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By Michael A. Necela • December 6, 2018

Reducing Floor Damage from Rock Salt and Ice Melt

Winter weather in certain parts of the country can certainly alter a floor care programs results and can create the need for stripping when the winter weather is over.

Today, weather has produced excessive situations regarding snow, rain, wind, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. This all takes it toll on our floors and can change a safe condition to a unsafe condition rather quickly.

Regardless of the weather it is important to have a good cleaning program in place so that you are in control of your floors instead of your floors being in control of you. If you’re playing catch-up throughout the year then what you may encounter over the winter can kill your floors.

The first thing people see when they enter a building is the entrance, this is where they get their first impression.building-cold-footprints-749167

In the past I ran into many people that would get through winter only to strip the floor and start over in the spring. Although this is consistent in nature, it is also costly and unnecessary with the right floor care system.

1)  You want to have a good mat program in place. Speak with your distributor to discuss how much matting and the type of matting to use at the entrances. Entrance mats are like insurance and we call them Silent Custodians, because it’s like having a custodian at the door collecting dirt as it enters the building. For the winter months you especially would use mats that can absorb and hold liquid from outside.

2) You want to have a consistently scheduled cleaning system to care for the mats and the floor area around the mats. Mats may need to be cleaned several times in a day during a snow storm. It all depends on the traffic in that building. 

3) Entrance areas should have enough floor finish that creates a barrier for in-coming dirt. If floor finish is used on the entrance floor then you want 4-7 coats of floor finish for your base.

4) Many areas use a Rock Salt product or something similar. The regular cleaning products that you may use may not work against the residues that Rock Salt or equivalent can leave behind.

Most Rock Salt or Rock Salt type products can have various effects on floor finish and the tile itself.

The most common substances are Sodium Chloride and Calcium Chloride. Both are designed to melt ice. Both can have different effects on different surfaces.

Sodium Chloride can effect wood and stain carpeting.

 Calcium Chloride can leave a film that attracts dirt and can leave the floor slippery.

To combat the residues from these products check with your distributor that carries a Neutralizer that will remove these films without affecting the floor finish or floor surface (stone, wood, ceramic act, carpet, etc).

Don’t rely on home remedies such as vinegar to neutralize. Vinegar can have adverse effect on floor finish and floor surfaces. Your distributor will carry a neutralizer that measures slightly higher on the acid side (Safe for cleaning) or uses Chelation technology that suspends the residue molecules and washes them away during cleaning.

If you have a connection to the use of Rock Salt type products, don’t overuse them.  Like most things. Using more is not better it can only cause additional problems.

So is using Ice Melt or Rock Salt in your response to snow and ice necessary?  The answer is ABSOLUTELY. Ice Melt and Rock Salt are the best practices to melt snow and ice. During harsh winter seasons these 4 points will help reduce seasonal damage to beautiful floors.

1) Proper matting and cleaning of the mats and surrounding area on a scheduled basis and increased when bad weather strikes.

2) If the entrance has floor finish, be sure you have 4-7 coats on the floor.

3) Use of a Neutralizer to remove the white residue that is produced from Rock Salt and Rock Salt type products.

4) Don’t over use Rock Salt or Rock Salt type products. More is not better and can add to destroying your floor.