Floor Care Challenges in Schools
In our five-week floor care blog series, we’re taking a closer look at key challenges faced by educational facilities, which frequently install and must maintain a variety of different substrates, like wood, terrazzo and carpet.
Keeping school floors protected throughout their lifetime can pose a real challenge to educational facilities. Each day, school floors, including tile, carpet and wood, must deal with a constant barrage of shoes, wheels, desks and chairs and harmful contaminants. These stresses can quickly cause wear and premature damage without a proper floor care maintenance routine in place. Yet, school administrators expect a variety of floor surfaces to hold up over time and withstand the impact of day-to-day school activities.
Some of the major challenges faced by facility maintenance teams include:
- Cost. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, schools in many districts have faced continuous budget cuts since the 2008 recession with no sign of funding returning. As floorcare directly ties into a school’s budget, this is often an area where administrators feel they can make cuts. However, investing in maintenance equipment and floor care chemicals is critical. By continually maintaining floors with quality products and tools, schools will save money over the long term by avoiding the immense costs and downtime associated with floor replacement.
- Labor shortage. School faculty jobs are down by 135,000 compared to 2008. As many schools struggle to fill facility maintenance positions, cleaning and maintenance product quality and performance need to be top-notch to ensure current ‘skeleton crews’ have the most effective and efficient products to maintain a variety of floor surfaces throughout their facilities. Schools must invest in reliable and fast acting solutions that cut down on the time required to clean floors.
- Student and faculty safety. Proper cleaning and maintenance is not only essential for the life and longevity of the floor itself, but also for the health and safety of students and faculty. Poorly maintained and improperly cleaned floors expose students and faculty to the possibility of slip and fall accidents that are otherwise preventable through proper care. In addition to regular cleaning of floors, facility mangers must also maintain floor coverings like mats at building entrances and rugs in offices and classrooms.
- Sustainability. As air quality continues to decline on a global scale, maintaining indoor air quality is essential for the health of both students and staff that spend eight or more hours a day inside school buildings. It is vital that schools purchase floor care products that do not negatively impact indoor air quality both during and after usage.
While some flooring materials available today may be marketed as “no maintenance,” it is imperative to understand that every type of flooring material requires regular maintenance to ensure longevity. The ideal floor care recipe is a combination of daily cleaning and scheduled restorative cleaning. Therefore, it’s important to find the right products, machines and tools that promote efficiency, cost savings and cleaning consistency.
This blog post is the first in an educational series about caring for different types of floor substrates. In the coming weeks, we will provide an in-depth look at wood, terrazzo, vinyl composition tile and carpet flooring to highlight the unique features, challenges and solutions for these substrates.
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