When you first start out doing floor work, you will need a base set of supplies, tools and other miscellaneous items.
Over time you will probably collect some more specialty type supplies, things that will make your life easier and the job go faster.
For now however let’s stick to a basic set plus a few inexpensive things that are nice to have. What I do want to mention before you look at this list and start buying all this stuff, is that generally speaking you DO NOT want to buy supplies until you land your first paying customer.
Why spend tons of money on supplies when that money could be better spent trying to get people to hire you? With that said, if you have plenty of spare cash, then there is nothing inherently wrong with it, but if you are on the “budget plan”, then wait until someone hires you THEN go on a buying spree.
If you do plan on waiting to buy, just make sure you have your vendors all lined up so you buy what you need fast. My point is just BE PREPARED. With all that out of the way… here is my list for you.
Equipment needed to strip & wax floors
1 rotary floor machine with clutch plate. This is the machine that you’ll run over the floor with the proper floor pad to agitate the stripper solution.
1 wet / dry vacuum and hose with proper attachments. Once you complete the stripping process with the floor machine you need to suck up excess water off the floor.
1 Air mover. This is just a glorified fan that is designed to move some air across the floor to help in the drying process. On larger jobs, you would want to have several all working at once to get the job done a little faster.
2 (or more) buckets with wringer. One will be used for the stripping solution and one for the rinse water. It’s a good idea to have a few extra in reserve, especially for larger jobs.
Generally I bring 4 or 5 to a job, as it helps move the process along faster (you get to dedicate certain buckets for specific tasks (ie: one for stripper, one for rinse water, one for sealer, one for finish etc…).
2 (or more) Mop handles. These will be used with the buckets above. Having a few extra is a good idea here as well.
Mop heads (regular). These will be used for rinsing the floor.
Mop heads (finish). These will be used for applying the floor finish.
Stripping Pad for floor machine. This is the actual pad that sits on the bottom of the clutch plate. They come in various colors, such as black, blue, green, red among others. Black pads are used quite often for stripping.
1 Dust mop. You’ll need one of these to sweep the floor thoroughly before ever getting started.
1 broom with dustpan. Doesn’t hurt to have a broom and dustpan to pick up what the dust mop collects.
3 – 5 wet floor signs. You need to be extremely cautious when performing this type work. Many times people may try to just walk around while you’ll performing the work, which is dangerous because the floor can be very slippery, especially when the stripper is still on the floor.
1 Box latex gloves. It’s a good idea to have some gloves on hand. While you may not mind getting your hands dirty, your staff may not feel the same. Once you get a bunch of people working for you, it’s best to purchase different size glove (small, medium and large), as they will want to wear a pair that actually fits them.
2 Sets of goggles. Eye protection is mandatory for those who work near or handle the various cleaning agents. Have at least one set for each employee on the job, then stay on top of them to make sure they wear them.
1 Can baseboard stripper. This is a spray can (aerosol product) that is commonly used to clean up baseboards that are covered with wax. You may or may not need it on every job but it’s good to have a few on hand just in case.
1 Box can liners. You’ll use these to line the buckets you put the sealer and wax in. Doing so will speed up the clean up process after you finish the job. I would use 39 gallon liners, as they will fit over the bucket easily.
2 Putty knives (1 wide & 1 slim edge). These are nice to have as they allow you to scrape off excess wax from areas that the machine can’t reach.
1 Roll masking tape. This is always nice to have for when you need to protect carpeting that may connect to the floor you are about to strip. You would use this tape in conjunction with the terry cloths towels below.
1 Pack white terry cloth towels. Perfect for general clean up and for protecting any carpeting from overspill that may occur during the stripping process.
Doodlebug Pad and holder (Optional). This is a nifty little tool that makes it easier to remove any wax build up that collects on the baseboards.
1 Floor dolly (optional). This is more of an option, but I put it in here as it’s something that really comes in handy if you are required to move heavy objects. Having at least one is a good idea just in case.
1 Set floor gliders (optional). These are useful for a variety of situations you may face. They’re economical plus they don’t take up a lot of space in your vehicle.
Extension cord (optional). It never hurts to have one of these handy. Sometimes there is a lack of outlets at the job site meaning you need a long extension cord. This is a detail (lack of outlets) that can be easily missed during the walk through, so it’s a good idea to have one handy.
Floor Stripper. This is the actual solution that is used to remove the old wax off the floor. Check manufacturers recommendation for how much you’ll need for each job. Keep in mind that having a little too much is always better than having too little. ZEP is a brand I regularly use.
Floor sealer. This product helps fill in the pores in the tiles and will help protect the tile from some stains. By using a sealer you’ll use less finish as the sealer fills in the pores in the tile better than the finish will.
For instance: Two coats of sealer and two coats of finish will perform much better than four coats of finish all by itself. Check manufacturers recommendation for how much you’ll need for each job. Once again, ZEP is a brand I use regularly.
Floor finish (wax). This product delivers a highly durable shine that resists scuffs and heel marks. Most companies also make it formulated to prevent slipping. Check manufacturers recommendation for how much you’ll need for each job.
This list of products should be sufficient to get you up and running stripping and waxing floors, not to mention other related tasks, such as performing a scrub and wax for example. It’s a great service to offer because not every cleaning company provides it and it can give you another profit center for your business.
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