The best of both worldsPublished 3/1, 2023 at 14:30
“Before installing a floor during a renovation project, contractors must first remove the existing flooring and prepare what’s underneath.
Choosing the right floor stripper 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. Existing floor covering, power availability and site size and layout are some of the parameters to consider when selecting a floor stripper. In most instances, equipment distributors will recommend using a ride on stripper 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 meterage, they may assume that a ride on stripper 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 stripper. However, if they usually operate ride ons, they might experience some differences,” explains Connie Hardy, vice president of marketing, National Flooring Equipment.
Walk behind limitations
Connie continues: “Unlike all electric ride on strippers, 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 and assess whether there a lift and/or 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 stripper machinery means that contractors can now have the best of both worlds. The new National Flooring Equipment’s fully electric walk behind stripper, 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 as traditional walk behind strippers typically work to (approx.) 1m/min, whereas the Rogue is said to be able to do up to (approx.) 50m/min at the same time.
Contractors concerned about how to get 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 stripper and the compactness of a walk behind can give operators what they need to deliver quality floors in a range of applications,” concludes Connie.