dust particle; believe it or not each .03 micron of dust is sharp enough an abrasive for the overall wear and tear of precious marble or granite.
Using the wrong product
Most often, fresh housekeeping staff with not much experience, tend to make the most common mistakes of using Phenyl, if available on site or incorrect cleaning agent with a wrong pH value. Higher pH value alkaline cleanser will discolour the marble whereas low pH value acidic cleanser will make it dull due to loss of shine.
Not following instructions carefully
It is important to read what the manufacturer suggests before using the product. Not many users do so, consequently leading to a damaged floor.
Incorrect quantity used will harm any surface be it marble or granite. An extra dose of cleaning agent does not mean it will shine more. Any overdose will lead to trouble. Housekeeping staff usually follow guidelines given by their Supervisors. The one who misses his regular briefings will tend to do a mistake. New staff members, especially not well-educated, should work closely with an experienced buddy.
Frequency of cleaning
Regular upkeep contributes a lot to the wear and tear of the surfaces. I have come across many such cases where scrubbing is not scheduled for weeks to come due to non-availability of either the cleaning agent, machine or manpower or where the traffic is very high.
Using incorrect mechanism
Wrong machine or an accessory gives a lot of scope for errors. While treating various floor surfaces, make sure the correct scrubbing pads or brushes are used at the right RPM (rotation per minute) while adjusting the speed.
It is important that you care for yourself, the surface, the people and surroundings around you. Forgetting to place signage or working on wrong speed with machines will create serious concerns. To quote an incident in my previous organisation I worked, a staff had to lose a finger for not checking the speed and using a wrong attachment to a single disc.Ashwini Bhoir, Asst. Operations Manager, Total Solutions Facility Management Pvt Ltd