Polyurethane Floor Finish: How is it Different than Wax Finish ?

The floors of a facility are under constant scrutiny by those who walk on them. Their shine can make a facility feel fresh, clean, and new. Unfortunately, their upkeep can be costly, time-consuming and potentially harmful for the environment too! For these reasons, choosing the type of floor finish to use in your facility is no easy task. Let’s look into just a few differences between two of the major floor finish options.

Wax Floor Finish

VCT_-_Wax.jpg   Wax is the most commonly used floor finish type for hard surface floors. Wax finish is a shiny coating that can be applied in multiple coats to any hard surface floor. Unfortunately, wax is a non-durable floor finish, which means it’s not easy to keep up with. Wax floors need to be completely stripped and refinished once per year, scrubbed and reapplied with wax once every three or four months, and buffed or burnished once every week or so. This means that many hours must be invested into your floors, should you choose a wax finish.  The costs really add up!

Environmentally speaking this type of floor finish is not exactly sustainable either. According to the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive, the average building uses more than 2,000 pounds of chemical product for finishing, stripping and cleaning every 100,000 square feet of hard-surface floors each year. Of that amount, approximately 19 percent is considered to be hazardous material that is harmful to people and the environment. In most cases, all of that product is stripped from the floors and discarded down the drain.

In the short term, a wax floor finish can be a lower cost option, because the cost to apply, and the cost of the product is fairly inexpensive, but over time, the expenses can be high due to the required maintenance and frequency of reapplication.

Polyurethane Floor FinishPolyurethane Floor Finish

                Polyurethane differs from wax finish in a number of ways. Firstly, it is far easier to maintain. A polyurethane coat can last anywhere from 18 months to as many as 5 years or more, depending on the traffic of the floor area. For this reason, the same maintenance is simply not required. Like any floors, they will still need to be swept and mopped to keep them clean, but the near constant buffing and burnishing is completely eliminated. The process (if switching from a wax floor finish) includes an initial wax stripping, and then the application of a single coat of polyurethane fllor finish.   Beyond routine cleaning,  nothing needs to be done to the floor finish for 18 monhs or more.The reapplication process includes a minor scrub of the floor, and then a coat of polyurethane applied again.

Polyurethane floor finish eliminates all the chemical waste associated with stripping floors, dramatically reduces the water needed to maintain the floor finish,  reduces VOC emissions to the air and lowers power consumption.  Oh and it also costs much less to maintain.

To learn more about the environmental benefits of polyurethane floor finish, click to visit our Sustainability page.

If you’re interested in learning more about how a polyurethane finish can help your facility, hit the blue link below!