Veteran companies team up on floor polishing job.
Located in central Minnesota, The College of Saint Benedict (CSB) and Saint John’s University are nationally leading liberal arts colleges whose unique partnership provides students with an excellent and engaging experience. Approximately 4,000 students from the two colleges share courses and have access to the resources of both campuses.
Henrita Academic Building is located at the heart of the CSB campus, and with 50,000 square feet of floor space it’s among the largest buildings on campus. The building was built in 1961 and is home to classrooms, offices and labs. Each day, students from both schools and professors throng the building.
During a recent renovation, the building’s high-traffic concrete terrazzo floor was beautifully polished to a high gloss shine by a team from Pro Maintenance. Since 1978, Hutchinson, Minn.-based Pro Maintenance has worked to provide its customers with ideal flooring solutions and an improved work environment in the education, industrial and commercial markets.
Clean, Glossy Look
“The floor was polished about 15 years ago,” says CSB Facility Director Larry Christen. “With the building renovation, I wanted the floors refinished to a nice, honed shine. Now the floor has a clean, glossy look – almost like it’s wet. Previously on a scale of 1 to 10, the shine was a 2 or 3. Now the shine is a 9 or 10.”
The last time the floor was polished, the crew stripped off the wax and sealer, sprayed it with Never Rust floor finish, burnished it and applied a sealer. Over time, the finish looked dull and didn’t “pop” the way Christen hoped it would. Through the years, it was periodically stripped, sealed and waxed.
Several companies were invited to bid on the floor polishing job, including Pro Maintenance, which polished a 10-foot x 10-foot test strip to show what it could do. Christen knew Pro Maintenance had a wealth of experience polishing floors and thought the sample strip looked great. Ultimately, Pro Maintenance and its supplier, SASE Company, based in Knoxville, Tenn., won the bid.
“Our biggest concern was causing damage to the floor during the polishing process,” says SASE Sales and Technical Support Chase Abrahamson. “We worked with Pro Maintenance to put together a diamond grinding process to remove wax and dirt without putting deep scratches into the floor using a higher grit.”
The process involved assessing the floor’s present condition and determining where they wanted to end up to meet their customer’s need. This involved not being too aggressive with the first step and removing any scratches before the final polish.
“Not many companies polish terrazzo due to the variables. On this job, old carpet adhesive residue and not knowing how the older materials in the floor would react were challenges,” says Pro Maintenance Vice President Scott Perkins. “We worked with SASE to ensure an excellent result.”
Reducing Chemical Strippers
Abrahamson is a firm believer in making sure crews don’t take any short cuts or miss any steps along the way, otherwise the process needs to be repeated.
According to Abrahamson, a floor polishing team would typically stop at 200 grit, but for this job the Pro Maintenance team used a 3,000 grit polish and breathable sealer. Unlike wax, which isn’t UV stable and looks darker over time, the sealer is designed to slowly wear off, eliminating the need to use a chemical stripper to remove it.
“It has always been my goal to use less chemical strippers/sealers,” says Christen. “Maintenance has improved a lot over the years and it’s getting to a point where floors wear well and it’s easy to maintain a nice, clean, shiny look with hot water and a floor scrubber – and virtually no chemical strippers. We also save the time and labor we used to spend stripping floors.”
In addition to improving the health and safety of his maintenance crews by reducing the use of chemical strippers, Christen notes that using strippers requires care as overspray removes the finish from doors and other woodwork.
Christen’s expectation for the floor was really high, and he was very happy with the Pro Maintenance team and result they delivered.
“The result is fantastic and I love the look of the
floor. Lots of professors and students have told us the floor looks great, and they can see the difference,” adds Christen. “The floor looks wet and really pops. When they discover the floor isn’t waxed, they’re really surprised.”
Christen is happy his maintenance team doesn’t need to strip the floor, just buff or scrub it occasionally. He strongly believes that the less chemical stripper used in his buildings, the better.
He also appreciates how Pro Maintenance hand-ground the edges to match the level of the more heavily trafficked central spaces. Says Christen, “Hand grinding takes time but Pro Maintenance knew exactly what they were doing. They didn’t have to redo anything.”
For his part, Abrahamson is pleased to be a trusted supplier to Pro Maintenance, and help provide the best products and process to ensure a great result. He also feels good about helping create another satisfied customer.
“We were very pleased with the final result. The floor looks amazing – like when it was first laid,” says Perkins. “Our goal is always to provide a beautiful finished product that the customer is happy with, on-time and within budget.”
“Pro Maintenance ground it down and polished it up. They were great to work with – conscientious, courteous and very professional. The job was done right in all aspects and they met our expectations,” adds Christen. “I’m glad we came across Pro Maintenance and I know they’ll be one of the companies I’ll call when we have another floor polishing project. I’d definitely recommend them.”
For more information or to discuss a project, call us at 320.587.3135 or visit www.promaintenanceinc.com