Floor Finishes

Floors are both functional and decorative and play an important part in the cleaning and maintenance program of any hotel. They cover a large area and are subject to a great deal of wear and tear. Clean and well-kept floors indicate the standard of cleanliness throughout the establishment. Only in rare cases is the type of flooring chosen solely for luxury.

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Common considerations while choosing a flooring are:

  • Appearance – color, design, cold, warm
  • Resistance to spills – water, grease, food, acid, etc.
  • Ease of cleaning in relation to the type and amount of soiling
  • Sound and heat insulation
  • Nature and condition of subfloor.

Hard floors are usually sealed to give a non-absorbent, semi-permanent gloss or finish which will wear off in time. A seal is applied on a clean and dry floor. Before re-sealing any remaining seal has to be stripped off. This is done with a chemical stripper, except in the case of wood and cork where sanding is done.

In order to preserve the seal, the polish should be applied to sealed flooring. Polishes are usually spirit or water-based. Spirit-based floor polishes may be paste or liquid and require buffing when dry to produce a shine. Water-based polishes are liquid and dry after application to give a shiny surface.


            In large modern buildings, the subfloor is often made of concrete, but in older and smaller buildings it consists of soft wooden boards, nailed to wooden joints.



Granolithic is a hard floor finish of graded granite chips set in cement. It is used for basement corridors, storerooms, stairways, and laundry. It is usually laid in tile form.


This is also a hard floor finish, consisting of a mixture of marble and other decorative chipping set in fine cement that can be colored. Marble is a rock (limestone) mainly found in Italy, and maybe white, black, green, or brown. When used as flooring it is laid in slabs. Marble is very expensive; terrazzo being only chips of marble is much cheaper. To prevent slipperiness self-polishing emulsions are applied. Terrazzo is used in foyers, cloakrooms, and kitchens.

Advantages of granolithic and terrazzo floorings: 

  1. Removable pre-cast slabs can be made to cover service pipes for ease of maintenance.
  2. Coven edges facilitate cleaning.
  3. Not affected by water and may have a drain incorporated.
  4. Very durable.
  5. They are vermin-proof, impervious to dry rot, and fire resistant.
  6. Cleaning is relatively easy
  7. The initial cost of granolithic is lower than terrazzo.


  1. Hard and noisy
  2. Cold in appearance
  3. Terrazzo is slippery when wet.
  4. Cracks may appear.
  5. Granolithic will chip, especially on stairs. In terrazzo, marble chipping may become loose.
  6. Acids and strong alkalis adversely affect terrazzo.

Care And Cleaning: 

  1. Clean regularly
  2. Avoid strong alkalis on terrazzo.
  3. Attend to cracks and loose chipping immediately.
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Magnesite flooring consists of the wood floor and other fillers mixed with burnt magnesite and laid in site (on the spot) or in form of small blocks. This finish is extremely porous and washing should be avoided as much as possible. It may be sealed and /or polished to prevent the penetration of water and dirt, but then it becomes very slippery.


  1. Moderately warm
  2. Good appearance
  3. Cleaning is relatively easy
  4. The initial cost is low


  1. Hard and rather noisy
  2. Little choice of colour
  3. Becomes slippery when polished
  4. Easily harmed by water, acids, alkalis, and abrasives.

Care And Cleaning: 

  1. Clean regularly
  2. Avoid frequent washing
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Magnesite Floor


This is a type of asphalt rolled onto a solid subfloor, in a hot plastic state. Conventionally found in black, red, or brown colours only, it may have other colours rolled in, or the surface may be painted. It is used mainly in bathrooms to protect the floor from dampness.


  1. Coven edges facilitate cleaning
  2. Not affected by water and may have a drain incorporated.
  3. Very durable.
  4. It is vermin-proof and impervious to dry rot.
  5. The initial cost is low.
  6. Non-slippery.


  1. Poor appearance
  2. Dents with heavyweight
  3. Softens to heat
  4. Harmed by spirits, oils, and acids.

Care And Cleaning: 

  1. Clean regularly
  2. Use special floor paint to restore colour whenever necessary.
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Bitumastic floor

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramics are clayware and its floor tiles are available in a variety of qualities, colour, and sizes. Tiles with a particularly hard glaze are used as more decorative floorings. A wide range of colours is available to harmonize with wall tiles. Tessellated tiles are small ceramic tiles often used as mosaic, giving highly decorative floor.


  1. Removable pre-cast slabs can be made to cover service pipes for ease of maintenance.
  2. Coven edges facilitate cleaning.
  3. They are not affected by water and may have a drain incorporated.
  4. Available in many qualities, colours, and sizes.
  5. Ridged and abrasive surfaced tiles can be used for a less slippery floor.
  6. Very durable. One loose tile may be replaced or reset.
  7. Not affected by acids, alkalis, or grease.
  8. They are vermin-proof, impervious to dry rot, and fire resistant.
  9. Cleaning is very easy.


  1. Hard and noisy
  2. Cold in appearance
  3. Slippery when wet or greasy.
  4. Under heavyweight, they crack or break easily
  5. Marks are difficult to remove
  6. The initial cost is average.

Care and cleaning: 

  1. Clean regularly
  2. Attend to loose and broken tiles.
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Ceramic Tiles floor


Wood finishes of good quality are among the most beautiful flooring, provided the variety of wood and size of the unit are chosen for effect. As floorings are to be laid bare and are subject to tremendous wear and tear, only hardwood must be used.

Strip Wood Flooring

A strip wood flooring consists of lengths of narrow strips (under 4” wide) of hardwood of good appearance. E.g. Maple. The boards are fixed to joists or to timber insets in concrete. This construction together with the length of strips gives the floor its resilience properties and makes it suitable for dance floors. A sprung floor has springs under the joists to increase resilience.

Wood Block Flooring

A woodblock flooring consists of rectangular blocks (e.g. 9”x3” or 12”x2”) laid with an adhesive on a level concrete base. Blocks are generally laid to form a pattern. The wood used is generally oak, teak, jarrah, miss and, etc. When used in linen rooms, storerooms, or staff halls, it is chosen for its durability and insulation rather than for its appearance.

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Wood floor

Parquet Flooring

In appearance, parquet flooring resembles wood block flooring. It also consists of rectangular pieces of wood but the blocks are much thinner (less than 3/8” in thickness) and are pinned and glued to a wooden subfloor, often in a herringbone pattern. It is used in foyers and lounges in conjunction with rugs. Cheaper parquet flooring may only have a veneer of good quality wood on the surface and thus form a much less hardwearing surface.

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Parquet Flooring

Wood Mosaics

Wood mosaics are generally made up of panels (18”sq formed of four ½” squares in basket pattern). It is backed with felt or aluminum. It is laid directly on concrete with an adhesive or as an overlay on an existing floor.


  1. Available in varying colors and grains
  2. Give a good appearance when used in strips or parquet.
  3. Hardwearing and does not require frequent repairs.
  4. The surface can be sanded and fresh surface exposed.
  5. Very good as a heat insulator.


  1. Noisy
  2. Inflammable and susceptible to dry rot.
  3. Splinters if a heavy item is dragged on it
  4. If not sealed, they are absorbent and cleaning can become laborious and expensive
  5. The initial cost is high

Care And Cleaning: 

  1. Clean regularly and polish with wax polish.
  2. Attend to loose blocks and splinters.
  3. Resurface by sanding when necessary
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Wood Mosaics Floor


Thermoplastic floor finish

Thermoplastic floor tiles are made from a variety of  asphalt binders with inert fillers and pigments. The tiles are usually 9”square, and are laid on a clean, smooth, rigid surface, set as closely together as possible with the help of an adhesive. They are laid in a warm pliable state (thermoplastic) but harden on cooling and may be carried up to the wall to form a small coven skirting. They are polished with water-based polish and are used in bathrooms, cloakrooms, corridors, offices, etc.


  1. Available in a variety of colors.
  2. Very durable.
  3. Easy cleaning.


  1. Hard and hence noisy.
  2. Cold in appearance.
  3. Slippery when wet.
  4. Easily harmed by spirits, grease, and coarse abrasives.
  5. Dent with heavyweights and soften with heat.
  6. Scratches occur with grit and sharp edges.
  7. Gets badly marked, especially with rubber heels.

Care And Cleaning: 

  1. Clean regularly.
  2. Use water-based polish, not spirit-based ones.
  3. Replace loose or broken tiles as soon as possible.
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Thermoplastic Floor


They are available in two main types.

Vinyl asbestos, which is obtained only in tile form, is slightly flexible and is manufactured from PVC or similar synthetic resins, inert fillers including short fiber asbestos, and pigments. It is available in a wide range of colours and the tiles can be stuck to a solid subfloor with a suitable adhesive.

A flexible form is based on PVC or similar synthetic resins, inert fillers, pigments, and plasticizers. It is available in tiles, or sheet form when it is sometimes mounted on canvas or other suitable backing material. There is coven skirting available and the sheet material can be used as a protective skirting.

Both types may be used in bathrooms, cloakrooms, canteens, offices, etc.


  1. Relatively non-slip.
  2. Have great resistance to wear and tear, especially the flexible type.
  3. Generally grease and oil resistant.
  4. Resistant to acids and alkalis.
  5. More resistant to point load than thermoplastic tiles.
  6. Not easily scratched.
  7. Can be easily washed and polished.
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Cleaning agent



Daily maintenance

Periodic care

Epoxy, heavy-duty

Damp mopping

Not required


Sweep and dampen or scrub

Does not require sealing

Cement or concrete

Detergents or neutral soap

Not required



Scrub on a regular basis


Liquid solvent

Solvent-based wax or polish

Avoid water

Dust mop, heavy powered machine buff, damp mop only if necessary

Buff with number 0 steel wool or rebuff with nylon pad spot. Clean with dilute detergent


Non-alkaline synthetic detergent

Can be waxed, avoid build-up

Avoid alkaline or acid cleaner. Soap will not stain

Sweep or dust mop. Use non-oily compound

Buff with synthetic or fiber(not steel wool). If worn grind down and reseal


Soap or detergent (after sealing)


Avoid excess water


Vinyl asbestos

Soap or detergent

Emulsions or resinous or polymeric

Avoid abrasives

Dry mop with non-oily mop or sweep, damp mop with dilute syndet

Buff to remove marks, strip to remove buildup(1-6times/yr), keep sufficient wax on the floor


Dilute solutions of neutral or synthetic detergent

Buffable polish

Avoid heat and cold

Sweep and dry mop, damp mop with a dilute, neutral cleaner, buff to remove marks

Touch up with water-based polish. Strip, rinse, and polish as in the new installation


Synthetic detergent

Wax with polymer type water emulsion

Consult manufacturer, avoid grease and oil

Sweep or dry mop with a treated mop that leaves no oil. Damp-mop with dilute syndet

Spot clean at heavy traffic, use safe-for-rubber de-waxed and repeat initial care

Quarry tile and ceramic


Water emulsion polish or wax with non-slip

Avoid abrasives

Sweep or dust mop, damp mop



Neutral soap or syndet

Water emulsion and solvent-based wax

Avoid excess water and wax in seams. Avoid ammonia, alkaline, and acid cleaners

Sweep with chemically treated non-oily mops, damp mop

Scrub lightly and repeat initial care. Do not remove polish. Apply polymeric coating. Strip 1 or 2 times in a yr.

Marble or brick slate


Wax or polymer

Stains, avoid excess water


Polish by buffing if sealed.

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Floor Caring

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