What is Floor Finish?

Aug 17 07:48 2009 Gen Wright Print This Article

A clean, high gloss floor is crucial to creating a clean appearance in any facility.

There have been many breakthroughs in floor finish technology over the last few years from "green" zinc free polymers all the way to the versatile ultra compatible high gloss floor finishes. As the floor care technology has increased,Guest Posting so has floor finish chemistry. Here is a basic looks at the ingredients of floor finish:

Acrylic polymers

• Make up the largest part of the solid matter in the floor finish. The polymer, which is a type of plastic, gives the floor finish its strength, durability and shine. The polymer is dispersed in water forming a polymer emulsion.

Wax Emulsion

• Added to change the softness or glossiness of the finish. Synthetic waxes have replaced natural waxes in finishes to improve the finishes' durability, gloss and repairability.


• Ensure the finish doesn't crack after it has set. All resilient floors containing Polyvinyl Chloride (VCT) contain this flexing agent. It is important to be aware that for the first six months to a year after a new vinyl floor is laid, the plasticizer has a tendency to migrate to the surface. This is known as plasticizer migration. This migration can penetrate into a floor making soft and tacky. This can result in scuffing and gluing down of furniture. A tile laid in a warehouse for a considerable length of time is less apt to experience this problem than a tile fresh from the factory.

Alkali-soluble Resins

• Gives the finish its leveling properties. The resins also make stripping the floor easier when it's time to remove the finish.


• Surface-active agents that help the finish disperse across a floor. Surfactants can also produce bubbles in the film, creating craters, or "fish eyes". To overcome this issue, a foam suppressant is added.

Other Additives

• Preservatives help keep the finish stable. Dyes, fragrances and other compounds are added to improve the appearance, stability or slip resistance of the floor finish. There are thousands of possible additives, each one changing the properties of the finish.

Floor finish coats can dry in anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours, but in humid areas, it may take a few days for the finish to fully cure. Once the floor has cured, the floor can withstand cleaners, spills, 175-RPM buffers or 1500+ RPM burnishers, depending on the characteristics of the finish. However, over time, the floor will need to be scrub and recoated or stripped and refinished. Foot and other traffic can abrade the finish. For example, sand, dirt and other soils slowly degrade the finish. Even if the finish doesn't wear away, several problems can alter its appearance. Oily soils need to be cleaned right away with a neutral floor cleaner, or they can be absorbed into the finish, while dirt left on the floor when recoating can give the finish a yellow appearance.

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