For the last 18 years, I’ve been answering the multitude of questions for do-it-your-selfers and…
Fillmore, California is located about 30 miles north of Los Angeles in a beautiful and verdant valley. As you approach the city you are driving through orange groves, vineyards and vegetable farms. The Fillmore Unified School District is responsible for all 7 educational facilities. As each Christmas or summer break approaches, Gama Aguilar, head of maintenance services for the school district, begins to gear up for the “stripping and waxing” regimen that consumes these breaks every year. Typically the most frustrating aspect of this effort is that within two weeks of the students return to school the floors look as if they had not been waxed at all. At the same time it is very critical part of the work that has to be done. Clean floors provide a safer and healthier environment for students. They also contribute to the overall appearance of the facilities. The only issue is that it is very difficult to maintain the appearance of waxed vinyl (VCT) floors without a great deal of day to day cleaning, regular burnishing and re-waxing of the surface. To say the least these efforts require manpower, supplies and money. In California today funding is in short supply putting a great deal of pressure on the maintenance teams. Making effective use of manpower on maintenance issues that will have the biggest impact becomes very important. Stripping, waxing and then not being able to maintain the look of the floors is an ongoing frustration for the maintenance team as well as the faculty and students.
In preparation for the summer break, Gama initiated a trial using a polyurethane vinyl floor sealer (Vinyl Guard from CoverTec) that was purported to “eliminate the need for stripping and waxing”. Gama and his team applied Vinyl Guard to a hallway that was notorious for heavy traffic with lots of mud and water. The vinyl (VCT ) floor always seemed to look bad and be a mess! So Vinyl Guard vinyl floor sealer was applied to the test area area and the students were allowed to “work it out for several months”. Over the course of the next 5 months the area maintained its high gloss shine and required only a wet mop to clean. Vinyl Guard high gloss vinyl floor sealer exceeded their expectations and led Mr. Aguilar to purchase the product for application during the upcoming summer break.
Applying the Vinyl Floor Sealer
To get off to a good start CoverTec offered to train Gama and his staff on the application of Vinyl Guard. Following one day of training Gama and his staff were ready to apply the product in each of their own schools. Application of the vinyl floor sealer went very smoothly. In fact, the crews were able to apply 4000 square feet per day. The product was very easy to work with and provided sufficient working time for applying the vinyl floor sealer. During the summer break of the maintenance staff covered about half of the flooring in the school district. When school resumed in the fall, Gama was amazed! Everyone was commenting on how great the floors looked! Even Gama’s own children commented to “Dad” on the great job. The maintenance team knows how much difference it can make when students take pride in their facilities and surroundings. The maintenance crews found that daily maintenance of the floors was accomplished with a wet mop and/or an auto-scrubber. To say the least, the improvement was dramatic. For the maintenance teams the big bonus came at the Christmas break. Because the floors did not have to be stripped and waxed, this was the first Christmas break that the maintenance team could actually take vacation days and not spend the break stripping and waxing floors! Additionally with less maintenance staff time spent on the upkeep of the floors they were able to concentrate on other maintenance issues. In the current economic situation, maintaining the school facilities is an ongoing challenge. Vinyl Guard has significantly contributed to lowering both maintenance costs and manpower requirements allowing more time for other more important maintenance tasks.
The economics of the Vinyl Guard polyurethane coating, the appearance and durability of the floors and the impact on students pride in their facilities made it possible for Gama to secure funding to do the rest of the floors for the school district. During the following summer the maintenance teams applied the product (without additional training) to the remaining floors in the school district.