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How do I protect floors during abatement and remediation jobs?

by | Mar 16, 2018 | Abatement, Best Practices

Abatement and remediation are tough jobs, and without proper protection, they can be tough on floors. Between hauling out hazardous or dirty materials, bringing in new materials, and accommodating crews to build containment systems, floors are subjected to a lot during these projects.

Laying down floor protection is one of the first steps that needs to be done on a jobsite, provided the floor will be preserved at the end of the project rather than torn out as part of abatement. There are many types of temporary floor coverings that can be used, from durable foam mats that can be rolled out over the entire floor to lightweight cloth coverings. Since time is critical, many professionals choose less expensive options such as tarps, drop cloths, and plastic sheeting, which can be quickly spread out and secured with tape before the job and removed in a single step after the project is finished. Whichever material you prefer, make sure that it is durable enough to stand up to heavy foot traffic and any harsh conditions that may be present on your jobsite so that it does not break or tear before the job is complete.

To apply a temporary floor covering, start by spreading your preferred covering out across the floor in the room where you will be working. It is always a good practice to have a covering that is large enough to cover an entire room, but if your room is too large, spread out as many coverings as you need to protect the space, even if there is some overlap. If you know you will only be working in a small area of a large room, you may use your discretion to determine how much covering is needed around your work area. Be sure to factor in foot traffic and proximity to any hazardous materials that could potentially come in contact with the flooring.

When you are ready to tape down your floor covering, start in a corner and apply tape along the length of your floor covering, using your hands to wipe the tape down and ensure maximum adhesion to the covering and the floor. In a large space, it may help to tear off small strips and tape down the corners of your covering before taping the sides. If you are using more than one tarp or other form of covering to fill a space, tape the seams between the two overlapping sheets to create a seamless surface covering.

Once all sides and seams have been taped and wiped down, you are ready to start your project. Then, to remove once the job is finished, gently pull the tape up and your covering will come up with it in one step.

Sounds easy, right?

It is – but the challenge can be making sure you are using the right tape to do the job. In these situations, when preservation is a priority, you can’t afford to use just any tape you may have on hand that day. Having to constantly re-tape your floor coverings due to failing tape or needing to come back to the job site and clean up damaged flooring costs time and money – two more things you want to protect! When choosing a tape for securing floor protection, look for a tape that:

  • Offers clean removal for the duration of your project. This will ensure that when you remove the tape, it will not leave adhesive residue behind or damage the flooring you have worked so hard to protect. Paper tapes, such as those used for paint masking applications, often seem like good choices for holding down floor coverings, as they’re usually made with adhesives that remove cleanly. However, paint masking tapes are not intended for use on floors, and even though they remove cleanly from walls, window and door frames, cabinets, etc – they can cause damage to many types of floors.
  • Conforms well to textured flooring and can curve smoothly if you need to use it in corners or create a curved surface area.
  • Will not tear or splinter, even when subjected to heavy foot traffic. Paper tapes will shred when they’re subjected to scuffing by work boots or heavy equipment. A tape made from PE (polyethylene) or PVC is sturdy enough to stand up to heavy foot traffic and repeated contact with equipment.

To find a tape that is built for use on a variety of floor materials – and offers 30-day clean removal – visit Shurtape.com.

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