5 Floor Care Planning Tips for K-12 Facilities

Make floors a summertime priority with your federal relief dollars

Floor Care Planning

School officials are working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure students and faculty work and learn in a safe and healthy environment. As the school year draws to a close, K-12 facility managers should begin to focus on summer cleanup and maintenance. One area that deserves attention is floor care.

Clean floors are crucial to school safety. Without the heavy foot traffic of students coming and going, facility managers can take advantage of summer break to shampoo carpet and strip, refurbish, wax, and burnish floors to ensure they will be spotless, slip-resistant, and hygienic before the next school year. As part of the American Rescue Act  President Joe Biden signed into law in March, K-12 public schools will receive nearly US$130 billion to support reopening and address the effects of the pandemic. With the large amount of federal dollars funneling down to local school districts, public school facility managers should reserve a portion of these funds for proper floor care.

Here are five floor care tips school facility managers should consider before summer break:

1. Do your floor care homework

An effective summer floor care program is the result of careful organization. Before summer recess begins, put together a comprehensive floor cleaning schedule detailing when you plan to tackle each area of your facility. Begin with an inspection of each floor area to determine if you will completely renovate the area (strip, finish, burnish) or only clean it (scrub and burnish). It’s best to inspect well in advance to make sure you have the required products, tools, and equipment on hand. It’s also important to become familiar with your school’s multiple surfaces and how to properly maintain and protect these areas. Using the wrong chemical, equipment, or procedure can have the reverse effect on maintaining and sustaining your floor attributes and carpet appearance. Be sure to read all manufacturer labels and consult a distributor or outside expert, if necessary.

2.Educate yourself on the latest flooring products on the market

Cleaning K-12 schools is labor-intensive. To save time, money, and labor costs, make an effort to participate in educational webinars put on by equipment manufacturers and trade associations, like ISSA. Knowledge of the latest flooring materials like luxury vinyl tile (LVT), linoleum, and rubber—as well as familiarity with equipment and tools including specialty brushes, floor pad systems, and chemicals—can extend floor finish cycles, carpet deep-cleanings, and long-term maintenance.

3. Know the latest floor care technology advances

Traditional floor maintenance methods can be very labor- and chemical-intensive. Schools are adhering to new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cleaning guidelines for coronavirus and are giving additional attention to the cleaning of high-touch surfaces as a way to prevent the spread of infection. Therefore, you should evaluate anything that can be done to reduce labor and chemical expenses on floor care. One solution is to use an orbital scrubber and specially designed pads to remove worn or dirty coatings without harsh chemicals. Daily maintenance with minimal abrasion keeps floors looking great, and adding a finish applicator versus using a traditional rayon mop can greatly reduce labor and floor care expenses.

4. Use high-performance mats in high traffic areas

To extend the life of your floors, use high-performance matting in high-traffic areas. Strategically placed, high-quality, bi-level matting captures grit, sand, and other matter that will otherwise be tracked into a building and scratch and scuff floor surfaces. Inspect your current matting for tears and holes and order replacements to arrive before the new school year. 

5. Deep-clean carpets throughout the school year

According to the 2021 CMM In-House/Facility Management Survey, carpet is the second biggest problem area in a facility, only behind restrooms. If your carpet is heavily soiled or the nap has flattened, it is long overdue for cleaning. While school is in session, schedule regular cleanings, including at least once during the summer months, for best results. Cleaning carpet only in the summer will make it difficult to effectively clean and sustain over the long term.

The summer provides a perfect opportunity for efficient and effective floor cleaning. But you need to start planning now to have the best results. With new federal funds for local school districts and the public’s heightened awareness of the importance of infection control, it’s crucial to focus on health and safety through proper floor care before the 2021-22 school year begins.

Posted On April 26, 2021

Susan Scapparone

Susan Scapparone has been in product management at Staples for 10 years and is director of product management for the Facilities category. In her day-to-day role, she leads a cross-functional team responsible for launching new chemical solutions and cleaning tools. Scapparone also played a key role introducing the Coastwide Professional™ J-Series line of paper and soap dispensers and refills for the modern restroom.


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5 Floor Care Planning Tips for K-12 Facilities
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