How contractors can benefit from advances in floor stripping technology
We all love to get the most for our money. As a result, many businesses develop goods that combine multiple products into one — from washer-dryers to a baby grow that doubles as a mop. While some multipurpose consumer products seem more like a novelty than a useful tool, in industrial applications, combining the capabilities of two systems can bring great return on investment. Here Connie Hardy, vice president of marketing at surface preparation equipment manufacturer, National Flooring Equipment, explores how the next generation of walk-behind flooring removal equipment can benefit contractors.
Before installing a floor during a renovation project, contractors must first remove the existing flooring and prepare what’s underneath. Choosing the right floor scraper is integral to effectively preparing the substrate ready for new flooring, so contractors must take the time to choose what equipment, or combination of equipment, will work best for the job at hand.
Choosing a floor scraper
Existing floor covering, power availability and site size and layout are some of the parameters to consider when selecting a floor scraper. In most instances, equipment distributors will recommend using a ride-on scraper to remove hard goods, such as hardwood and ceramic tile and for sites with a large and open square footage. To remove soft goods, such as carpet, work in smaller spaces or to prepare floors where there are weight limitations, walk-behinds work best.
There are always exceptions to the rule. For example, if contractors discover from the client that the space has a large square footage, they may assume that a ride-on scraper would provide the best production rate. However, if the space is divided into small units, the doorway is small or the space is on a higher floor with no access to a lift, a ride on machine might become impractical.
In these instances, contractors can look at using a more compact walk-behind scraper. However, if they usually operate ride-ons, they might experience some differences.
Unlike all-electric ride-on scrapers, legacy self-propelled walk-behind machines are controlled using hydraulics, making the equipment heavy and sometimes difficult to steer. This makes it particularly difficult to effectively remove hard goods, where contractors need a powerful machine. To overcome this, an operator might push their whole weight into a walk-behind to remove the covering, which can be tiring, time consuming and can lead to operators digging into the substrate.
Contractors often choose walk-behinds for floor removal jobs on higher storeys. Before starting work, contractors can visit the site to see how they can access these higher storeys. Is there a lift? Does it have the capacity for the machine?
If the answer is no, contractors will then need to consider how to get the equipment to the work area. Though walk-behinds are more compact than ride-ons, contractors may still find it difficult to safely manoeuvre the machine upstairs. If it is not possible to safely transport equipment to the work site, contractors may be forced to complete the surface preparation job with manual tools.
Meet in the middle
Advances in floor scraper machinery means that contractors can now have the best of both worlds. The new fully electric walk-behind scraper, the Rogue, for example, has all the benefits of a larger ride-on in a compact machine.
The machine offers reduced machine weight, increased power capabilities and simplified controls. For example, there are toggles on the handle for steering, which reduces operator input, and enables the operator to quickly manoeuvre the machine with less strain. Reducing the weight also makes the equipment quicker — traditional walk-behind scrapers typically work to three feet per minute, where the Rogue can do up to 150 ft at the same time.
Contractors concerned about how to equipment on sites that are difficult to access can benefit from choosing a modular machine. Modular machines mean contractors can remove weights or split the machine into multiple parts, making it easier to safely carry the machine onto transport or to a higher floor.
Whether it’s to make someone’s life easier or to create a novelty product, two-in-one products are popular in the consumer market. Similarly, when developing surface preparation equipment, taking the power of a ride-on floor scraper and the compactness of a walk-behind can give operators what they need to deliver quality floors in a range of applications.