How do the malls/stores get their floors so shiney?

The other day at the Target store I could not help but notice the gloss on their tiles floors. Looks like just basic vinyl tile, large style, white with speckles. But man, it was as glossy as my collector car's paint.
Then at the Franklin Mills Mall in Philly, I noticed again the wood lath flooring -- again super super glossy! And non-skid too.
Where do I get this stuff? I'd love to put it down in my home!
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snipped-for-privacy@spamstop.net wrote:

contact industrial janitorial supply stores and see what they can sell you to do it to your floors.. and remember that in some stores they have a crew that comes in every night to polish up the floors............ do you??????
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Exactly!
Plus it's alot of work and machinery.
The basic trick is high-solids floor wax. It has to be put down in layers, usually 5-10 with a rag mop on a clean floor, with 4-8 hours dry time between coats. It is buffed after being cleaned daily with a buffing machine. If it looks dirty or yellow, it is stripped with ammonia and a machine with a scrubbing pad. VERY unpleasant. But you never see it because it is normally done when the store is closed at night.
HOWEVER, you can do well at home with a quality floor wax (like Halloway House) and good procedures. Use ammonia to clean all the nasty looking crap off your floor. Nasty, nasty job, but the floor will only look as good as the base. Then apply the wax, letting each layer dry completely before applying the next. Thin coats are best in quality. This is the beauty and protection for years, so don't skimp. You can walk across a dry coat to use the bathroom, but any dirt will get in the next coat.
If you can get 5-10 nice coats on, then just sponge mop and buff with a dry mop. You'll have a nice finish for a few years. Remember, a home application has alot less traffic than an industrial one, and you get mileage accordingly!
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And yes, the high shine day after day is achieved by great cleaning and mechanical buffing daily (at night when you sleep). BUT, I've achieved the same quite happily at home with good cleaning (little residue) after several coats of good wax. It's all about the quality (dirt freeness, wear-freeness) of the wax. Follow what you see and adjust accordingly. You can have a beautiful floor. Just don't expect it to be free.
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This was my first thought. Daily, even weekly for home uses, waxing and buffing will keep things shiny. But what's this obsession with gloss? I have 20-yr-old vinyl flooring in my kitchen that's *never* been waxed. True, I can't see my face (or my shoes) reflected, but it's clean and unscratched. And far from a state in which anyone would come in and say "oh, your floor's not shiny enough."
The history of waxing floors must be interesting. For wood, it's a protective coating. For old-timey linoleum, also a protection on a relatively porous surface. For modern vinyl sheets and tiles; gilding the lily. I've done time removing "waxy yellow buildup," and have concluded that a clean, unwaxed, unbuffed surface is a *lot* easier to maintain.
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On Wed, 22 Oct 2003 00:21:42 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@spamstop.net wrote:

If it's like my local Target, it's from all the mothers dragging their screaming children down the aisles on their butts...
Jeff
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In the service (Army) we used a Simonize paste wax and then used a buffer machine, followed by an old army blanket as a buffer pad and boy what a shine, we shined it so much that the officers stayed out of our room. Several layers were necessary over a period of days prior to the inspection but it was well worth it!
--
Lee


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Get the yellow pages out and look under "Janitorial" for a janitorial supply store. Call the various stores and ask if they have a 25% metal acrylic floor finish. You will need this and a finishing mop (very fine, lint-free mophead) or a sponge mop. Either way, you will need some method of wringing the excess finish out of the mop because, as stated in other replies, you want to apply many thin layers, not one thick layer.
Before you apply it, you will need to make SURE that you have any dirt, old wax, etc. off the floor. If you can get the floor spotless, then when you wax over it it will shine beautifully. I do this for some of my (commercial) customers. It is best to wear clean white socks (put them on clean; simply removing your shoes and walking across the floor can sometimes mess up the finish before it is fully cured if your socks are damp from sweat). Be careful not to drip any as you wax. You want to put on VERY thin layers and just enough each time to just cover the floor, kind of like when rub lotion on your body (small amounts, no globs). Remember, you're not mopping the floor, you're applying wax.
If you have an overhead fan or a box fan you can setup to blow across the surface, then your drying time should be no longer than about 20 - 30 minutes. You will notice that the more layers you put on, the easier the wax is applied and the less you will use. But you want to make sure to do the entire floor at one time, not in sections. If you try to wax it in sections, you will see areas where the wet wax overlapped the dry wax, and it will look very bad. Take your time, and a few hours later (most of the time is spent waiting, so grab some drinks from the coolerator and watch a good movie) you will have a beautiful kitchen. I would not recommend this in garages or areas where furniture will be routinely moved across the surface. If it ever scuffs, just clean it very well and apply another thin layer or two, and usually the scuffs will disappear.
Good luck! Ryan
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The "wet look" is from highspeed buffing and a high solids floor finish....On large commercial floors they first sweep and move small items or clutter(large dust mop) then use a 1000lb batterpowered automatic scrubber(approx.$5000 +) which lays water/mild detergent, scrubs and vacuums up the slop.....damp mop or rinse for corners, edges and puddles. Wax(polymer floor finish) traffic lanes & wear areas if needed and polish with a 2000 rpm or more elec or more likely propane buffer($2000-$3000)...... nice or heavy traffic floors are scrubbed and polished daily... around the house with due caution or effort one can have nicely shinny floors but without a high speed buffer you won't get the "wet look".....Incidentally highspeed buffers don't always work well or safely on residential flooring, don't ask me how I know this<G>.......25years in the Janitorial business...Soggy
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Well, thanks for all the replies. I guess I thought some new hi-tech super gloss floor tile had been invented. Sounds more like just plain old hard work.
Interesting thought on why we prefer glossy surfaces. No one would think of waxing up a ceramic tile kitchen floor!
See my other post-question on flooring.
Thanks.
wrotF:

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On Thu, 23 Oct 2003 13:22:21 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@spamstop.net wrote:

Actually, they do. At least the non-glazed (slate, quarry tile) varieties. I had quarry tiles installed on kitchen counters and backsplash, and Tile World (or whatever) had a whole flock of products designed to make it shiny (and clean off the shiny stuff). After a couple of years of laying it down and cleaning it off, I discovered the matte surface didn't absorb stains or make my life a misery in any way, so gave up 'shiny.'
One poster mentioned a labor-intensive process he experienced in the military. I hear that shiny "spit polished" boots are/were also a feature of military training. Is there any practical advantage of shiny boots over matte-finish ones, except to prove that a lot of time and effort has been spent on them? They *could* be waxed for water-resistance, but a high sheen doesn't seem like it'd make much difference. There's the "shoe shine", of course, which is a sign of careful dress. And it's easier to dust off a pair of shiny shoes than matte ones, but once you step in a puddle, you're back to square one.
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FWIW: Not how the malls do it, but if you're looking for high shine on vinyl tile, you might consider Armstrong Shine Keeper. When I'm do prep on an apt for a new tenant, I clean the tile real well (hands & knees scrub), rinse with clear water, dry, & then put on 2 thin coats of this stuff. Looks great.
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Usually, they hire illegal immigrants. zemedelec
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On Wed, 22 Oct 2003 00:21:42 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@spamstop.net wrote:

It isn't necessarily the wax, but the maintenance on the floors. Almost all of them have big buffing machines that they use nightly on the floors. They also have the floors completely stripped and redone 3-4x per year at great expense.
You can do it yourself, but figure it'll take you time each and every night buffing and waxing the floors and probably more money than it could possibly ever be worth.
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wrote:

I've done it at home with nice results that last about a year. However, putting 10 thin coats on a completely clean stripped floor and waiting for each to dry without getting it dirty is a pain. But if you like a nice deep shine its worth it. After 2 years there is still a shine, but it gets duller.
Why do all that for a shine? A shiny floor looks cleaner in a way a dull floor can't. It's an illusion, but effective.
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With wood it might be possible to use multiple polyurethane coats instead of wax. I've done it with furniture to get a deep gloss. I'm sure the same can be done with wood floors, but I don't know about the durability.
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