environment. For example, a 450 oil needs eight hours, a 350 oil needs 24 hours and a 275 oil needs 36 hours under good environmental conditions.

After applying an oil-based finish, floors are usually ready to open for athletic use in 72 hours, but most facilities wait five days because of the longer dry times. There is no light duty window for these finishes and the total cure time is two to three weeks.

In most circumstances, waterborne finishes require three to four hours to dry, and are ready for light activity in 24 hours and ready for play in 48. There are few exceptions to this and extreme environmental circumstances would only affect the dry time, not the play time. The total cure time is always one week.

Although waterborne finishes have a slightly higher purchase price, they provide long term savings. Not only are water-finished floors usable sooner, but water doesn’t require a full sanding at the same intervals as oil does. Water also has a lower environmental impact on facilities and air quality, and those applying the finish are working with a less toxic product.

Finally, waterborne products won’t discolour floors. With oil-based finishes, there is a risk that white lines in the floor design will turn yellow or blue lines will become green.

TIME TO SHINE Many communities use gymnasiums year-round for a wide variety of events. Thus, floor finishes need to be resilient, scratch resistant and applied in a timely manner. For many years, oil-based finishes were the go-to product for protecting floors because they were affordable and durable.

However, in recent years, many facilities have transitioned to waterborne finishes. The market now has top-of-the- line catalysed floor finishes that far surpass oil-based polyurethanes. These finishes are more eco-friendly, durable and convenient because they are waterborne, emit no toxic vapor, and dry fast. By understanding the differences between oil-based and waterborne finishes, floor finish myths and keys to success, facility managers can make a more informed decision about the right type of product for their wood floors. 52 | FLOORCARE & MAINTENANCE

WITH WATERBORNE FINISHES To achieve the desired look with waterborne finishes, consider the following:

• Abrade the existing oil-based finish: Before applying a waterborne finish, abrade the existing oil-based finish. This will ensure the waterborne finish adheres to the floor properly. Look for a waterborne finish that eliminates the need for wet systems during the abrasion process to further simplify this preparation step.

• Seek out a finish with a quality guarantee: The product should have a claim that it will adhere to the floor and not wear through for a specified time period, such as a minimum of one year. Ideally, the product should have testing claims to demonstrate its resistance to various types of contaminants that might be spilled in a gymnasium, such as soda, coffee and gum. This reassures facilities that floors can easily be repaired back to their usual quality level.

• Use the right tools: A lightweight T-bar rather than a heavyweight one should be used to apply a waterborne finish. Then, maintain the finish over time with dry microfibre to remove dust and other particles and wet microfiber to clean floors. Machines, including robotic models, can further simplify floorcare for employees.

• Select the right cleaning products: Use a product specifically designed for wood floor cleaning. The product should leave zero residue behind, as soils tracked onto the floors could stick to residues, and residues also make floors slippery. For the winter months, use a winter wood floor cleaner to help neutralise salts and other contaminants from ice melting products. Additionally, avoid putting treatments on dust mops, as these typically contain oils that can be transferred to floors. Additionally, avoid putting treatments on dust mops, as these typically contain oils that can be transferred to floors.

• Implement a consistent cleaning regimen: Clean floors every day to extend their lifespan and reduce maintenance and replacement costs down the line.

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