VCT floor striping and waxing

Id like some input on the production rate of square footages per hour for Stripping and waxing (4 coats) of finish on VCT floors.  I realize it could vary based on condition of floor and whether items are moved by us or by the client/


Also same question for carpet cleaning by means of shampoo and extract  and steam cleaning carpet.



Thank you

  • You are right, it could vary.  The biggest part will be the type of facility as well as the condition of the floors.

    But a productivity of 150 sqf per hour is not an unreasonable assumption.  If you are 100% sure what is on the floor, and you can move quickly, then 300 to 500 is possible.  (this includes all set up and take town time as well.)  

    For applying floor finish you should be getting 1,500 to 2,000 sqf per hour.

    This is just a broad answer, more detail would make it easier for me to give a more accurate suggestion.  Feel free to PM me if you have more questions.

  • I would say on average 1 person can strip and wax between 400-500 ft2 per hour. Much also will depend on the climate (dry time) and such.  Every job is different so there are many factors but I would say the above would be a good starting point for someone that knows what they are doing.

    -Reflective Images Floor Care

  • In reply to Reflective Images:

    In regards to carpet cleaning rates, it tends to correspond to a sliding scale when factoring the cleaning variables. For example, our bidding software uses eight cleaning variables that are rated 1-5, 1-10 or 1-20. The weightiest factors include soil load, cleaning neglect, furniture to move, color of carpet, size of rooms and square footage. The assumption is that you would not use a 12” wand and a 5 gallon extractor to clean a 20,000 sq. ft. ballroom.

    When you accurately score the cleaning variables, you are able to then project an approximate production rate. It is common in restaurants where all the furniture is moved to see production rates of 200-450 sq. ft. per man hour depending upon the variable rating. In the lodging and medical care facilities we usually see a range of 450-700 sq. ft. per man hour.  Of course, truck-mounted units with power heads will improve the productivity.  And, there are exceptions for dark carpet, light soil and high-production machines where you can climb above 2,000 sq. ft. per man hour.  

    The key is in understanding the variables. Light carpet and heavy soil may require a pre-scrub and 2-3 extraction passes which slows down the process. Then, you also have extra time for chewing gum and spot removal. Overall you will expect to see carpet cleaning production rates in the ranges shown above.

    Gary Clipperton

    PS: We have a free article, "Ten Mistakes Commercial Carpet Cleaner Make" from

  • The potential of stripping 1,000 sq. ft. per hour with 3 people is there, but 100 sq. ft. per hour is also there. You have to look at how many coats are underneath, what is underneath, what you have to go around, the experience of the crew  you are working with, and the effectiveness of the stripper/liquifier you are using. Then on waxing, you are at the mercy of the humidity in the air. This can be accelerated by fans, of course, but sometimes you can't have a fan for each area.  

  • The more you put into speeding the drying of the finish, the faster you will go. The more fans you use, the better, to a point. The finish still needs to level on its own, and if it dries too fast, it will ripple. First and last coats are the ones that will make or break your results. Also, if you can get ahold of a DU (dehumidifier), this really helps too. As for the carpet cleaning, the more work you put into the pre-spraying and spot cleaning, the faster the extraction will be. Remember to let the pre-spray work by giving it enough time to work without letting it dry on you.

  • 1000 square feet of VCT Stripped and Refinish with furniture moving 16 total labor hours.

    This includes leaving the warehouse to set up, moving furniture, floor prep, apply finish, etc.

    Organization and work floor mater the most improving production rates.  Not wasting time on task such as trying to locate the hand scrapers or where did I set the clean rinse mop.

    Leaving the shop to floor prep 2 total labor hours. Stripping the floor 8 totals labor hours. Apply the floor finish 4 coats at 45 minutes per coat. 15-20 to apply and the remaining for dry time.  (3 hours). Lunch 30 minutes to one hour. Returning objects to floor is 2 total labor hours.   Total 16 hours

    Since you are asking production rates, allow you and your crew ample time to do the work correctly.  It takes more time and money to fix mistakes from not allowing yourself time for a learning curve.

    Track your own production rate and each employees rate from the start.

    Carpet cleaning

    Steam cleaning 600-700 square feet per hour.  This is machine running time.  Does not include driving to the job or the time before and after you shut down the machine.  

  • At the Institute, we have a Green Floor Care course which might help on understanding some of the newer ways of doing this process.  Using the methodolgies I instruct, I routinely strip and have the first coat of finish down in an average 1000 sq. ft. classroom in under 2 hours.  Each coat of finish can be applied in 30 minutes making a total job  done in 5 hours or less.  Take a look at some of the videos I have on our YouTube site for help understanding some of what we do.