How can I get rid of my “skating rink” floors?

Hi Steve,

I own a busy restaurant in Atlanta. The kitchen floors are epoxy and my dining room floors are concrete, acid stained, sealed with a VOC sealer, and then waxed with a “water-based, urethane fortified acrylic system”.

Although we have rubber backed carpet mats in the kitchen to remove grease as the servers pass through the kitchen the slip factor in the dining room is at hazardous levels. We wash it with a degreaser each day using a separate mop and bucket from that used in the kitchen.

What would Jon-Don recommend not only to get the dining room floors cleaned thoroughly but also to maintain daily in as slip-free a fashion as possible. I’m scared to death someone is going to get seriously hurt. (And even worse I might get sued!)

Nervous in Atlanta

Wow, Nervous, I don’t blame you for being “nervous”.  I would be scared to death!  You are sitting (or more accurately “walking”) on a time bomb!  Let’s see if we can get things “defused” for you.

Since I am far from a technical expert on concrete issues (actually Big Billy says I’m a doofus on ANYTHING technical related and he might just be right!) I went to Ryan Donaldson, our Concrete Restoration Products Manager at Jon-Don.  Here is what Ryan had to say:


Thanks for the information.  There are three challenges that immediately stand out to me as being red flags.

Red flag #1- The epoxy flooring system that is in the kitchen and the need for rubber backed carpet.  Typically this environment would have a consistent textured surface and should not need carpet mats for the servers & cooks.  If there is a textured surface, and the floor is still slippery then we should address the cleaning procedures.

Red flag #2-  The Wax system that is placed on the Dye & Seal decorative concrete.  Is this wax system something the manufacturer recommended?  Typically the final sealer on deco concrete is all that is needed.  I would make an attempt to strip the wax however I am not sure if it will etch the sealer.  Try this in a small test area that is “out of customer sight” first before stripping the rest of the floor.

Red flag #3- The cleaning procedure.  Every time I have seen a slippery floor in a kitchen it is because of excessively oily conditions.  Usually the oil starts at the base of the fryers and then is tracked all over the kitchen and even dining room floor.  The wait staff will pick up some of the oils on their shoes and track it on to the dining area (with wax) and it will seem like a skating rink to them.  Simply using a mop and bucket tends to just spread out the oil across the floor.  (It is even worse if they use the same mop in the dining area which will distribute the same oils on that floor too.)

So let’s try a new cleaning procedure for both areas. Here is what I would recommend before making huge investments in new flooring systems:

1.  Get a rotary floor machine and a wet/dry vacuum. (Toss your mop in the trash!) Use daily cleaning procedures that not only scrub the floor but also recover the water/oil/and cleaners.  You will see massive improvements!

2.  Use a large rental carpet mat or similar product in front of the grease fryers.  Have the rental company change this mat out at least weekly with a clean one.  This way you are catching the problem at the source

3.  Try to strip the wax off the decorative concrete. If this does not work, or etches the surface of the sealer, contact me for specific repair procedures.

Steve, I agree- “Nervous in Atlanta” is correct to be well… nervous!  Slip and falls in the work place are a very serious issue.  Slip/Fall accidents cost more than $19 Billion annually in the US. They are the leading cause for work comp claims and the #2 cause of accidental death.

I hope the information I share above will help Nervous make improvements before someone hurts themselves and/or he is involved in an ugly lawsuit! I am always delighted to help anyone with their concrete issues.

Ryan Donaldson
Direct line:  630-627-7075
Toll Free: 866-870-7966

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