Floor Finish Solids
When looking at floor finish, there are thousands of options. What solids amount do you need? What does the amount of solids mean? The explanations begin at the floor level.
Before you begin finishing vinyl composite tile (VCT), terrazzo or rubber floors, the first thing you need to understand is that floors are porous. Under a microscope, these types of flooring are not smooth. In the case of VCT, pores are formed during the manufacturing process. Rubber and terrazzo, pores are left when the floor is poured. As I talked about last week, the finish fills in these pores to eliminate dirt from getting trapped. When the surface is smooth, the dirt can easily be removed. Light can also reflect back to your eye, which makes the floor shine.
The material that is left on the floor after finish or coating is applied and dries, is what we refer to as solids. The polymers or plastic that seal up the pores of the floor, form a secondary surface that can be cleaned, repaired and replaced easier than the actual surface of the floor.
The understanding of these solids is very important to maintaining a clean, attractive floor. The amount of solids, as stated, refers to the total percentage of polymers in a gallon of coating. A typical water based floor finish is between 18 and 22% solids but can be 25% or higher. The remainder of the total refers to the chemicals used to keep the solids in a liquid state, so that they can be effectively applied to the floor.
As the percentage of solids increase, so does the thickness of the liquid. If a finish has a 25% solids, it will level slower than an 18% finish. Since it would level slower, you would have a greater chance of it drying before it is level. This would possibly leave mop swirls and pour lines. The upside to higher solids is a thicker layer of coating to protect the floor and require fewer coats.
Every finish and floor can be different. Always read the manufactures recommendations. Knowing some of the basics can help you experiment with different finishes and find a product that meets your needs.
In my next post, I will address burnishing and why, if done correctly, it can allow your floors to go for years without stripping.
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