Developing A Maintenance Plan For Commercial Flooring
Maintenance protects your investment, plain and simple. As any facility manager knows, renovations are expensive. And proper maintenance pays dividends when compared to ripping and replacing every five years. Flooring is no exception. Your floor endures foot traffic, spills and the weight of equipment and furniture on a daily basis. You need to have a flooring maintenance plan in place to extend the life of the flooring system and keep the manufacturer’s warranty intact.
Here we’ll walk you through how to work with a flooring contractor to develop a holistic floor maintenance plan for your facility. We’ll also give you industry resources to learn how to clean your facility’s carpet, vinyl tile and ceramic tile floors.
Developing A Flooring Maintenance Plan
The key to any flooring maintenance plan is to take a proactive, holistic approach instead of a reactive, as-needed one. This means implementing a plan right after a flooring system is installed — not waiting until the flooring is damaged to schedule a restorative cleaning.
It typically doesn’t cost anything to have a flooring contractor build a custom maintenance plan for your facility because their contract is for the actual maintenance work. So there’s no reason not to enlist the experts. And a flooring contractor will add value by tailoring your daily cleaning and periodic maintenance procedures to your facility’s budget — and how your facility is actually used.
They’ll begin by sitting down with the building owner or facility manager to read the floor plan, asking:
- What’s your maintenance budget?
- How is each area of your facility used?
- What are the manufacturer-recommended maintenance procedures for each product in your facility?
The answers to each will affect your maintenance plan. Consider a flooring product with manufacturer guidelines that call for weekly deep cleans. That frequency level might be cost-prohibitive for a facility with a lower maintenance budget. To maximize the power of your budget and prevent premature flooring failure, it makes sense to break out maintenance frequency by traffic patterns.
Break out facility floorplan by product and traffic level
Armed with your facility floorplan and the answers to the above questions, your contractor will get to work. They’ll label each room on your floorplan by product and traffic level (low, medium, high). Working within the constraints of your budget, they’ll develop frequencies for routine (vacuuming, spot cleaning) and periodic (interim deep cleaning) maintenance based on each traffic level.
You might, for instance, have your in-house janitorial staff take care of routine maintenance once a day for high-traffic areas (e.g., lobbies, copy rooms, main hallways) and only three times a week for low-traffic areas (e.g., conference rooms, offices). And your flooring contractor might take care of periodic maintenance activities monthly for high-traffic areas and semi-annually for low-traffic areas.
The specific maintenance activities required will vary widely by product category and manufacturer. For example, a luxury vinyl tile (LVT) product from one manufacturer might have slightly different manufacturer-recommended maintenance instructions than a similar product from another manufacturer. The differences tend to lie in the proprietary cleaning chemicals and equipment recommended, not the general process.
We’ll focus on maintenance best practices for four of the most prevalent flooring systems in commercial facilities: Commercial carpet, LVT, VCT and ceramic tile.
How to clean commercial carpet
Carpet tiles and broadloom tiles (this article explains the difference) is the most popular flooring category, comprising 45.4% of overall floor sales in the U.S (reported in the July 2018 issue of Floor Covering Weekly).
Routine maintenance. Vacuuming is the most important part of carpet maintenance — as much as 85% of dirt can be removed through vacuuming alone. And when excess dirt is present in carpet, it begins to abrade the fibers, matte the carpeting and create visible traffic lanes. Use only vacuum cleaners earning Gold-Level Seal of Approval from the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI). When spills, stains and soiling occur, promptly clean the area with the spot cleaner recommended by the manufacturer.
Periodic maintenance. Encapsulation, where the carpet is vacuumed, sprayed with a cleaning agent, agitated and then vacuumed again, is required on an interim basis between deep cleanings. Hot water extraction, where the carpet is vacuumed, sprayed, agitated and then rinsed with clean water and then dried, is required every few encapsulation treatments to deep clean your carpets. Videos of both encapsulation and hot water extraction can be found here. It’s important to have all periodic maintenance performed by a CRI-approved maintenance company to ensure your manufacturer’s warranty remains intact.