Technical Procedures Disclaimer
Prior to inclusion in GSA’s library of procedures, documents are reviewed by one or more qualified preservation specialists for general consistency with the Secretary of Interior Standards for rehabilitating historic buildings as understood at the time the procedure is added to the library. All specifications require project-specific editing and professional judgement regarding the applicability of a procedure to a particular building, project or location. References to products and suppliers are to serve as a general guideline and do not constitute a federal endorsement or determination that a product or method is the best or most current alternative, remains available, or is compliant with current environmental regulations and safety standards. The library of procedures is intended to serve as a resource, not a substitute, for specification development by a qualified preservation professional.
We’ve reviewed these procedures for general consistency with federal standards for rehabilitating historic buildings and provide them only as a reference. Specifications should only be applied under the guidance of a qualified preservation professional who can assess the applicability of a procedure to a particular building, project or location. References to products and suppliers serve as general guidelines and do not constitute a federal endorsement nor a determination that a product or method is the best alternative or compliant with current environmental regulations and safety standards.
A. This procedure includes guidance for periodically cleaning painted or waxed wood surfaces.
B. See 01100-07-S for general project guidelines to be reviewed along with this procedure. These guidelines cover the following sections:
- Safety Precautions
- Historic Structures Precautions
- Quality Assurance
- Delivery, Storage and Handling
- Project/Site Conditions
- Sequencing and Scheduling
- General Protection (Surface and Surrounding) These guidelines should be reviewed prior to performing this procedure and should be followed, when applicable, along with recommendations from the Regional Historic Preservation Officer (RHPO).
C. For guidance on refinishing wood surfaces, see 06400-10-R.
NOTE: Chemical products are sometimes sold under a common name. This usually means that the substance is not as pure as the same chemical sold under its chemical name. The grade of purity of common name substances, however, is usually adequate for stain removal work, and these products should be purchased when available, as they tend to be less expensive. Common names are indicated below by an asterisk (*).
A. Non-Ionic detergent such as "Joy" or "Ivory Liquid", or trisodium phosphate (TSP)
- Trisodium Phosphate:
NOTE: THIS CHEMICAL IS BANNED IN SOME STATES SUCH AS CALIFORNIA. REGULATORY INFORMATION AS WELL AS ALTERNATIVE OR EQUIVALENT CHEMICALS MAY BE REQUESTED FROM THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) REGIONAL OFFICE AND/OR THE STATE OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY.
- Strong base-type powdered cleaning material sold under brand names.
- Other chemical or common names include Sodium Orthophosphate; Tribasic sodium phosphate; Trisodium orthophosphate; TSP*; Phosphate of soda*; (also sold under brand names such as).
- Potential Hazards: CORROSIVE TO FLESH.
- Available from chemical supply house, grocery store or supermarket or hardware store.
B. Mineral Spirits:
- A petroleum distillate that is used especially as a paint or varnish thinner.
- Other chemical or common names include Benzine* (not Benzene); Naphtha*; Petroleum spirits*; Solvent naphtha*.
- Potential Hazards: TOXIC AND FLAMMABLE.
- Safety Precautions:
- AVOID REPEATED OR PROLONGED SKIN CONTACT.
- ALWAYS wear rubber gloves when handling mineral spirits.
- If any chemical is splashed onto the skin, wash immediately with soap and water.
- Available from construction specialties distributor, hardware store, paint store, or printer's supply distributor.
Turpentine: Available from hardware store or paint store.
- Other chemical or common names include Methylated spirit*.
- Potential hazards: TOXIC AND FLAMMABLE.
- Available from hardware store, paint store or printer's supply distributor.
- Denatured alcohol should be a satisfactory substitute for ethyl alcohol for stain removing purposes.
C. Paste wax
D. Liquid bleach
E. Clean, potable water
A. 000 steel wool
B. Two buckets (solution and rinse)
C. Two sponges (solution and rinse)
D. Supply of soft dry wiping cloths
F. Drop cloth
G. 16" electric floor machine
H. Lamb's wool buffing pads
- Cover all surfaces and equipment not to be cleaned. Coverings must be adhered without adhesive tape or nails. Impervious sheeting that produces condensation shall not be used.
- Make sure work area is well ventilated and wear protective clothing and rubber gloves.
- When cleaning, always rub along the grain of the wood.
- Change cloths as often as necessary to be effective in cleaning.
B. Surface Preparation: Thoroughly dust and/or vacuum surfaces before washing.
3.02 ERECTION, INSTALLATION, APPLICATION
A. Cleaning Painted Wood Surfaces:
- To clean spots, rub area gently with a clean, damp sponge and dry with a clean wiping cloth.
- If water alone will not remove spot, use a non- ionic detergent or TSP solution as described below, rinse thoroughly, and wipe dry. If this cleaning procedure leaves a noticeable difference between treated and untreated areas, cleaning is not being performed properly or frequently enough.
- Wash dirt and grease using a solution of 3 quarts warm water mixed with 2/3 cup trisodium phosphate (TSP) and non-ammoniated detergent. If mildew is a problem add 1 quart of liquid bleach.
- Start at a lower corner of room, moisten 5 to 10 square feet of surface, then scrub with a medium bristle brush to remove dirt. Thoroughly rinse surface, two rinses may be required, and wipe dry with clean wiping cloth.
- Continue process on lower portion of walls around entire room, slightly overlapping preceding section.
ALWAYS WASH THE LOWER PORTION FIRST BECAUSE SOLUTION STREAKS RUNNING DOWN A DIRTY WALL CANNOT BE REMOVED. Proceed to wash upper wall surfaces and ceiling, including any painted wood ornament, from ladder.
B. Cleaning Waxed Wood Surfaces:
NOTE: WAX IS AN IMPORTANT MAINTENANCE AGENT WHICH PROTECTS AGAINST MATERIAL ABRASION AND WETTING. ITS ADVANTAGE IS THAT IT IS EASY TO APPLY AND EASY TO REMOVE. IT CAN BE RECONDITIONED WITHOUT STRIPPING BY APPLYING MORE WAX AND REBUFFING. THE SOLVENT IN THE WAX RECONDITIONS THE PREVIOUS COAT AND MINIMIZES BUILD-UP.
- For walls:
- Follow the above wall washing techniques, but keep the surface as dry as possible. Cleaning solution should contain only non-ionic detergent and water.
- Working in a well-ventilated area, remove paste wax by rubbing hard with a coarse cloth soaked in turpentine.
- Remove stubborn dirt spots by scrubbing lightly with 000 steel wool. Change cloth or steel wool when they become clogged with old wax.
- Apply wax with a clean, soft cloth. Waxing unpainted wood surfaces is imperative for protection from moisture and abrasion. Use a paste or microcrystalline wax that is removable by water or turpentine.
- Place a small amount on the cloth and wipe it over surface leaving a thin, even coating. Wipe off any stray wax grains.
- Buff wax before it hardens. NOTE: Paste wax can be reconditioned by applying more wax and rebuffing. The solvent in the paste wax reconditions previous coats and minimizes build-up.
- For floors:
NOTE: BE SURE THE WAX IS DESIGNATED FOR USE ON HARDWOOD FLOORS. DO NOT USE A LIQUID WAX WITH A WATER-BASE (I.E. FUTURE). NATIONAL OAK FLOORING MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION (NOFMA) RECOMMENDS USING ONLY A SOLVENT-BASE PRODUCT.
- Place a small amount of wax on dampened, clean, soft cloth and wipe it over the floor leaving a thin and even coating. It is not necessary to go right to the baseboards because the buffing operation will spread the wax to the edges of the room in every place except the inside corners.
- Buff floor using a 16" electric floor machine and lamb's wool pads. Reverse or replace pads as they become dirty. Buff to high gloss.
NOTE: TAKE CARE NOT TO DAMAGE ADJACENT SURFACES.
- After polishing, sweep the floor to pick up stray wax grains that are loose on the floor. Wash all equipment before the wax hardens.
A. BOTH PASTE WAX AND TURPENTINE ARE FLAMMABLE, DISPOSE OF USED CLOTHS PROPERLY IN A METAL SAFETY CONTAINER TO GUARD AGAINST SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION.