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Hard Floor Stripping

Thinking I may expand my business and offer to do hard floor stripping. Some of my commercial customers have these floors - mostly dentist offices. After reading some comments on other bb's, it sounds like most that do this work don't like it. Anyone doing floor stipping along with carpet cleaning? Any thoughts regarding pros and cons?


Re: Hard Floor Stripping

Brian, I'll respond to your post similarly to how I
responded to your e-mail. Hard floor service, which
usually means stripping off the old (usually acrylic)
finish, then applying a new finish, is something of an
acquired taste. I turned down requests to remove
built-up finishes from various types of tiles for a
long time. Finally agreed to try on (on a fixed $75
per hour rate) at a customer's house. A 30-year old
terra cotta tile floor had become unsightly due to
layers and patches of what I guess was acrylic sealer
applied to it over the years.

I used my Challenger machine, the Challenger tile &
grout brush, and a coarse black scrubbing pad. My
first effort was only partially successful. I sprayed
on a Home Depot tile stripping product, and let it sit
(dwell) for between 30 & 60 minutes. I then scrubbed
away at it with the Challenger brush. Limited removal
of build-up. Only when I got down on my hands & knees
with my 300 degree steam vapor machine and a tiny brush attachment, was I able to fully remove all the
built up sealer. Grunt work!!!

On my following visit I brought with me an industrial
strength floor stripper, the house brand from my local janitorial supply company. This product worked
much better, softening up the build-up which then
could be about 98% removed with the Challenger scrubber and a black pad (they seemed to work about
equally well, although the brush is better able to
get down into the grout lines than the pad.)
I only had to get down on my hands& knees to get the edges, where the machine isn't quite as effective.
While I used the steam vapor machine here, the remaining sealer seemed to be softened up enough to
scrub off with any good brush or coarse pad. All told, I spent about 2 hours on the first visit, and 5
on the second. So the job was worth about $500.
Although I won't measure the area until I go back there next week to do a wood floor job, I'd say the
whole job might have been 150 s.f., so if I were to
do another similar job, I might charge $3 -$3.50 per
sq. ft.

P.S. In reviewing my comments above, I realize I
forget to mention the role of cotton pads. I used
damp 2-sided (Argo brand) cotton pads under my
Challenger (no glider) to clean up all the mess.
A portable extractor might have been used also for
this part of the job.