Winter can be a challenging time of year for floors in Southern Ontario. Melting snow, corrosive de-icers, and scratchy grit can all take their toll-wearing away at your flooring’s lustre. To combat these effects, you need to prepare yourself and your building for the colder months ahead.
Here are three actions you can take to get ready to handle this year’s winter weather and make sure your floors continue to look their best all season long:
1. Apply the Right Ice Melt in the Right Places
Although you need to apply de-icer to prevent surfaces from becoming too slippery, it’s also important to make sure it’s used properly to minimize wear-and-tear on hard floors and carpets:
Follow Manufacturer Guidelines: Information on the packaging should outline how much is needed for particular areas (2kg per 100 square metres, for example). Most manufacturers also recommend using handheld or walk-behind fertilizer spreaders depending on the size of the area, as scoops and shovels typically lead to overuse.
Use the Best Kind: Not all de-icers are alike. Some are designed to work more effectively at colder conditions like calcium chloride, which will work in temperatures as frigid as -30˚C. Other de-icers like urea don’t perform as well in ultra-low temperatures, but they are less corrosive, which makes them ideal for pet-friendly areas.
Remove Snow First: De-icers should not be used in lieu of shovels or scrapers to melt piles of snow. Instead, they should be applied after snow has been cleared (when there’s less than 3cm of it) in order to work most effectively. As often as possible, try to use a de-icer as a pre-emptive measure, applying it before ice and snow hit so it can go to work immediately.
Be sure you monitor conditions and apply de-icers on an as-needed basis to critical spots such as those around doors, where winds tend to be particularly bad, or where water often accumulates.
2. Use Matting to Protect Your Floors
Three factors you need to consider when it comes to floor mats include:
Placing Them Properly: Your mats should sit flush against the edges of your doors so they can trap moisture and soils early.
Choosing the Right Type: Some common options include scraper/recessed well matting, scraper/wiper matting, and wiper matting. In most cases, a comprehensive matting system will use two (if not three) different styles in a single area.
Pick the Correct Size: Remember the rule of 15s. At every exterior door your building has, there should be 15 feet of matting (whether five of each style, eight of scraper/recessed and seven of scraper/wiper, or another configuration).
In terms of cleaning, make sure you take care of the floor both around and under the mat. This will help to improve its grip on the floor and discourage it from shifting as people walk on it. You should let it dry out before putting it back down, keeping in mind that some kinds of matting take longer to dry than others.
Vacuum regularly (with either a wet or dry vacuum depending on the type of flooring) to remove built-up moisture, dirt, and dust.
Carry out routine maintenance like spot cleaning using neutral cleaning agents. Ensure floors, carpets, and mats are able to dry as thoroughly as possible.
Perform deep cleaning when necessary with solvent-free cleaners to get rid of troublesome marks (salt stains, grease, etc.).
Appropriate cleaning frequencies depend on building-specific factors like foot traffic and size. Some locations benefit from constant care and spot treatments throughout the day, while others can be looked after a few times per week.
Work with your professional cleaning company to determine a schedule that will be best suited to address your individual needs.