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March 15, 2021 | Blog

Commercial Floor Maintenance:
Avoiding Common Workplace Liabilities

Commercial floor maintenance is about more than just keeping your floors sparkly.
It's about preventing slip-and-fall accidents that could result in a hefty liability.

Commercial floor maintenance can be quite a challenge in today’s commercial real estate industry.

Whether you’re a building owner, developer, or manager, maintaining your facility or property is a priority – for the safety of your employees and tenants, but visitors as well.

Improperly maintained floors, especially in high-traffic areas, can create unsightly conditions and slip-and-fall hazards.

The best way to avoid this is to hire an experienced commercial floor maintenance company.

The Downside of Improper Floor Care

When you think of poor floor care it’s not just dirt or dust problems, or unsightly stains.

The thing is, improper commercial floor maintenance contributes to slip and fall accidents in the US each year.

You may have even heard of people who sued the grocery store, the retail store, or their workplace where they slipped and fell due to poor conditions or floor care.

Knowing how to keep your floors well-maintained, particularly in high-traffic areas starts with understanding the requirements or recommendations from the flooring manufacturer.

According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), over 1 million people visit Emergency Rooms annually on account of slip and fall accidents.

Their injuries range from fractures and traumatic injuries to long-term disability and in some cases, death.

The bottom line is that a dirty or slippery floor in the workplace can cost your business or commercial facility.

Reducing Slip and Fall Liability

Here are a few ways that can help you reduce the risk of slips and falls in your commercial facility or building:

Mopping immediately: 

We all have heard plenty of horror stories of people slipping on wet floors and suffering injuries.

Whether the water on the water on the floor is a result of spills, melting ice, or rain showers, addressing it right away is critical.

Slippery and wet conditions: 

Ice, snow, and standing water on sidewalks and in parking lots can contribute to the risk of slips and falls inside restaurants and retail stores, as well as on a building’s exterior.

Make sure you hire a commercial facilities cleaner to address potentially slippery areas.

Floor mats: 

Invest in good quality floor mats for areas that might become slippery during busy times, such as high traffic areas near entrances, kitchens, and bathrooms.

Floor mats will soak up any water that might enter your building from the outside and prevent slippery floors.

Signage: 

Regardless of how diligent you’re in your efforts to keep the water off the floors during inclement weather, it can be hard to keep up, especially in areas with heavy foot traffic.

So put up “wet floor” signs signaling employees and customers to be cautious when approaching.

Commercial Flooring Maintenance Mistakes

Floors of commercial facilities get an abundance of foot traffic year-round, and inadvertent damage and experience wear-and-tear from objects being pushed dragged, or dropped on them.

Properly floor care within your commercial facilities calls for more attention than a quick mopping whenever the floor looks dirty.

And just ask yourself – what kind of impression do you want to make in front of your customers or clients?

How would you feel about giving potential clients an on-site tour when your floor looks dirty, dull, or scratched?

Commercial floor maintenance is, obviously, about fostering a professional image for your place of business.

But it’s also about reducing the risk of accidents.

Here are some of the common commercial floor maintenance issues that many facilities and property managers don’t think twice about (but they definitely should!):

#1: Failing to adhere to manufacturer guidance

It’s best to hire a reputable commercial floor maintenance company that is aware of the potential hazards that come with cleaning chemicals, and employs best practices, and adheres to manufacturers’ recommendations while performing floor care work.

If you hire someone or appoint someone to clean your commercial floor, and they are not familiar with the cleaning processes, they may not read the safety warnings and notices of cleaning chemicals they’re using.

This is a sure-shot recipe for illness, injury, or worse to the cleaning crew, your workers, and your customers.

No, more is not better. Using excessive amounts of cleaning solutions or wax won’t guarantee that your floors will be deep-cleaned better or result in a shinier finish.

Any commercial cleaning company worth its salt will know how to achieve the best floor care results.

#2: Poor floor care technique

Some people have this notion that cleaning a floor is pretty straightforward: you use a soapy-water combination, maybe throw in some extra-strength cleaning chemical, and mop it up.

That’s not how it works.

There are a right way and a wrong way to clean a commercial building floor.

A knowledgeable commercial flooring maintenance and cleaning company know exactly how clean your building’s specific floor finish.

Do you have hardwood flooring? Tile? Vinyl? Something else? Only trained and skilled cleaners know exactly how specific floor types should be cleaned, leaving your floor as pristine and germ-free as possible.

Don’t just hire an unqualified, inexperienced floor care company who swear by a specific mop and cleaning solution that “works on every kind of floor”!

#3: Not prepping the floors before cleaning

Before any sealer, impregnated or waxing is applied, excess dirt, dust, and debris need to be swept or mopped to ensure that the hard surfaces are clean to properly complete the floor care process.

Time and care must be taken to ensure all industry-standard commercial floor maintenance steps are taken for the finished product to be achieved in a high-quality fashion.

#4: Lack of floor maintenance program

Not cleaning or maintaining your floors regularly means that small problems will go unnoticed and grow into bigger issues over time.

For example, stains may be harder to get rid of the longer they go unaddressed.

If a professionally trained cleaning crew from a qualified commercial floor cleaning service comes out to clean your floors regularly, they will attend to potential problem spots as soon as they (or someone else) notice them.

This will help your floors retain their appearance and durability for a long time to come.

The Best Way To Maintain Commercial Floors

Too often commercial facility or property managers underestimate the impact of their building’s flooring.

Just imagine yourself walking into high-end business premises.

Natural light glints off of marble floors that cover the entire reception area and floods the room.

Immediately, this whole presentation gives the real estate asset added reputation and marketplace appeal.

However, with unique floors comes customized cleaning and care requirements.

You do NOT want to ruin your hardwood floors by using too much water.

Or destroy your building’s stunning marble floors by using an acid-based cleaner.

If your commercial flooring is made up of hardwood, tile, VCT, or carpet, there are specific ways to clean and maintain it.

Wood

Hardwood is more delicate than tile or carpet, and thus, needs a gentler approach to cleaning.

The best way to keep your hardwood floors clean and tuned-up are to have them swept regularly with a dry mop or a broom.

If your cleaners use a mop, make sure they NEVER use a yarn or sponge mop – only microfiber mops should be used.

Yarn/sponge mops use a lot of water and can cause wood floors to warp with regular use.

Also, make sure your flooring maintenance company uses a solution that has a specific pH balanced so the wood isn’t damaged.

It is crucial to use cleaning chemicals specifically made for hardwood when you have hardwood floors.

Tile

Tile floors are typically the most resilient and durable of any flooring.

They don’t pick up stains like carpeting or warp/scratch like hardwood floors.

Unfortunately, tile grout is porous which means it can absorb stains.

If your commercial premises has tile flooring, your cleaning and flooring maintenance company should avoid using harsh chemical cleaners or bleach as it might break down the grout sealants.

And once the sealants weaken, the tile grout starts absorbing stains much faster.

The most efficient way to clean tile is using a natural grout cleaner.

Commercial cleaning companies use either of two ways to thoroughly clean tile floors:

  • Scrubbing with an automated tile floor scrubber; or
  • Mopping

It is extremely important to mop the grout floor daily or weekly, depending on the foot traffic.

And at least once every 3 or 4 months, depending on the foot traffic, tile floors should be deep cleaned with either an automated scrubber or similar sophisticated machine.

Carpet

Keeping a carpet in a commercial building is no easy feat.

Carpets collect a lot of dirt and dust from constant foot traffic, wearing down the carpet fibers over time.

If not cleaned regularly and properly, the carpet will start fraying and thinning out leading to an ugly appearance and a potential tripping hazard.

The best way to clean a carpet is by vacuuming it regularly.

Depending on your foot traffic, your building’s carpet should be vacuumed anywhere from 2-6 days every week.

If something spills on the carpet and a stain starts forming, spot cleaning must be performed as soon as possible to get rid of the stain, utilizing an appropriate cleaning agent.

And then once every 3-4 months, your carpet must be deep-cleaned or steam-cleaned to make sure it is 100% dirt- and germ-free.

Floor Maintenance Goes A Long Way

The key to keeping your commercial floors clean and safe is to create a maintenance plan based on a proactive and preventative approach.

It’s best to implement a plan right after your flooring is installed.

Generally, it doesn’t cost anything to have a commercial flooring maintenance company build a custom maintenance plan for your facility.

A good cleaning partner will also add value by tailoring your regular cleaning and maintenance processes to your organization’s budget – and how your building is actually used.

To give you an idea, at Servi-Tek Facility Solutions, we begin by sitting down with the facility manager or building owner to read the floor plan and asking a series of questions such as:

What is your cleaning and maintenance budget?

What are the maintenance procedures recommended by the manufacturer for each product in your facility?

How is each area of your business premises used?

Your maintenance plan will be created according to your answers.

For example, if the floor in a specific area of your facility comes with manufacturer’s instructions that call for weekly deep cleaning, it might be a problem for you if you have a small maintenance budget.

So, in this case, to prevent premature flooring failure and to maximize the extent of your budget, we will recommend breaking out the maintenance frequency depending on foot-traffic patterns.

Know Your Floor Maintenance Schedule

When you think of cleaning or sprucing up your commercial building, you must factor in floor maintenance.

One of the best ways to prolong the life of your commercial floors and keep your business safe from potential legal claims arising out of the slip and falls is to design a maintenance plan with a commercial facilities company.

Professionals will determine when and how preventative floor maintenance will occur in addition to basic daily or weekly cleaning.

In areas of high traffic, high visibility areas such as lobbies, floor maintenance will make a significant difference in how those who work on-site, along with visitors, view your commercial property.

Keep Your Floors Well-Maintained With Servi-Tek Facility Solutions

Your commercial property is a large investment.

Think of your employees; they don’t want to be working in a space that pays no or minimal attention to cleanliness and safety.

The bottom line is, the look of your office or property can directly affect the success of your business and tenants.

The question isn’t whether you need to take care of your flooring or not; it’s who will you trust to keep your building clean, safe, and healthy.

Servi-Tek will love to talk about your facility’s floor cleaning services and overall janitorial needs.

Call us at +1 (866) 454-6185 or leave us a message online to schedule a FREE on-site visit.

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