Best Practices to Reduce and Prevent Floor Haze and Streaks

  • As the floor is often the first thing that your guests see, it is the primary source of overall impressions. As a result, a comprehensive floor care strategy is one of the most important components of facility management to ensure both safety and aesthetics. However, even the best floor care processes can lead to a common problem experienced by many facility managers – visible haziness and streaks caused by floor finish application.

    The primary goal of a floor finish is to protect and preserve the appearance of a space. However, the multi-step application process is laborious and can lead to a variety of issues if not done properly. Cloudiness, haziness or streaks can occur on any floor where a finish is used and is caused by an error in the application process. 

    Three common mistakes that can lead to a cloudy haze or streak marks are:

    1. Not applying enough product – A thin, inconsistent application can lead to streaks as finish levels will vary across the floor.
    2. Not allowing enough dry time for the coat layers to dry properly – When applying a floor finish, accurate dry time is crucial. If you apply a second coat too early, streaks or hazing can occur.
    3. The maximum number of coats for any floor finish in a 24-hour period is four – Putting down more than four can cause improper curing of the lower coats and can lead to hazing.

    If a mistake occurs and you’re stuck with a cloudy haze or floor streaks, there are a few things to try. For a quick and labor-saving solution, you can try burnishing (PDF, 455.30 KB) the top layer of the finish to increase visible shine and gloss. If that is unsuccessful, the next step is to abrade the top layers of finish with a deep scrubbing pad such as Scotch-Brite™ Surface Preparation Pad Plus, then burnish and see if the haze or streaks are gone.  If neither of the previous options worked, the only solution is to chemically strip the floor and start the process from the beginning. 

    In the case of floor finishes, the only way to ensure optimal results is by following the proper application steps the first time. Below are five easy steps that all cleaning teams can follow to prevent haze and cloudiness.

    1. Rinse the Floor Completely: Before applying any finish, make sure to rinse the floor well with fresh water to ensure all chemical residue and debris are removed. When prepping the floors, use a wet vacuum or auto scrubber to pick up all liquids and then flood rinse the floor at least twice. Once the floors are properly rinsed and dried, go over all surfaces with a dust mop to ensure debris is removed.
    2. Choose the Correct Finish: Product selection is important, and you should consider whether a Low Maintenance or Ultra High Speed (UHS) floor finish is most appropriate to ensure effectiveness and durability. For high-traffic areas that require ongoing maintenance, facility managers should use a UHS floor finish that can be easily and quickly repaired. For low traffic areas, a Low Maintenance finish should be applied as it lasts longer and requires less maintenance.
    3. Maintain a Consistent Thickness: When applying each coat of floor finish, be sure to keep coating thicknesses consistent through the entire area and between each layer of coating.  An ideal number to target is 2000 sf/gal of floor finish coverage.
    4. Ensure Adequate Dry Time: Always allow an appropriate dry time between coats. A best practice is to check easily accessible areas (for example, the doorway or the front of the room) to ensure the finish is dry and then wait an additional 15 minutes for the areas where you can’t physically check.
    5. Consider Environmental Factors: Make sure to take note of the environment outside and inside the facility – paying special attention to factors such as humidity, temperature and air flow – and make necessary adjustments for the floor preparation process and dry time.

    Ultimately, there’s no quick fix to repair a cloudy or hazy floor as the act of applying a floor coat is a process driven activity that requires the correct steps each and every time. However, by following the correct application best practices, your floors will shine, ensuring a positive first impression every time.

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