WHY STRIP A FLOOR BEFORE SEALING:
• So that stains and dirt in or under the old sealer or polish can be removed.
• To enable the new sealer to penetrate into and grip onto the floor.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE STARTING:
• The type of sealer or polish being removed.
• The floor type.
• The type of stripper required.
HOW TO IDENTIFY THE PREVIOUS SEALER OR POLISH:
• Waxes and “Dri-Brite” Types of Polish
These tend to be soft, easily scratched and scuffed. Waxes tend to darken with age, and because they are soft, the dirt often packs into them, especially around the edges of the room. Try to scratch the surface with a coin. If the surface scratches easily, leaving a waxy crystalline residue, it is probably a wax or polish. If a wax or "Dri-Brite" build up is very thick and has darkened with age and dirt entrapment, it is usually easier to carefully remove the top layers with scrapers rather than to use strippers. Tile Doctor Eezi Strip may then be used to get the floor, particularly vinyl, perfectly clean.
• Acrylic Emulsion Sealers
The floor may appear shiny in some patches and dull in others. There may be peeling or flaking on the surface. One can usually identify acrylic emulsion sealers by the fact that they are normally packed in plastic containers and have a "milky" appearance before they dry. If a floor previously sealed with an acrylic emulsion darkens in patches or along scratch-lines when water is poured onto it, the sealer must be stripped off before re-sealing.
These are usually not visible after application, are sold in tins and are clear like water. Certain silicones only repel water, while other silicones have the ability to repel both water and oil.
• Other Sealers
Most other sealers, especially those that are solvent-based and packed in metal tins, may yellow from sunlight or show white, easily-scratched patches where they start to delaminate from the surface.
TYPE OF SURFACE TO BE STRIPPED:
It is very important to know what type of floor one is dealing with. A cement-based tile may look like real terracotta or quarry tile, but the two tile types are handled differently. Cement-based tiles, terrazzo, limestone, marble and other natural stones are adversely affected by any acid products such as Tile Doctor Lift Off and such products should not be used on these surfaces. Cement and ceramic tiles often have a thin, smooth layer protecting the underlying aggregate and may be damaged by too much abrasion. Care should be taken not to use too much force or rough implements when stripping these tiles. Slate may also be damaged by too much abrasion. Vinyl tiles may be damaged by solvents such as Tile Doctor Ultra Strip, so it is vital to select the right stripper.
CHECKLIST FOR STRIPPING A FLOOR:
- Suitable Tile Doctor Stripper and Cleaner
- Scrapper and scrubbing pad
- Masking tape
- Protective gloves, clothing and appropriate breathing apparatus