What is strip and sealing ?
The same as we paint our walls, to not only make them look good we do this to also try to protect the plasterboard underneath from minor damage. Strip & sealing works on a similar principal. Strip and sealing is simply removing the old sealer from the floors surface and laying new coats of sealer to the floor in several layers. This is done in order to protect the vinyl from minor damage caused by wear & tear and to also keep them looking good.
Un-repairable damage can easily be done to an unsealed floor simply by daily walking on the vinyl. Small particles of dirt and sand stick the soles of our shoes/feet, which cause friction when walking on an unsealed surface. This slowly “sands” away the surface of the vinyl, removing the colour and pattern on the vinyl over time. Dust and dirt blowing in from outside is also be easily compacted into the floor simply by walking on the surface; this again creates friction under foot and slowly “sands” away at the vinyl. Strip & sealing does not prevent this friction “sanding” event from happening, but what it does do is stops the damage being done to the vinyl, as the “sanding” is done to the layers of sealer on top of the vinyl therefore protecting your vinyl from damage. After the top layers of sealer have been slowly sanded away and the vinyl appears to have lost its “luster” then normally there are only one or two coats left on the floor, you simply need to get them restriped and sealed; giving your floors a full level of protection again.
Have you just laid new vinyl that has no sealer on it ?
When purchasing new vinyl, the average person would not be aware that most vinyl surfaces do require regular maintenance such as stripping and sealing. If you do not know to ask your supplier, they may not automatically tell you this information. If your new vinyl has a matte look to the surface and when wet the water seems to almost “absorb” into the floor, then there may not be any sealer on your new floor surface and you may need to contact your supplier and find out if you need to strip and seal the vinyl. If there is no coating on them you will need to have them sealed immediately in order to protect them from damage due to regular daily wear and tear.
Have you just laid new vinyl that has a small amount of sealer on it ?
Your new vinyl when purchased may have a small amount of sealer on it; this is to make it look shiny and new when first laid and to also protect it from getting dirty or damaged during transit and storage. Once the vinyl is laid on your floor it will not take long, despite regular sweeping and mopping, for the shine that was on your floor to disappear. This occurs as there is normally only one or two coats of sealer on the surface which with daily foot traffic would soon be “sanded” away after a couple of months of use. In this instance your will need to have your floor either stripped and sealed immediately after laying or within a couple of weeks/months of laying, depending on the degree of use the floor gets.
Has your vinyl floor been previously stripped and sealed and it has now lost its “luster” and looks dull and is hard to clean ?
If this is you then you need to have your vinyl re-stripped and sealed, in order to protect the vinyl again and to also bring it back up to life. Just having the floor stripped and sealed once is not enough. Stripping and sealing needs to be done at regular intervals in order to maintain the protection of the floor surface, as foot traffic will slowly “sand” away the sealer on the floor and the longer you leave it the more sealer will be removed and before long you are left with no sealer on the floor and then the vinyl is suffering damage which if left too long may become un-repairable.
How often do I need to have my floor stripped and sealed ?
This is a very difficult question to answer, as it all depends on several factors
- The amount of use the floor gets, what goes across the floors (ie trolleys etc)
- How often it is cleaned (swept/vacuumed/mopped) and what it is cleaned with. Some brooms have quite abrasive bristles on them, which can cause damage to the floor. Also some chemicals will eat away the sealer, so it is very important that you use a PH neutral floor cleaner on your sealed floors and that the chemical dilution rates are correct. Even a PH neutral floor cleaner will become alkaline if not diluted correctly, which will eat away at the floor sealer.
- How many coats of sealer were laid on the floor the last time it was sealed.
- The quality of the sealer used to seal the floor.
- If the correct technique was used to seal the floor last time.